Gary Russell, RB

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Thursday, May 20, 2010, 10:56am

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - [Full Article]

Speaking for the first time since team president Art Rooney II said the Steelers need to put more emphasis on the running game, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians acknowledged Wednesday that improvement has to be made in that area.

"At the end of the game, in the four-minute (offense) to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, we have to be more efficient," Arians said after practice yesterday.

RB Rashard Mendenhall rushed for more than 1,108 yards last season, but the Steelers had problems in short-yardage situations.

Inconsistency in the power running game is why the Steelers were tied for 21st in the NFL last season in offense inside the opponents' 20-yard line — they managed touchdowns just 48.2 percent of the time — even though they were seventh in the league in total offense.

"I think the critical runs, short-yardage, goal line, have been a problem," Arians said. "They got addressed (in 2008) with Gary Russell. Now is it going to be Rashard? It could be Isaac Redman, it could be by a bunch of guys. Is it a back or is it by committee? This time of year you get your running game going, but in training camp you find out that short-yardage stuff. You win the job that way."

Fantasy Impact:

Keep checking back during camp to find out who wins the short-yardage job in the Steelers running game. Mendenhall would be a top-notch back should he be named, especially at the goal line, and probably be a mid-to-late first round pick.