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Mendenhall's carries, big plays have declined

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Posted Dec. 23, 2011 @ 2:37 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall is getting fewer carries than a season ago, which is understandable, considering the club is passing more with QB Ben Roethlisberger playing more games than he did in 2010. Mendenhall's big plays also have decreased this season. Mendenhall has only two rushes of 20 yards or more in 13 games; he had 11 in 2010, when he played all 16 games. Does this mean Mendenhall is not capable of breaking a long run? Not at all, the way we hear it. Mendenhall runs hard, has good speed and power, and can be a threat to make a home-run play — but he needs the necessary room to roll, as an evaluator told PFW. "Those holes are just not there," said the evaluator, who has watched Pittsburgh this season and who spoke on condition of anonymity. Mendenhall is a "good runner," the evaluator said, but he's "not a guy who can create on his own." That said, it should be noted that Mendenhall has shown an ability to bounce outside with success, especially last season, as a daily team observer noted. Also, Mendenhall has a good spin move.


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