Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin announced recently that backup bruiser Issac Redman would open the season as the team’s short-yardage specialist.
Pittsburgh was one of the worst short-yardage teams last year, failing to convert in critical situations and all too often marching down the field, only to sputter in the red zone and settle for a field goal.
My take on the Steelers’ short-yardage impotence has long been that lead back Rashard Mendenhall was not the problem. Although he occasionally dances too much at the hole and relies too heavily on his spin move, Mendenhall proved decisive enough in situations that called for it last season.
Instead, the issue was lack of adequate lanes in obvious running situations — and occasionally dubious play-calling.
Even still, if “Redzone” Redman proves even just as effective as Mendenhall in short-yardage situations, this could be a good move, simply in the spirit of keeping Mendenhall, who could be more of the offense’s bread and butter, fresh and rested.