Even if the fumble at the goal line against the Tennessee Titans was ultimately given to Ben Roethlisberger, and not Isaac Redman, Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson was still not pleased with the ball control displayed by his charges in the Week 1 loss.
Ball security and blocking are paramount, in Wilson's eyes.
He told Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly in Sunday's edition, "You practice ball security the most and blocking the second-most. We failed in both of those areas, and it was very disappointing."
Redman had another fumble that was able to recover, but it was a down performance in terms of pass protection from the group in general.
They weren't the only ones to blame. The Steelers' offensive line communicated poorly and appeared to be in constant confusion over the stunt-heavy Titans' defensive front four - a group coached by Gregg Williams, a guy who's confused plenty of offensive lines in his day.
But so has Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer, the Bengals' head coach and defensive coordinator, respectively. Their front four is among the best in the NFL, and they cause plenty of chaos, if not confusion. While a running back's primary job is not to stop the likes of Geno Atkins cold, there will be times where they will be the only thing between him and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Redman and Jonathan Dwyer both ranked highly in Pro Football Focus's run blocking statistic over the 2012 season. Perhaps part of the reason Dwyer was re-signed this week after being released was due to the pass protection issue the team had.
With Fernando Velasco starting at center, and Kelvin Beachum moving from there to tight end, the Steelers greatly improved their pass protection and likely, their awareness along the line.
Maybe this will give the running backs more confidence heading into Monday's game. If not, they should expect the wrath of Wilson again.
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