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Wilson doesn’t want running-back-by-committee and Counting Ike




— Chaz Palla

Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review


Forget about the running-back-by-committee approach the Steelers took a year ago that led to one of its worst rushing outputs in franchise history.


Steelers running back coach Kirby Wilson wants one guy to shoulder the load this year. Well, that would be his wish


“You would love to have a back who can play first down through third down,” Wilson said. “That’s always the best. Now, you have players who can spell a starter, then you have situational players that have strengths in other areas, put for the most part you always want a guy who is there first through third.”


The Steelers didn’t have that last year.


Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Rashard Mendenhall were shuffled in and out of the lineup. Many of the games, Dwyer would split carries with either Redman, Mendenhall or even Baron Batch.


While it seems like a perfect scenario to hand the reigns of the running game over to rookie Le’Veon Bell and let him go, but that’s unlikely at this point for the 20-year-old even though the stage of the NFL has yet to be too big for him.


With Redman’s power game and LaRod Stephens-Howling unique skill set, you would imagine offensive coordinator Todd Haley will get as many ball carriers as possible touches.


But again, having that ‘featured’ back sure is enticing.


* I wrote about Ike Taylor in today’s Trib about how a couple of bad nationally televised games have really altered his reputation to a point where one of his biggest goals – making the Pro Bowl – won’t likely ever happen.


While talking to Taylor for the story, he mentioned to me about all the cornerbacks the Steelers brought in over the past decade, maybe not to replace him, but to surely add competition, in some instances.


He tossed the numbers at me right off the top of his head so I fired back with a “seems like you are counting.”


“No question I am counting,” Taylor said.


So, it got to me thinking. Was Taylor trying to get one by me by saying the Steelers have drafted or brought in as free agents 19 cornerbacks over the past 10 years that’s spent time on the roster? Did he really count?


Well, …


Drafted: 1) Ricardo Colclough; 2) Bryant McFadden; 3) William Gay; 4) Joe Burnett; 5) Keenan Lewis; 6) Crezdon Butler; 7) Cortez Allen; 8) Curtis Brown; 9) Terrence Frederick; 10) Terry Hawthorne.


Free agents: 11) Willie Williams; 12) Jovon Johnson; 13) Anthony Madison; 14) Roy Lewis; 15) Fernando Bryant; 16) Corey Ivy; 17) Keiwan Ratliff; 18) Demarcus Van Dyke; 19) Josh Victorian.


There ya have it. Unless I missed one (which I might have), Taylor is pretty spot-on.



Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. […] are waiting to see if Pittsburgh Steelers running back coach Kirby Jones gets his way. Jones tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he doesn’t want the Steelers to have to implement a plan of running back by […]

  2. […] running backs coach Kirby Wilson wants nothing to do with the committee approach that plagued last year’s backfield. “You would love to have a back who can play first […]

  3. […] are obviously fast-tracking Bell right now and running backs coach Kirby Wilson said recently that he wants nothing to do with a committee approach like the team used unsuccessfully last […]

  4. […] would love to have a back who can play first down through third down,” Wilson told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsbrugh Tribune-Review. “That’s always the best. Now, you have players who can spell a starter, then you have […]

  5. […] backs coach who is not trying to repeat himself. Kirby Wilson, on Tomlin’s staff since 2007, spoke to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Mark Kaboly about the “committee” approach from last season, and what they plan to do this […]

  6. Kevin says:

    Not so! Ike is a fixture you build around in the secondary. Ike is pulling a Hines Ward- “no one respects me.” I believe they brought those 19 guys in to win the job on the other side. The other corner job has been one area of weakness on the Steeler defense during that decade.

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