PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The Steelers will look to jump-start their struggling running game any way they can, especially with the tough front nine of the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town Sunday, and especially with featured back Rashard Mendenhall returning to the lineup.
Training camp phenom Chris Rainey remains an option. Although he’s been quiet in the early stages of his rookie campaign, it sounds like offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans on turning to Rainey more often as the season unfolds.
“I would think, when he shows up, there’s a little alert that goes up. The key is just getting him into the flow of the offense when everybody’s comfortable. When he’s getting regular carries, maybe he won’t be noticed as much.” Haley told Post-Gazette reporter and 93.7 The Fan Steelers insider Ed Bouchette Thursday. “[It’s about] just getting carries, which he’s quite capable of, as all [our running backs] are.”
Meanwhile, a lot was made of the relationship–or, the alleged relationship, if you will–between Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger prior to this season. So far, Big Ben, who has made the Steelers one of the most productive passing teams in the NFL in this young season, doesn’t seem to have any complaints about Haley’s offense.
The new coach, for his part, says he hasn’t had to push any particular buttons with his quarterback.
“I’ve made it clear that I’m not a ‘system’ guy…and I chuckle when people say that,” Haley remarked. “We spent a lot of time in the off-season going through the people we had…and we’ve worked hard at trying to figure out how to best play to the strengths of our players.”
In addition, Haley chimed in on what he expects strategically from the Eagles’ defense, which ranks No. 6 in the league in average yards allowed per game entering Week 5, and what the return of Mendenhall means:
Kickoff between the Steelers (1-2) and Eagles (3-1) is set for 1:00 Sunday; be sure to check out Pittsburgh Gameday with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller, live from Tilted Kilt, at 11:00 A.M. Sunday on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan for more analysis.