With Rashard Mendenhall still on no official time table of recovery from his ACL surgery, Isaac Redman and the rest of the Steelers backfield are in line to pick up the slack. Better stated, in line to show what they have and excel, helping to return the Steelers run game to it’s past glory. For whatever reason though, there are many in the Steeler Nation would have serious doubts about Redman’s ability to be a long term, consistent RB for the Steelers.
Here on the Steeler Addicts forums, there is always a debate surrounding what Redman is capable of. Will he be able to handle the load full time, can he be as effective for 20-25 carries a game as he is with 7-10? We won’t know just how the ground attack will fare until the real hitting begins in September but at least we have the full offseason for all the young talent to prepare and stake their claim for a roster spot.
Whether or not the fans think Redman can handle the job, IRED certainly is not lacking in confidence. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review ran a story recently, by Ralph Paulk, and Redman talks about his struggle to silence the doubters:
“Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been doubted by everybody except the players and coaches,” Redman said. “They understand the type of player I am, and it’s why they’ve kept me around. They see something in me, so I never doubt myself.
“I’m ready to get out there. Hopefully, I’ll surprise everybody.”
The playoff loss to Denver, where Redman carried 17 times for 121 yds, showed Mike Tomlin that he’s deserving of a shot at the full time job.
“I was ready when the playoff game came,” said Redman, who stepped into the lineup after Mendenhall’s injury in the regular-season finale in Cleveland. “I prepared all year as if I was the starting running back.
Would he have gotten that shot had Mendenhall not blown out his a couple weeks before? If you ask many fans they’d say, “no way”! While Rashard is a very versatile back and certainly shown he can be effective in different offensive situations, you’d think Redman was nothing more than chopped liver when compared to #34. Atleast that’s what you’d likely here from the general NFL popular or a poll among Steeler fans.
I personally have no problem with Mendenhall, but he’s the type of back that needs a solid offensive line to be consistently effective. You say, well he did rush for over 3,300 yds in his career so far. Yes that’s true and again it’s not that he’s a bad RB at all, but Redman has done more with less so far. Less runs for negative yardage and a more straight ahead style that nearly always gains positive yardage. Perhaps things will change this year with all the new young talent, but Mendenhall will likely have to wait and start the season on the PUP list. I’d say I’d be more than somewhat shocked if he was ready to go week 1 and be effective. ACL’s shouldn’t be rushed but so many players hurry back and then suffer a slower recovery in the process.
Enter in one Isaac Redman this year, healthy and chomping at the bit to show what he’s got.
At 6-feet, 230 pounds, the Bowie State product is strong enough physically. However, he concedes it’s far more challenging to adapt mentally.
“It’s a different thing when you have to be that guy week in and week out,” said Redman, who re-signed with the Steelers in April. “Your mindset has to be totally different to take more hits.”
That mindset is what will drive Redman to be successful this year and if he can stay healthy I have nothing but confidence that he’ll be able to do his part to balance out the Steelers offense. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll make it pretty darn tough for Mendenhall to get his job back…but we’ll see.