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Mendenhall remains an "enigma" in Pittsburgh

In June, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that Rashard Mendenhall must earn a role in the offense, implying that nothing will be handed to him.

After two weeks of training camp, it’s unclear what Mendenhall has earned.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Mendenhall remains an “enigma” to the organization, and that he’s looked “ordinary” in camp, just like last season.

In fairness, it’s hard to evaluate running backs in practice without live hitting.  That’s why this preseason is so important to Mendenhall’s development.

Running backs coach Kirby Wilson is withholding judgment until he sees Mendenhall play with live bullets flying.

“The more he plays, the more he’ll identify who he is, and all of us –
myself included — we can say, OK, this is who he is, this is his
style, this is what we can expect from him every week,” Wilson said.

“Until we see it
week-in and week-out, he’s still a mystery man.”

Mendenhall has to show the Steelers that he deserves to be on the field or risk getting lost in the shuffle. 

Willie Parker remains the team’s clear starter, and Mewelde Moore has earned a role on passing downs.  Parker may sit out Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals because of back spasms, giving Mendenhall a chance to start. 

A big preseason by Mendenhall would help to erase the lack of impression he’s made thus far in his career.

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38 Responses to “Mendenhall remains an "enigma" in Pittsburgh”
  1. Stillerz says: Aug 13, 2009 2:14 PM

    Step up or step out Mendenhall. We need you this year, but you’ve got to want it.

  2. DonTerrelli says: Aug 13, 2009 2:18 PM

    He only rushed for what, 35 yards last season before getting hit by Ray Lewis and breaking his collarbone. Give him a chance and in the meantime, look at his college highlight videos on youtube, you’ll be impressed

  3. jbruder02 says: Aug 13, 2009 2:21 PM

    If you ask me Mendenhall looked fine before getting his shoulder destroyed by Ray Ray. He wasn’t given much of a chance in the regular season before that game and the O line was miserable at run blocking last year.

  4. The Rural Juror says: Aug 13, 2009 2:21 PM

    “A big preseason by Mendenhall would help to erase the lack of impression he’s made thus far in his career.”
    The only “impression” Mendenhall has made so far has been on Ray Lewis’ shoulderpad.

  5. HereWeGoSteelers says: Aug 13, 2009 2:23 PM

    Yeah seriously… cut the guy some slack he was hurt all year last year sheesh. Injuries happen!

  6. TheVillain112 says: Aug 13, 2009 2:23 PM

    @DonTerrelli
    I can look at Mike Williams highlight videos on youtube and be impressed.
    I hear Mendy got shut down on the goal line drills again this training camp. Granted he’s going against the #1 D in the NFL, but he doesn’t seem to be raising his level of play at all.

  7. JP says: Aug 13, 2009 2:27 PM

    Technically, the hit by Lewis broke his shoulder blade. Which sounds even more painful than a broken collarbone to me.

  8. Citizen Strange says: Aug 13, 2009 2:28 PM

    He’s still better than Reggie Bush.

  9. EdReed4prez says: Aug 13, 2009 2:30 PM

    He’s no mystery in Baltimore. We got him figured out pretty well.

  10. krookedsteve says: Aug 13, 2009 2:32 PM

    Andy reid is an enigma in Philly, how he is still allowed to coach in this league is beyond me. This dude andy reid should be out of professional sports period.

  11. FireJerryJones says: Aug 13, 2009 2:34 PM

    Sounds like another Lawrence Maroney

  12. Darth Ringo says: Aug 13, 2009 2:40 PM

    Mewelde Moore did more than “earn(ed) a role on passing downs.”
    The Steelers probably wouldn’t have made the Super Bowl without him.

  13. adamc0nley says: Aug 13, 2009 2:40 PM

    Dude broke his freakin’ shoulder.
    As a Browns fan and a Big Ten guy, I don’t want to see this guy 2 times a year in a Stillers uni.

  14. joe6606 says: Aug 13, 2009 2:41 PM

    I hated this pick from the moment is was made.
    Quality RBs can come from anywhere in the draft (or as we know full well, even undrafted aka Parker). Using a 1st round pick on a back is simply a waste.
    RBs historically, unlike most other positions, can come in as rookies as be stars. Rarely do RBs get better over time.
    Unfortunately Mendenhall has bust written all over him from his subpar/ordinary training camps and inability to take even 1 hit from Murderer Lewis.

  15. Bob Loblaw says: Aug 13, 2009 2:41 PM

    @DonTerrelli
    Not a Steelers fan, but took your advice and here’s what I see:
    – good spin move, probably uses it too much though
    – decent speed in college -> average speed for an nfl RB
    – good hands (but it’s highlights, so there’s no telling)
    – good at following blocks in space, and once he’s on the edge, but poor vision as a setback
    – doesn’t burst through the hole
    – doesn’t put his foot in the ground & cut – takes stutter steps
    – not elusive (not much lateral agility)
    – runs too high for a back his size
    – doesn’t punish defenders who tackle him
    I never really watched the guy before, but I wouldn’t be too excited about him if I were a Steelers fan.

  16. gooboy6 says: Aug 13, 2009 2:42 PM

    you mean the “mighty ” steelers missed one in the draft ?

  17. jan van flac says: Aug 13, 2009 2:51 PM

    “Andy reid is an enigma in Philly, how he is still allowed to coach in this league is beyond me. This dude andy reid should be out of professional sports period.”
    what a moronic statement. one of the most sucessful coaches in the NFL, and well liked by his players to boot.

  18. syge says: Aug 13, 2009 2:51 PM

    @EdReed4Prez
    That’s nice, now maybe if Ray Ray could injure a few more of our players you could get a win this year against us.
    I can’t wait for Big Ben to rape the Ravens twice this year.

  19. NoHomeTeam says: Aug 13, 2009 2:54 PM

    “Running backs coach Kirby Wilson is withholding judgment until he sees Mendenhall play with live bullets flying.”
    Excellent choice of words, there.
    http://www.tmz.com/2009/08/12/pittsburgh-steelers-targeted-over-gun-party/

  20. dawk20db says: Aug 13, 2009 2:57 PM

    don’t respond to him jan van flac

  21. csloan99 says: Aug 13, 2009 3:11 PM

    Personally, as a Broncos fan, I thought the “I can’t wait for Big Ben to rape the Ravens” words were better than the live bullets flying pun…

  22. Cleveland Sucks aka Philly Sewer Rat1 says: Aug 13, 2009 3:38 PM

    Here’s what I see. The guy hits the hole as if he’s dancing to music. It’s a thing of beauty!!!

  23. dawk20db says: Aug 13, 2009 3:48 PM

    thats funny as hell…and from what I would assume is a steelers fan! I didn’t think you guys had a sense humor on the other side of the state.

  24. Darth Ringo says: Aug 13, 2009 4:11 PM

    Seeing how Kevin Colbert and the Steelers front office haven’t whiffed on a 1st round pick in over a decade I’ll give ‘em the benefit of the doubt until the games start.

  25. EdReed4prez says: Aug 13, 2009 4:19 PM

    Syge- keep hanging your hat on winning 3 nailbiters against a rookie qb. Joe cool is only gonna improve big guy.

  26. mrmagoo says: Aug 13, 2009 4:41 PM

    EdReed4prez says:
    August 13, 2009 2:30 PM
    He’s no mystery in Baltimore. We got him figured out pretty well.
    ___________________________
    I just want to say how thankful we are that Ray didn’t stab him, too.

  27. steeltownpride says: Aug 13, 2009 5:03 PM

    EdReed4prez says:
    August 13, 2009 2:30 PM
    He’s no mystery in Baltimore. We got him figured out pretty well.
    ======================================================================
    Is this like how Ryan Clark has figured out Willis Magahee ?
    Is that like how Limas Sweed has figured out Frank Walker ?
    Is this like Ben figuring out the Bmore D ? lol
    What a dumbass you are . Asshat when you win you can talk shit . When you loose ? The Steelers laugh to another Superbowl win .

  28. troll_aikman8 says: Aug 13, 2009 5:10 PM

    Looks like the Cowboys knew what they were doing by passing on this guy and getting Felix Jones instead.
    Mendenhall = Shuan Alexander without the accolades.

  29. troll_aikman8 says: Aug 13, 2009 5:13 PM

    Not saying he’s soft, but Reggie Bush thinks he needs to put his head down and hit the holes a bit harder.

  30. Bubby Brister says: Aug 13, 2009 5:30 PM

    Granted, what I’m about to say is all hearsay (I heard it from his brother’s friend’s cousin’s uncle’s best friend’s barber’s nephew’s Great Uncle Humberto), but the word through the grapevine is that Mendenhall was pretty upset he didn’t get drafted by his hometown Bears (after they promised him they would), and doesn’t like living in Pittsburgh, at all. After he got injured last year, he kind of completely disappeared from the team for the rest of the season. Not only is he supposedly homesick, but his heart may not be all that into the team, or maybe in the game, period.
    Lots of speculation of course, but I found that interesting. This season should say a lot about him.

  31. VoxVeritas says: Aug 13, 2009 5:41 PM

    “I just want to say how thankful we are that Ray didn’t stab him, too.”
    Not as thankful as he is that Big Ben didn’t rape him.

  32. SixBurghDude says: Aug 13, 2009 5:51 PM

    troll_aikman8 = CryBoy fan without a playoff win, in nearly TWO decades!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  33. mj23thegoat says: Aug 13, 2009 6:21 PM

    HES ONLY 22 YEARS OLD
    HES ONLY 22 YEARS OLD
    HES ONLY 22 YEARS OLD
    HES ONLY 22 YEARS OLD

  34. JPeezy says: Aug 13, 2009 6:42 PM

    I bet Florio isn’t man enough to call a black man “enigma” to his face, so don’t be racist online!!!

  35. The Jimmy says: Aug 13, 2009 6:51 PM

    He runs very upright. He is going to take a lot of punishment if he doesn’t make some adjustments. He also supposedly wasn’t seen much after getting hurt which upset some of the vets. This year is going to mean a lot for him.

  36. mrmagoo says: Aug 13, 2009 11:48 PM

    VoxVeritas says:
    August 13, 2009 5:41 PM
    “I just want to say how thankful we are that Ray didn’t stab him, too.”
    Not as thankful as he is that Big Ben didn’t rape him.
    _____________________
    But just as thankful that you didn’t blow him, lightweight. You have the most adorable case of franchise envy I’ve ever seen.

  37. i'm president charlie! says: Aug 14, 2009 2:01 AM

    Felix Jones is the perfect example of durability.

  38. Jungle Juice says: Aug 14, 2009 8:52 AM

    He didn’t look so good last night. Not very elusive.

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