Friday, August 17, 2012

Mendenhall and Hampton Activated Off Of PUP-How Does It Affect Roster?

So, Jonathan Dwyer and Mike Adams come back to practice on this last day of the Steelers 2012 Training Camp, but Isaac Redman is still not practicing. Still, it's good news that...

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog for a special announcement: the Pittsburgh Steelers have activated running back Rashard Mendenhall and veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton from the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list.

Good news for the Steelers to be sure. To start, being able to have experience and depth along the defensive line, specifically at nose tackle, is invaluable. Alameda Ta'amu has not exactly caused the coaches to gush and fawn over him. Having Big Snack back sooner than later only helps.

There's no doubt that Steve McLendon has been displaying beast-like tendencies in Training Camp and against the Eagles in the first preseason game. Unfortunately, though, there was no real confidence behind him. So, an earlier return of Hampton will bridge the gap and allow Ta'amu time to continue to progress.

The name that really caught my eye was Mendenhall's. Just seven months after his ACL surgery and he's off the PUP. Curious. I hadn't thought it possible, I admit. Because of knowing the body as I do, and because of knowing the history of the healing time for such injuries, I didn't expect him back before October.

Maybe more definitive than that was the fact that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has said more than once that, because of the nature of the position and all the moves the running back makes, he didn't expect Mendy back before that timeframe either.

As Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette pointed out not long after the announcement, Colbert told 93.7 The Fan on 8/6/12 that "if [Mendenhall] doesn't open on PUP for the first six weeks, I'd be surprised." Bouchette even suggested that activating Mendenhall is a desperation move by Steelers. - http://t.co/eqNOQyuf

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's an act of desperation, but it is curious. With the running backs thinning out, the timing was just a little curious. More to the point of what I'm getting to on that in a minute.

Colbert was on 93.7 The Fan again on Friday after the announcement and he talked about the Mendenhall activation.

"As (Mendenhall) continued to work with the trainers and the strength staff, he felt and they felt that he was ready to take the next step, which is being able to work with the team and seeing where he is from a contact standpoint," said Colbert.

He said further, "You have to go through a three-day acclimation period, which began today, so he'll really join in the more active practices after Monday when we get back on Tuesday. So...the training staff felt he was ready, Rashard felt he was ready, and we'll see where it goes."

This, though, was the key statement: "Who knows at what point that he'll be able to help us, but it's time for him and Casey (Hampton) to take the next step and see where they are in their rehab."

If you don't know when he'll be able to help you, why not leave him on longer?

I'm not going to do a lot of speculation here. For now we know he won't be used, neither of them will be used, right away. We also know that there have been injuries to the running backs, so this will help to shore up that corps. There is an X-factor in this, though.

Because of the fact that none of the young wide receivers has separated himself, there is the possibility that Chris Rainey could be listed as such. He could be uses in a variety of ways and is someone who needs to get involved in games. I suggested as far back as the end of April that Rainey could be listed that way, especially since the fifth and/or sixth wide receivers will be on special teams anyway.

Bring back Mendy now and you have him, Redman, Dwyer and Batch as your running backs. Then, assuming Mike Wallace (y'all knew he'd be mentioned eventually) comes back by the end of Training Camp, you'd have him Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and maybe Rainey here or maybe a Toney Clemons as your fifth (as I don't any longer believe Marquis Mays nor Tyler Beiler makes the team...though, that could change) and Rainey as your sixth. Maybe.

It's definitely something to consider, though. That said, we now return you to you regularly scheduled blog already in progress.

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...both rookie tackle Mike Adams and running back Jonathan Dwyer were both in pads and back practicing. Adams wore a brace on his injured knee and practiced with the second unit. 

Isaac Redman took part in individual drills during practice Wednesday but wasn't able to finish, coming up lame during a workout midway through. Redman has not been in pads since. Redman said he hopes to be back next week from what turned out to be a hip injury: http://t.co/WDscU0ah  

Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said that Dwyer looked "thinner, quicker and crisp." Very encouraging considering he'd seemingly had a love affair with more than one woman lately. Namely Little Debbie, Wendy's and the Dairy Queen. So, those words were definitely great to read.

Two things to look for in the second preseason game against the Colts: Willie Colon in his first game action at guard, and Adrian Robinson at linebacker. 

I'm expecting big things from him as amongst friends for about years now I've been saying he's more suites for guard. Looking forward to it. Also, I would say Robinson has a good chance to make the roster because of his ability to play special teams and the uncertainties right now at the position. He can solidify that starting Sunday. 

I'm going to end this now with just two words: Taylor Gang. - 
http://youtu.be/nWAGLkyxQG0