View Full Version : Prisuta: Parker makes losing Bettis easier

08-29-2005, 11:12 PM

Jerome Bettis coming up lame in advance of and doubtful for the regular-season opener constitutes a bump in the road much more than it does a major blow as far as the Steelers are concerned.

On the list of irreplaceable players, Bettis ranks well down the chart, Hall-of-Fame credentials and all.

If you're talking players the Steelers can least afford to lose, start with left offensive tackle Marvel Smith.

If Smith goes down for any length of time, it's a problem. Barrett Brooks is the only veteran backup available, and even the Steelers don't trust Brooks as a capable replacement beyond a quarter or two, or a game or two.

Right tackle Max Starks, likewise, is also relatively invaluable, even though Starks has yet to make his first NFL start. Rookie Trei Essex, the other backup at tackle, has potential but remains far enough away from realizing it that he won't dress on game day.

Left guard Alan Faneca also falls into the have-to-have-him category. Faneca is perhaps the best offensive lineman in the NFL (and might still be the long-term option at left tackle should Smith be lost for an extended stretch, as was the case in 2003).

On defense, linebacker James Farrior is a reigning All-Pro and strong safety Troy Polamalu is poised to become one. Both are three-down players and indispensable in whatever package the Steelers employ.

At outside linebacker, the Steelers are already shy one starter, which means current first-teamers Clark Haggans and James Harrison are pivotal figures. As long as one of the big three at the position is injured, as Joey Porter currently is, the other two become guys the Steelers absolutely, positively have to have healthy.

Or else.

Kicker Jeff Reed, based on the difference he can make, is also more essential than Bettis.

As for the running game, that'll live and die with the offensive line, as always.

The Steelers would have preferred that Bettis handle things until Duce Staley returned to full strength, but they'll still line up and run the ball on Sept. 11 against Tennessee.

If they're running "Fast" Willie Parker on first and second down and utilizing Verron Haynes on third down, so be it.

Parker could become this year's Ben Roethlisberger _ the best player at his position who only got a chance to play because injury forced him into the lineup.

The former rookie-free agent has a Roethlisberger-like upside.

"I'm not concerned," coach Bill Cowher said of potentially starting Parker. "I'm rather excited."

Should Parker fail to dazzle, someone else will have to (tight end Heath Miller, perhaps).

Either way, the Steelers weren't anticipating another 250 carries and 941 rushing yards from The Bus in the first place.

His injury is more a personal setback than a potentially devastating situation for the Steelers.

08-29-2005, 11:14 PM
I can see his point.. as much as I hate prisuta's columns in general. Yes having Willie will help, but losing Bettis is a blow, because of all the other compounded injuries. I wasnt worried about the running game till Bettis got hurt. I still think willie can do a good job for us, but losing jerome w/ staley still out is going to impact us atleast alittle bit.

I dont even wanna jinx us by thinking about losing a starting OL.

08-30-2005, 09:20 AM
Feature Willie anyway even if Bettis comes back. Use Bettis short yardage and keep him healthy for the stretch. Lord knows we made need him late in the year. Haynes and Staley are unrealiable.

08-30-2005, 09:34 AM
We can speculate all we want about the running game, but until the passing picks up opponets can stack the box with 8 and stop any running attack. For any of our backs to succeed Ben and the recievers will have to hook up. That will make or break the offense, Parker included.

08-30-2005, 10:01 AM
We can speculate all we want about the running game, but until the passing picks up opponets can stack the box with 8 and stop any running attack. For any of our backs to succeed Ben and the recievers will have to hook up. That will make our break the offense, Parker included.
Great point Wyo, I will give a rep point as soon as i get home. cant do it at work?

Avoid LLoyd1975
08-30-2005, 01:04 PM
Keep Bettis and get rid of duce before he becomes one of the Steelers worse moves in a long time. The guy can perform but when can he perform....Almost never. Too injury prone. It is pretty sad when a fat old washed up running back (Bettis) out runs your ass and makes it to the pro bowl while you sit at home and become a waste of funds. Willie is a good change of pace but no starter. Adrian Peterson next years pick in the draft. Go steelers

08-30-2005, 07:42 PM
Good read. Lots of true statements there.

08-30-2005, 08:27 PM
Keep this in mind too..we've been running against 8 in the box for years.. we can do it. People always stack the line against us, they've been doing it forever. They can't completely shut down our running game, we've got a good scheme and good solid lineman.

Remember we havent been known for our passing attack in the past very often, its always the run.. so we can run against 8 in the box, make no mistake about that. Having said that, yes we definatley need our arial attack to step it up in a BIG way.

08-30-2005, 09:37 PM
I think especially while Bettis and Staley are down the passing game needs to get it together. I think Willie Parker will do well in his starts or whenever he plays, but I would like to see the passing game work well. This preseason it hasn't looked too good.

08-30-2005, 09:49 PM
The main thing that worries me about Parker is, not in between the 20's.. he's got plenty of room to run and blow people away w/ his speed..but how will we handle the first and goal in the red zone when we wanna pound it in. Im anxious to see what he's got there.

08-30-2005, 09:51 PM
Good point BRC. I'm curious about that as well.

08-30-2005, 09:54 PM
i wonder what it's going to be like when duce comes back and willie is running like a mad man. i wonder if duce will be a ho and complain or if cowher will just start duce because he was the original starter. i hope he doesn't if willie is doing awesome and we are winning. i'm starting to lose faith in duce, i liked it when we signed him but he ain't ever healthy.

08-30-2005, 09:56 PM
Yeah thats the downfall on Duce. He will play awesome when he is healthy, but he seems to always be nagged by an injury. I liked the sign as well and I still do like Duce, but the injuries are getting to be a bit much.

08-31-2005, 09:30 AM
Too true RockCity. With the Bus out who do you think is a goal line fill in for him? I would start looking at Miller. Put him in motion, add Parker and his speed in the backfiled and you gave a defense alot to worry about. Talk about spreading the defense. Make'm chase their tails!!