With absence of Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers RB Isaac Redman ready to take over

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Redman is ready to take over for Mendenhall if need be. (US Presswire)

While we've lavished plenty of attention on new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- and what Roethlisberger thinks about adjusting to the new scheme -- we haven't spent much time discussing one of the most important positions Haley will utilize.

That, of course, is the running back position, and with Rashard Mendenhall, the team's leading rusher for the past three seasons, coming off an ACL tear in Week 17 last year, there's a big question whether he'll be ready when the 2012 season begins.

And if not, Isaac Redman, who's gained 726 yards and scored three touchdowns during his three-year career as a backup to Mendenhall, says he'll be ready.

“Ever since I've been here, I've been doubted by everybody -- except the players and coaches,” Redman said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “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.”

Redman certainly showed he could be counted upon in the Steelers playoff loss to the Broncos. Though Mendenhall had injured himself the week before, Redman, making a spot start, gained 122 yards on 17 carries.

And despite the fact Mendenhall was the recipient of most of the carries the past three years, Redman isn't at as much of a disadvantage now that old offensive coordinator Bruce Arian's scheme has been scrapped in favor of an attack that will place more emphasis on running the ball.

“Rashard and I really haven't spoken that much,” Redman said. “We both understand that he's working as hard as he can to get back. I'm working hard to lead this team until he gets back to 100 percent, and I don't doubt that I can.”

And with Mendenhall perhaps poised to begin the season on the PUP list, Redman will get his chance to prove that he's more than capable of taking over the starting role.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.
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