Mike Wallace is back and the flocks of Pittsburgh Steelers fans can breathe easy. That doesn't solve all the problems with the teams' running game though. Should the Steel City consider buying insurance in veteran Tim Hightower?
Isaac Redman still just a role player to Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger has seen good running backs. When a man hands off to a Hall of Fame power back like Jerome Bettis, it's easy for a quarterback to tell whether a runner is good or bad. Strangely the Steelers passer has offered only light praise of teammate Isaac Redman despite the fact he will start in the regular season opener. Redman had a very good game in the playoffs last season against Denver (142 total yards) but he hasn't shown the talent or durability to survive a full stretch of games. Yet with starter Rashard Mendenhall on the PUP list there isn't much choice. New offensive coÃ¶rdinator Todd Haley is a pass-first coach anyway and he has Roethlisberger throwing to talents like Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Still that game plan might not fly with the problems on the offensive line. Right guard David DeCastro is out with a knee injury and rookie tackle Mike Adams lost his job to Max Starks, a player the Steelers have signed and released so many times it is impossible to keep count. One thing in their favor is finding a way to run the ball. If Redman can't do it then maybe Pittsburgh needs to find someone who can.
Hightower loses out to Alfred Morris for roster slot
Tim Hightower has a long history battling injuries too but he is also a versatile weapon a team would like to have. He is patient finding a hole, has speed and can receive out of the backfield. That was why it was a shock when the Washington Redskins cut him in favor of rookie Alfred Morris who had a great preseason while Hightower recovered from knee surgery. On the plus side Hightower has a history with Todd Haley. He was on the infamous 2008 Arizona Cardinals team that narrowly lost to Pittsburgh in the epic Super Bowl XLIII. His skills match what the new Steelers offense will want to do. Better yet the running back is only 26 years old. His injuries are a concern but he still has a high ceiling due to his youth. Pittsburgh could almost certainly get him for cheap as insurance against Redman going down with injury himself.
Tim Hightower might not impress most fans but he is a worker with proven ability. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are willing to gamble on his health and don't trust Isaac Redman, it could become a quiet but solid addition.