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lamberts-lost-tooth
05-19-2007, 08:04 AM
Red flags or red zone?... That's the choice the Pittsburgh Steelers contemplated before signing free agent running back Kevan Barlow to a recent contract.

The red flag that waved most emphatically was Barlow's statistics for the New York Jets last season -- 370 yards on 131 carries, a 2.8-yard average. Then, of course, there was his history of locker room strife and arguments with coaches, most famously comparing San Francisco's head man, Mike Nolan, to Hitler right after the 49ers shipped him east.

On the other hand, Barlow has spent a lot of time in places few humans ever visit -- NFL endzones. He scored 30 touchdowns in his first six pro seasons, and his dismal yards per carry average must take into consideration that six of those carries were short touchdown runs.

The best thing about Barlow, from the standpoint of the Steelers, is that he's a hometown guy (Peabody High School, the University of Pittsburgh) who might flourish in familiar surroundings.

Plus, at 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, he's a prototype power back -- perhaps even more so than new Steeler teammate Najeh Davenport, who despite his 250-pound bulk is known for his speed.

What Pittsburgh has been looking for over the past two seasons is another Bus to replace (or,at least, approximate) the retired Jerome Bettis. And when you look at it, the careers of Bettis and Barlow are eerily similar.

Both started out strong (Bettis with the Rams, Barlow with San Francisco) then saw their production unaccountably decline (Bettis slipped badly in 1995 after three Pro Bowl seasons, Barlow was shoved to the Jets' sideline last season by Leon Washington and Cedric Houston). Neither had any severe injuries, and both have proven themselves effective in the red zone.

The Steelers didn't help themselves at running back in the draft, and they badly need someone to spell Willie Parker and ram the football into the endzone on short-yardage plays. Barlow could be that guy, if he can regain the form of his 49er days.

According to some critics, Barlow has stopped attacking the line of scrimmage and started tip-toeing toward it, looking for holes. But if he can buy into the Steeler culture of hard-nosed football, his signing could prove a huge bonus for new coach Mike Tomlin and his staff.

SteelersMongol
05-19-2007, 10:23 AM
As The Bus's fan this sounds pretty good to me. I think this should ease my mind a bit till the season starts. Hopefully he'll be the man who can turn things around with his efforts.

fansince'76
05-19-2007, 03:37 PM
Wasn't Davenport supposed to be the "next Bus?" Until I see otherwise, I'm going to chalk this one up to more wishful thinking.

Jeremy
05-19-2007, 03:56 PM
Talk about trying to make lemonade from dog shit.

GBMelBlount
05-19-2007, 07:54 PM
Wasn't Davenport supposed to be the "next Bus?" Until I see otherwise, I'm going to chalk this one up to more wishful thinking.


Agreed, still waiting. How many true Buses have there ever been?

polamalufan43
05-19-2007, 08:33 PM
No one can ever replace the Bus, that's an obvious point. But if they can help us out and give it their own twist then go ahead. Overall, I think we made a good choice.

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

Preacher
05-19-2007, 10:01 PM
I agree...

There will never be another Bus.

However, there might be a VERY GOOD Kevin Barlow, and THAT is what I am looking for.

Galax Steeler
05-20-2007, 06:31 AM
I agree with the preacher there will never be another bus and with a little work we might have a good barlow.

The Duke
05-20-2007, 02:06 PM
I agree...

There will never be another Bus.

However, there might be a VERY GOOD Kevin Barlow, and THAT is what I am looking for.

Yeah, the Bus is unique, we now have fast willie and a few good backups.

HometownGal
05-20-2007, 04:24 PM
Talk about trying to make lemonade from dog shit.

Thanks for the optimism, Jeremy! :wink02:

I think the Steelers already achieved that with the Duce.

I'm all for whatever offensive weaponry the Steelers can assemble. With RBs so prone to injury in this day and age, it can't hurt to have a couple of very capable backups in Pooper and Barlow, as well as double fire-power in short yardage situations.

SteelCzar76
05-20-2007, 05:12 PM
Somewhat off the subject a little bit here,.....but was'nt there talk of possibly bringing Barlow here when he was in San Fran ? Anyway,....i agree with HTG here. You can never have 'too much' quality depth in regards to your ground game. Especially with the nature of injuries of whatever degree at the position in today's League.

Bottom line,...not being able to 'run the rock' for a football team,....is like a prizefighter with no jab.

lamberts-lost-tooth
05-21-2007, 09:09 AM
Wasn't Davenport supposed to be the "next Bus?" Until I see otherwise, I'm going to chalk this one up to more wishful thinking.


Understood....but I dont think anyone ever thought that Davenport was a better RB than Barlow.

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 09:11 AM
Thanks for the optimism, Jeremy! :wink02:

I think the Steelers already achieved that with the Duce.

I'm all for whatever offensive weaponry the Steelers can assemble. With RBs so prone to injury in this day and age, it can't hurt to have a couple of very capable backups in Pooper and Barlow, as well as double fire-power in short yardage situations.

We have a Pro Bowl running back backed up by two average at best running backs, neither of who are really capable of being the guy if Parker goes down.

lamberts-lost-tooth
05-21-2007, 09:21 AM
We have a Pro Bowl running back backed up by two average at best running backs, neither of who are really capable of being the guy if Parker goes down.

Given.

BUT....Barlow has proven he is a better complimentary back then Davenport....and in that role has ALWAYS been successful....If you are looking for someone of Parkers caliber to be his backup...I dont think we have that guy on our roster....(and dont think we would have the cap room to sign him anyway)

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 09:47 AM
Given.

BUT....Barlow has proven he is a better complimentary back then Davenport....and in that role has ALWAYS been successful....If you are looking for someone of Parkers caliber to be his backup...I dont think we have that guy on our roster....(and dont think we would have the cap room to sign him anyway)

I just worry about our season if we have to lean on Davenport or Barlow. It just seems we could have found a pair of young legs in the draft or as an UDFA.

tony hipchest
05-21-2007, 10:16 AM
if we get in a pinch, i dont want a pair of young legs, or udfa responsible of picking up a blitzer and protecting ben on 3rd and whatever.

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 12:33 PM
if we get in a pinch, i dont want a pair of young legs, or udfa responsible of picking up a blitzer and protecting ben on 3rd and whatever.

I don't really trust Kevan Barlow or Najeh Davenport to pick up the blitz either.

Crushzilla
05-21-2007, 12:52 PM
I don't really trust Kevan Barlow or Najeh Davenport to pick up the blitz either.

Why? Have they shown that they can't handle it?

And before you retort... "have they shown that they can?" It's irrelevant... Why do you hate this backfield so much? We're in MUCH better shape than a lot of teams... You don't need two Pro Bowlers to have an effective run attack

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 01:59 PM
Why? Have they shown that they can't handle it?

And before you retort... "have they shown that they can?" It's irrelevant... Why do you hate this backfield so much? We're in MUCH better shape than a lot of teams... You don't need two Pro Bowlers to have an effective run attack

Because we have one stud and a bunch of gedling back there. You need two good running backs in today's NFL. What we have now is one good running back and a bunch of retreads. We are not a Super Bowl caliber team with Kevan Barlow as the back up running back. Period.

fansince'76
05-21-2007, 02:14 PM
Because we have one stud and a bunch of gedling back there.

Randy Quaid in Major League II comes to mind: "You're a gelding, Vaughn!" :toofunny:

Crushzilla
05-21-2007, 03:21 PM
We are not a Super Bowl caliber team with Kevan Barlow as the back up running back. Period.

I'm doubting its as simple as all that. So if we would have drafted Tony Hunt or Michael Bush we may as well have went ahead and built that extra shelf in the Rooney's trophy case?

We'll survive with the retreads. Willie showed last year that he can carry the load, why is it unreasonable to figure he can do it again. I'd rather have Willie Parker and one of our retreads over Thomas Jones/Leon Washington or Dominic Rhodes/Lamont Jordan.

Last years Super Bowl contenders don't feel that its necissary apparently.

The Colts lost Dominic Rhodes and now are left with the lethal one/two punch of Joseph Addai and... and... DeDe Dorsey...

The Bears lose Thomas Jones and are now going with Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson... I think its safe to say Kevan Barlow is more proven than Peterson.

If Willie gets hurt, however, (knock on wood) you're right... we're in BIG trouble :smile:

Crushzilla
05-21-2007, 03:28 PM
I just worry about our season if we have to lean on Davenport or Barlow. It just seems we could have found a pair of young legs in the draft or as an UDFA.

We did pick up a UDFA and probably the best UDFA at the RB position. Gary Russell was a solid back at Minnesota until he had issues his senior year and wound up being uneligable... not the greatest pick up, but he could prove himself in camp if he's in playing shape... I don't find it unreasonable to put some hope in an UDFA since we are all so high on our 7th round pick

paw-n-maul-u
05-21-2007, 04:14 PM
Because we have one stud and a bunch of gedling back there. You need two good running backs in today's NFL. What we have now is one good running back and a bunch of retreads. We are not a Super Bowl caliber team with Kevan Barlow as the back up running back. Period.

zzzzzzzzzzz. This running back class SUCKED. absolutely sucked. I would much rather the steelers only attach themselves to barlow and davenport for a year or two than spend a gamble on someone like Chris Henry, Hunt or Mike Bush. I was a HUGGGGGGGGEEEE pimp of Bush (of course, until his leg was held together by metal).


I do wonder, what running back WOULD you have liked for us to draft?? ( I noticed that you were unhappy about passing up on one this year)

Because I 100% believe Barlow, Davenport > Hunt,Bush,Henry ... anyone really from this draft class except lynch and Peterson.

Are you suggesting we should have drafted one of them (Peterson or Lynch)???

..........

Just Wait one year, Mcfadden, Slaton, Ore, Davis, Hart, Rice, Bernard. There are a Ridiculous amount of solid RB's next year, and none have as many questions as this years class

paw-n-maul-u
05-21-2007, 04:18 PM
I don't think we're in as much trouble as you may think If parker goes down.

Barlow is a 1000 yard back, in san francisco mind you. And it was at about the peak of SF's Run of being one of the worst teams in the league. And Davenport, granted has had some injury problems of his own, did a fine job backing up his also-injury plagued starter, ahman green.

tony hipchest
05-21-2007, 04:41 PM
I don't think we're in as much trouble as you may think If parker goes down.

Barlow is a 1000 yard back, in san francisco mind you. And it was at about the peak of SF's Run of being one of the worst teams in the league. And Davenport, granted has had some injury problems of his own, did a fine job backing up his also-injury plagued starter, ahman green.i think barlows best year was splitting time with garrison hearst and the 49ers had pro bowlers t.o. and jeff garcia. so the 1 thing that shows is he comes to a great situation with the supporting class we have to offer. losing willie would suck but like you said, it may not be the end of the world. najeh filled in great when ahman green went down and him and barlow splitting time is really no different from dominic rhodes splitting time with addai last season.

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 04:45 PM
zzzzzzzzzzz. This running back class SUCKED. absolutely sucked. I would much rather the steelers only attach themselves to barlow and davenport for a year or two than spend a gamble on someone like Chris Henry, Hunt or Mike Bush. I was a HUGGGGGGGGEEEE pimp of Bush (of course, until his leg was held together by metal).


I do wonder, what running back WOULD you have liked for us to draft?? ( I noticed that you were unhappy about passing up on one this year)

Because I 100% believe Barlow, Davenport > Hunt,Bush,Henry ... anyone really from this draft class except lynch and Peterson.

Are you suggesting we should have drafted one of them (Peterson or Lynch)???

..........

Just Wait one year, Mcfadden, Slaton, Ore, Davis, Hart, Rice, Bernard. There are a Ridiculous amount of solid RB's next year, and none have as many questions as this years class


I understand that a lot of people on this board thought that Tony Hunt was overrated because his 40 times weren't what they wanted. But all the kid did was produce in a very physical defensive conference.

As for all those backs you named, unless you plan on drafting in the top 15 again the next couple of seasons, you can forget them.

tony hipchest
05-21-2007, 04:56 PM
I understand that a lot of people on this board thought that Tony Hunt was overrated because his 40 times weren't what they wanted. But all the kid did was produce in a very physical defensive conference.

As for all those backs you named, unless you plan on drafting in the top 15 again the next couple of seasons, you can forget them.i read somewhere that steelers mgmt wasnt that interrested in hunt cause of his 6 or 7 fumbles last season. maybe penn state can overcome that but hes gonna get hit alot harder in the nfl and after last season, i dont think we want another turnover problem waiting to happen, on our hands. its bad enough with willie.

i really wanted bush, but colbert said they simply dont really consider anyone who might be an injury risk. the steelers doctors cleared heath miller. im guessing they told the f.o. it was just too much of a gamble with bush. considering all the breakthroughs weve seen in modern medicine i'd say it was worth the risk, but oh well.

onthebus36
05-21-2007, 05:14 PM
Davenport came into the system late last year and saw so little action I'm not sure we've seen the extent of his abilities, pro or con, as a fill-in starter.

Barlow is not a starter but we didn't bring him in to be one. I think he'll be a solid backup if he buys into the system and works hard. He came into the system earlier in the cycle than Davenport so that should help him work himself in. And if you are concerned about his output, look who he played for!

In response to the statement, "you need two good running backs" I think we have better than that. We have a pro-bowler in FWP and I think either Barlow or Davenport qualify as "good." Plus, maybe one of these UDFAs will work out.

I have a lot of questions about next season but RB is pretty far down the list. Frankly, I'm more concerned by Hartings' departure and Faneca's dissatisfaction than I am by Barlow or Davenport. Without solid O-line play, who's at backup running back is largely a moot point.

paw-n-maul-u
05-21-2007, 05:43 PM
I understand that a lot of people on this board thought that Tony Hunt was overrated because his 40 times weren't what they wanted. But all the kid did was produce in a very physical defensive conference.

As for all those backs you named, unless you plan on drafting in the top 15 again the next couple of seasons, you can forget them.

Are you serious? ... I listed 7, a few of those won't even get picked in the first round. Other than Mcfadden and Slaton, I think all the others are game.


Next year is also a VERRRRRRRRY strong class for O-Lineman. If our secondary turns it around and our pass rush improves I figure we'll be looking at O-line and RB early on next year.

Hamer
05-21-2007, 08:13 PM
If anyone can get something out of Barlow, Coach Tomlin seems like the guy who could do it.

Jeremy
05-21-2007, 08:35 PM
Are you serious? ... I listed 7, a few of those won't even get picked in the first round. Other than Mcfadden and Slaton, I think all the others are game.


Next year is also a VERRRRRRRRY strong class for O-Lineman. If our secondary turns it around and our pass rush improves I figure we'll be looking at O-line and RB early on next year.

Mike Hart? Come on man. If anyone is going to fall it's going to be Slaton. Besides, the whole point of this was to compare a future Hall of Fame running back to a retread who's best season came when he was splitting time as the starter.