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Haiku_Dirtt
07-19-2008, 03:01 PM
Steelers offseason focus seems puzzling

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, July 19, 2008

Didn't realize the Steelers had such a pressing need at running back, what with the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall in the first round, the signing of free agent Mewelde Moore and the strange courtship of Kevin Jones.

Wish the Steelers were this dedicated to stockpiling players at other positions of need -- defensive end or defensive tackle; either one would suffice.

Wonder what Willie Parker thinks about all the wheeling and dealing at his position?

On second thought, maybe it has something to do with Parker breaking his right fibula almost seven months ago, and the Steelers being concerned that he won't be ready for the start of the season.

Just speculating. But nothing about the Steelers' pursuit of former Detroit Lions running back Jones makes sense unless you factor Parker's injury into the equation.

Don't the Steelers have enough running backs already? Didn't they draft Mendenhall in the first round when they had a greater need for a defensive or offensive lineman? Didn't they recently release Najeh Davenport, who produced as many 100-yard games (one) as Jones did last season?

Jones, who chose the Chicago Bears over the Steelers earlier this week, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Dec. 23 -- three days after Parker's injury.

Prior to his knee injury, Jones had rushed for 581 yards and eight touchdowns. He missed three games in 2007, making it a total of 11 missed games in four seasons.

Injuries have plagued Jones in the NFL.

He rushed for 689 yards and six touchdowns after missing four games in 2006, rushed for 664 yards and five touchdowns after missing three games in 2005. He's had one 1,000-yard season -- his first -- but he's never played a full season in the NFL.

That should raise a host of red flags. But it apparently did not, given the Steelers' fascination with him.

Here's an idea for the Steelers. Why not sign free agent Anthony "Booger" McFarland for some much-needed depth on the defensive line? Use the money meant for Jones to sign him. Sure, McFarland, who has started for two Super Bowl teams, is recovering from a torn patella tendon that caused him to miss the entire 2007 season. He's a gamble. But so is the injury-prone Jones.

Back to Parker. After suffering his first significant injury as a pro, the Steelers drafted a running back in the first round for the first time in 19 years.

That sent Parker a message, loud and clear, that the Steelers' loyalty extended only as far as his last carry before the injury. The team then signed Moore as a third-down back/kick returner and cut Davenport before checking out Jones.

Not only did the Steelers not sign Jones, they left the remaining running backs on the roster to wonder what the heck is going on. To be sure, they're not the only ones scratching their heads in confusion.

....John. You "Didn't realize the Steelers had such a pressing need at running back, what with the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall in the first round, the signing of free agent Mewelde Moore and the strange courtship of Kevin Jones."

HUH. Couldn't agree more about Jones. More smoke there than substance. But one injury away from an empty 'proven' backfield is what I would consider a pressing need.

xfl2001fan
07-19-2008, 04:22 PM
One injury away from a struggling D-line isn't more of a pressing issue? If one of your starters goes down, who fills in? At least on offense, you can go 3 and 4 wide while you bring your rookie HB along. Granted, that means your O-line needs to provide better pass protection to Ben, but there is a better option there.

If your D-line takes a decline, what are your options? I seriously don't know, but if I was a fan, that would concern me.

Then again, you're one injury away from having no passing offense too because if Ben gets hurt....

That's a lot of whatifs. And the what if game is nothing but a circle-jerk.

I agree with the article, it doesn't send a positive message to FWP.

fansince'76
07-19-2008, 04:27 PM
Funny that Harris spends the better part of the article bemoaning Jones' injuries, but then goes on to say that the Steelers should sign McFarland, who the Steelers didn't sign earlier this offseason as he couldn't even pass a physical. And are there any other decent DLs available at the moment worth looking at? Yeah, didn't think so. There's a reason Harris is a sportswriter and not a GM.

xfl2001fan
07-19-2008, 04:47 PM
There might be some, but they wouldn't be a great fit for a 3-4 defense.

RoethlisBURGHer
07-19-2008, 04:54 PM
Gee, ever think we were looking at Jones because there is another team in the division that could have possibly made an attempt to sign him? I wouldn't have been shocked if the Bengals looked at him with the ineffectivness that Rudi Johnson has shown these past few seasons.

I am pretty sure Parker isn't upset that the Steelers drafted Mendenhall or signed Moore. I would bet that he didn't freak that they were looking at Jones.

And last I checked, the Steelers didn't offer him a contract, they simply sent someone to watch his workout that EVERY team was invited to come watch.

And who exactly on the OL or DL is available for the Steelers to be throwing money at? Nobody worth the vet minimum is available. The Steelers did want to sign McFarland for DL depth, but he couldn't pass the physical. Other than McFarland, there is nobody really out there...and like I said McFarland can't pass a physical.

xfl2001fan
07-19-2008, 05:07 PM
As I indicated, there MIGHT be, but they still wouldn't be a good fit in the 3-4. Those lineman that are worth looking at for a 3-4 get scooped up quick now that there are so many teams running a 3-4 defense.

As for the whole Jones/Parker issue, it doesn't exactly send a ringing endorsment when you look at an injury prone HB after signing one guy and drafting another. no matter how you color it, the fact that they were even looking leaves too much open to speculation.

Galax Steeler
07-20-2008, 08:23 AM
I think we were looking at Jones for competition at the position and possibly for special teams that is an area that we really need to improve on.

Fire Haley
07-20-2008, 10:35 AM
Mendenhall is going to be a beast.

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/03c36m93w2aH6/610x.jpg

tony hipchest
07-20-2008, 12:19 PM
As I indicated, there MIGHT be, but they still wouldn't be a good fit in the 3-4. Those lineman that are worth looking at for a 3-4 get scooped up quick now that there are so many teams running a 3-4 defense.

As for the whole Jones/Parker issue, it doesn't exactly send a ringing endorsment when you look at an injury prone HB after signing one guy and drafting another. no matter how you color it, the fact that they were even looking leaves too much open to speculation.so what your saying... is for the steelers to endorse parker, they need to only cary 2 backs? the steelers always have 4 rb's. it is their job to try their damnest to have the best 4. after all, i dont think the steelers were worried about endorsing duce or jerome, when they carried willie parker his rookie season.

i will say it again. courting kevin jones was simple due diligence. colbert and tomlin knew him well.

Elvis
07-21-2008, 05:44 AM
ok...
I just wanted to ring and say that I think that we are pretty much set at RB in my opinion. We have Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, then we have Melwede Moore ( our 3rd down back) and I also think that Gary Russell has shown some promise that the Steelers can hang thier hats on for emergencies. I think that the Steelers would be smart to get a long look at Russell during training camp and just see exactly what they have... good or bad. Just my opinion though
:coffee:

Fire Haley
07-21-2008, 06:10 AM
Lookit' them quick feet!

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revefsreleets
07-21-2008, 09:40 AM
After watching that:

I feel sorry for the Golden Gophers. RM looks like he scored pretty much at will against them. And what's up with Ball State trying to arm tackle the dude?

HometownGal
07-21-2008, 11:33 AM
Funny that Harris spends the better part of the article bemoaning Jones' injuries, but then goes on to say that the Steelers should sign McFarland, who the Steelers didn't sign earlier this offseason as he couldn't even pass a physical. And are there any other decent DLs available at the moment worth looking at? Yeah, didn't think so. There's a reason Harris is a sportswriter and not a GM.

:applaudit::applaudit::applaudit:

You nailed it, Gary. Obviously Harris didn't do his homework before rushing to meet that deadline. Typical. :doh: