Feed the Beast

Bruce Arians is proud of having pushed the Steelers to sign Isaac Redman when he came out of Bowie State. But, B.A., give your boy the ball.

Pittsburgh – Do you like Isaac Redman's heart?

"Whoa!" answered Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "Love it! Love it! He was a state wrestling champ and wrestlers are pretty tough dudes."

Well, this past Sunday that tough dude had his team pumped up and primed to steal a game in Houston that it didn't deserve.

Redman had just dragged Houston tacklers with him for a 5-yard gain to convert a third-and-2 late in the third quarter, and he was pumped.

"I really felt unstoppable," he said.

Redman was pumped. His team was pumped. The many Steelers fans inside Reliant Stadium were pumped. They'd all just realized that something was working on this otherwise clunker of an afternoon.

"We came out of halftime with the perfect scheme," Redman said. "We wanted to run that power and we started hitting that power play. They just couldn't hold up to it, and we were hitting it and hitting it."

How?

"With the guard pulling around. I hit it. Mewelde [Moore] hit it. The line was juiced up. [Maurkice] Pouncey was handling the nose and we were getting a good lead block with the guard coming around pulling. David Johnson was doing a nice job filling in there, hitting the hole, getting them linebackers.

"See, all week long we saw the linebackers filling that hole, but by the end of the game he wasn't trying to fill that hole with DJ no more. DJ was just plowing through there. The hole was there. I was just running through it."

He was hitting it. A 230-pounder with uncommon inside skills courtesy of powerful legs that don't quit pumping, Redman followed pulling guard Chris Kemoeatu through the right side for 18. Then he it inside for 6, and 2, and then 5 to convert the third down at the Houston 32.

The drive eventually came up short by a yard and the Steelers kicked a field goal to tie the game.

Into the fourth quarter the Steelers went without injured Rashard Mendenhall, and curiously they went without Redman, too.

Redman got only one fourth-quarter carry (for 8 yards) and wasn't even on the field during the Steelers' 4-down series that began at the Houston 48 with 3:33 remaining, down by a touchdown.

Where was the guy with the big heart when the game was on the line?

"If we're going to throw the ball to the backs, we like Mo in there because he's made a lot of plays for us," Arians said. "He won the other ball game for us with big catches."

No doubt. But three incompletions and a 3-yard scramble obviously fell short.

Redman's 40 yards on 6 carries in Houston were typical of his numbers in his current role with the Steelers. In the playoffs last season he gained 50 yards on 7 carries. His two-year rushing average is 4.8, but through only 74 carries.

Redman admits he wants the ball more.

"You always want the ball," he said. "The more you get the ball the more you get into the rhythm of the game. But sometimes that's the way the cookie crumbles."

With Mendenhall and Moore having both missed two practices this week, Redman's preparing for a heavy workload. And if he turns in the performance many expect, it won't be his last.

NOTES – Arians said the Steelers' starting guards for Sunday's game against Tennessee will likely be Ramon Foster at right guard and Doug Legursky at left guard. Arians doesn't want to mess with the success the right side had in the running game last Sunday. He also likes Legursky's athleticism if pulling left guard Kemoeatu can't play. ... Kemoeatu, Moore and Mendenhall missed Thursday's practice, as did CB Cortez Allen (ankle), NT Casey Hampton (shoulder), LB James Harrison (eye), DE Aaron Smith (foot), and LB Jason Worilds (quadricep). ... Arians on whether Max Starks has a realistic chance of starting Sunday at left tackle: "Yeah. It'd be different if he was learning a new offense. He's shown up in great shape and he looks good. He picked it right back up, so we'll see again tomorrow which way we go. It's nice to have flexibility."


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