View Full Version : Steelers Notebook: Parker due to get some help

09-23-2006, 12:04 AM
Steelers Notebook: Parker due to get some help
Saturday, September 23, 2006

By Gerry Dulac
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It might not be a repeat of last season, when the Steelers used three running backs to rush for 221 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.

But the Steelers likely will try to use more than just Willie Parker in their 1 p.m. game tomorrow against the Bengals at Heinz Field, and that includes getting some carries for new running back Najeh Davenport.

Davenport, who once rushed for 178 yards in a game against the St. Louis Rams, dressed but did not play the 9-0 loss Monday night in Jacksonville. But Parker has carried on 40 of the team's 44 designed running plays in two games -- 90.9 percent -- a workload the Steelers would not like to continue.

"I just practice hard and let the cards fall where they may," said Davenport, who spent four seasons in Green Bay before he was released by the Packers two weeks ago. "You do the best you can in practice, but you feel like a rookie all over again. It's not the same as doing it in a game."

In a 27-13 victory in Paul Brown Stadium in October, Parker had 18 carries for 131 yards against the Bengals, but Jerome Bettis carried 13 times for 56 yards and Verron Haynes added 35 yards on 11 carries.

Injury updates

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/questionable), the team's No. 1 draft choice, practiced for the first time this week and will play against the Bengals. That means rookie Willie Reid, the No. 3 draft choice, will likely be deactivated for the third game in a row.

Also, Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu (shoulder), who has practiced every day, was upgraded from questionable to probable.

Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has not played this season because of heel and knee injuries, practiced yesterday for the first time this week and has been upgraded from questionable to probable.

A good call

The roughing-the-passer penalty against defensive end Brett Keisel in Jacksonville appeared to be a questionable call because Keisel pulled his arms away and made little contact with quarterback Byron Leftwich.

But, asked about the penalty, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, smiling, "Shoot, I'm a quarterback. You're asking a quarterback that. That's a silly question."

Then, Roethlisberger added: "They made an emphasis on watching the quarterback. It's one of those things that the referee, a lot of times, it's a judgment call. He made the call. Sometimes, when it happens to one of your teammates, you don't like the call. But, when it happens to you as a quarterback, you like the call."

Coach Bill Cowher did not have a problem with the call.

"What I do is find out from the league what their interpretation would be and advise the player accordingly," Cowher said. "I think their interpretation was good, but it was above the leg, and he tried to pull up and it was called.

A new beast

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was asked about the sudden parity and difficulty in the AFC North division, where the Bengals and Baltimore Ravens are 2-0 and the Steelers 1-1.

"Everybody keeps talking about the NFC East being the toughest division with the [New York] Giants and the [Dallas] Cowboys and all those teams," Palmer said. "I think we can go pound-for-pound with them."

Goodbye record

One of Jerome Bettis' NFL records will be broken tomorrow. When Bettis (1,665 yards) and the Detroit Lions' Barry Sanders (2,053) were on the same field in a Thanksgiving game pitting the Steelers at Detroit in 1998, their 3,718 combined rushing yards from the previous season were the most in one game by two backs in league history.

The Seahawks' Shaun Alexander (1,880) and the New York Giants' Tiki Barber (1,860) will eclipse that when they put their 3,740 yards from last season together in their teams' game tomorrow at Seattle.


09-23-2006, 10:43 AM
very nice read, i am just hoping that najeh can do the job he did in GB. he had around 4.5ypc and a few TDs. i think he will get 10 carries tomorrow.

Black@Gold Forever32
09-23-2006, 10:58 AM
One thing to add. I'm glad Troy wants to play. But its clear he is only playing with one arm. Wouldn't Mike Logan be the better start since he can use both arms. But Troy is a warrior so I totally understand why he wants play.