Are Steelers playing injured RB Chris Rainey as diversion?
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley expressed earlier that a significant reason to rookie Chris Rainey’s lack of explosiveness and production could be because his movement is being hampered on field by teams that are specifically targeting the injured running back.
Chris Rainey was forced out of the third quarter of Pittsburgh Steelers’ 24-20 win over the New York Giants last Sunday with an injury, and subsequently collapsed on the sideline. Later it was revealed that Chris Rainey had fractured his ribs but the fifth round pick is still projected to play when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday.
Although playing through painful injuries like fractured ribs torn rotator cuffs is usually suggests the players’ level of toughness, such injuries also highly limit a players’ performance and impact on-field.
However, Chris Rainey’s explosiveness could come in handy with or without the ball in his possession. After all, Chris Rainey indicated earlier in the year that he was serving more as a diversion. So maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers could maintain the same formation, but of course without giving the ball to Chris Rainey.
Many players have attempted to play through gruesome injuries such as fractured ribs but it certainly affects a player’s conditioning, speed and focus on plays with the increase of swelling due to injury. These factors could weigh against Chris Rainey Monday night so maybe it will be wiser choice for the Pittsburgh Steelers to play him as a diversion.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could always opt for another trio of running backs – with Baron Batch filling in for Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Sanders also getting some time for returning kicks and punts (for Rainey and WR Antonio Brown, who is also slated to miss the game). Jonathan Dwyer participated in full practice on Sunday so he’s in the safe for the game with Isaac Redman.
Moreover, holding the ball securely with an extra padding to protect the fractured ribs may be increasingly difficult for Chris Rainey. And there’s also the possibility of Kansas City Chiefs sending in pair of defenders to take him down.
Ultimately, the Kansas City Chiefs will have to keep a defender designated for Chris Rainey incase he comes into play and that’s all the diversion the Pittsburgh Steelers need.