Steelers to Increase Mendenhall's Workload

With the normally Top 10 Pittsburgh Steelers ground game ranking 23rd (2008) and 19th (2009) the last two seasons, Steelers president Art Rooney II has issued a directive to the coaching staff for the Steelers to be a more effective team on the ground.

"At the end of the game, in the four-minute [offense] to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, goal line are areas we have to be more efficient," Arians told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week.

Despite the inconsistency of the ground game last year, second-year back Rashard Mendenhall topped 1,100 yards. A greater commitment to the running game, especially in the first half of the season where starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's availability is in question, could lead to a break-out season for the 5-10, 225-pound Mendenhall.

"He has the unique ability to play every down, every situation. You can probably count that many guys on one hand who can do that in this league," Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson said. "He's an outstanding pass protector. He's got unbelievable hands. He can run inside. He can run outside. He can run off-tackle, misdirection runs. He does a lot of things for this offense that are kind of in the background right now.

"He's got great power and will only get better over the next four to five years."

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