LeGarrette Blount will visit Pittsburgh today, a trip delay so he could meet with Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II. Meanwhile, Behind the Steel Curtain reports that Maurice Jones-Drew will visit Oakland.
- The Pittsburgh is in need of a running back to back up Le’Veon Bell.
- The Steelers are also in need of salary cap space.
The smart money would say that those franchises awash in cash, such as the Raiders, will have a better shot at the likes of Blount and Jones-Drew, just as they did with Al Woods and Jerricho Cotchery.
Absent a long-term deal with transition player Jason Worilds or an extension of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers face a dilemma. Put all of their faith in filling needs in the 2014 NFL Draft – a dubious proposition or restructure contracts to gain cap space.
- But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Steelers have a viable option at running back.
The Steelers can sign a running back who has shown he can make tough yards. One who has 100 yard regular season and post-season games on his resume. This player has no serious injury history. He already knows their offensive system. Perhaps best yet, the Steelers can sign this running back for the veteran minimum, with little or no signing bonus.
- Who is this overlooked four leave clover?
None other than Isaac Redman.
- Yes, Redman, the same player who went from Steelers Nation cult hero to “what have you done for me lately.”
When last seen, Redman was of course fumbling away the Steelers chance to take the lead vs. the Tennessee Titans. He struggled mightily the rest of the way amassing all of 12 yards in 10 carries. He admitted to lying his way through a concussion test.
Jim Wexell reported “Even at practice last week Redman stumbled in the open field and fell down proving that he’s clearly not the runner he was two years ago.”
Well, no, Jim, that doesn’t prove that Redman wasn’t the runner he was two years ago. The “two year” reference is the fact that Redman could not seize the starting job down the stretch in 2012. No he did not. But that misses the point. Not to beat a dead horse, but….
- The 2012 Steelers running game went the way of Willie Colon.
When Colon got settled into at guard, the Steelers ran well. When he got hurt, they began to falter. When they lost him the running game flat out faltered.
- If Redman can be let off the hook for 2012, he was clearly in a funk in 2013.
Fair enough. It is also beyond fair to say that Redman isn’t and won’t be an NFL feature back. But before you write this off as some sort of “Return Redzone Redman Return!” romanticism, take a look below:
Number don’t lie.
And these numbers reveal a quality NFL back up running back, not too dissimilar for those of James Starks, a player the Steelers considered signing (or at least player whose agent convinced the Pittsburgh press crops that the Steelers were interested in.)
- A superficial analysis of the graphic above might conclude that Redman’s only extended time as a starter revealed his limits as rusher.
That’s partially true, but it’s also true he was hurt at the beginning of that run, and lacked a line after it. It also shows that Redman proved himself as an able pass catcher, something often over looked.
But even if Redman’s stats from 2012 paint more accurate rendering of his rushing ability, consider how they stack up against these numbers: 381 and 127. Those would be the rushing and receiving totals of Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones from 2013.
- That’s the combined total of both players.
Isaac Redman is never going to grow into the type of unheralded, overlooked Steelers running back turned star a la Rocky Bleier–Merril Hoge–Willie Parker that Steelers Nation dreamed of in his Redzone Redman days.
But his past performance more than suggests that he’s worthy of a veteran minimum deal. The Steelers owe it to themselves to give Isaac Redman a second chance.