Steelers' backfield could be blown up

Pro Football Weekly

The Steelers last offseason parted ways with former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, now the head coach of the Cardinals, and replaced him with Todd Haley at least in part because they wanted to get back to running the football.

Yet, under Haley, the Steelers finished 26th overall in rushing offense, three spots lower than the worst rushing season in five years under Arians.

According to GM Kevin Colbert, Haley never had a chance to successfully reestablish the ground game in 2012.

"Where we were in the running game last year was indicative of the talent at the position. ... That group of players didn't produce the way we anticipated they would,” Colbert told the local media last week.

That might not bode well for the futures of Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman in Pittsburgh, we hear. Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent, coming off an injury-riddled season which netted his worst output since 2008. Dwyer and Redman, meanwhile, are both restricted free agents.

With rookie Chris Rainey being released after an arrest for domestice violence last week — and Colbert indicating he doesn’t have a future in black and gold — the Steelers could have an entirely different look and feel in the backfield in 2013. Even if any or all of the backs currently on the roster return, the departure of Rainey and likely exit of WR Mike Wallace creates a need for speed out of the backfield. The hope is that whomever is called upon will do a better job meeting the expectations of Colbert and the rest of the Steelers’ brass than was the case in 2012.