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?
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.