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lamberts-lost-tooth
11-17-2008, 04:40 AM
Russell carries new role for Steelers
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 17, 2008


Gary Russell parlayed the only two carries he got in the Steelers' 11-10 win Sunday over the San Chargers into a new role. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Russell is the Steelers' short-yardage back after rushing for 10 yards and picking up first downs on both of his third-down carries.

"I thought Gary Russell did an awesome job in the second half and provided a spark for us in that area," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

The Steelers failed to gain a yard that would have given them a touchdown near the end of the first quarter, as the Chargers stuffed Mewelde Moore on fourth down from inside San Diego's 1. Willie Parker, who returned to the starting lineup after missing last week's game with a shoulder injury, said the Steelers didn't use him on the goal line because they were trying to protect his shoulder.

The fumble return that should have been a touchdown at the end of the game wasn't the only spectacular play Troy Polamalu made. The Steelers' strong safety intercepted a Philip Rivers pass in the first quarter after diving and getting his right hand under the ball just before it hit the turf.


The Steelers were penalized 13 times for 115 yards and the Chargers were flagged just twice for 5 yards. Asked about the disparity, Tomlin said, "No, I have never seen a game with (13-2) penalties. I am not answering questions about the officiating."

Digits

23:29 -- The San Diego Chargers' time of possession.

36:31 -- Time that the Steelers had the ball.


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_598789.html

Galax Steeler
11-17-2008, 05:22 AM
Russell stepped up big when we needed him I would like to see him used more around the goal line.

jjpro11
11-17-2008, 08:45 AM
he has been a pretty damn good return man as well.. he runs HARD on those returns and carries the pile.

steelpride12
11-17-2008, 08:49 AM
Stepped up big on both 3rd and 1 rushes and the first onehe almost broke to the endzone off the last tackler.
He gives up something as well on the kickoff returns.

Edman
11-17-2008, 09:23 AM
He should've been the goal line back since the beginning of the year.

Dino 6 Rings
11-17-2008, 09:46 AM
Think I found the New Jersey to get.

This is what our offense needs. To convert 3rd and very short and stop lining up in a Shotgun every single 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 1.

I'm all about finally pounding it for that "last yard"

DACEB
11-17-2008, 10:05 AM
He should've been the goal line back since the beginning of the year.

Ditto, if I recall correctly he proved he was the best short yardage guy early on. Now there were games early on when he probably didn't dress, but lately he has dressed and should have been utilized. This just goes back to my arguement that they're not rotating the RBs enough and utilizing the RBs specific skills in specific situations.

steelreserve
11-17-2008, 11:55 AM
Ditto, if I recall correctly he proved he was the best short yardage guy early on. Now there were games early on when he probably didn't dress, but lately he has dressed and should have been utilized. This just goes back to my arguement that they're not rotating the RBs enough and utilizing the RBs specific skills in specific situations.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Our insistence on a Parker-or-nothing running game has been a problem for three years now, and I can only hope this is a sign the coaches are finally acknowledging the fact that different situations call for different guys. That's exactly what we need right now; it just still puzzles me why it took so long to figure it out.

Maybe since Russell obviously isn't going to be the "main" guy, this might even get the nod of approval from the crowd that normally says "OMG STFU PARKER IS THE STARTER AND NO ONE ELSE SHOULD PLAY EVER!!!"

For a while, I thought Moore might have been the answer for short yardage, but after seeing him get Parkered at the goal line three times in a row, maybe not so much.

fansince'76
11-17-2008, 12:13 PM
Maybe since Russell obviously isn't going to be the "main" guy, this might even get the nod of approval from the crowd that normally says "OMG STFU PARKER IS THE STARTER AND NO ONE ELSE SHOULD PLAY EVER!!!"

Don't believe anyone has ever said that - I think the problem has been with haters who think Willie is somehow worthless due to the fact that his last name isn't "Bettis," he's not 250+ lbs, and he wasn't a blue chip "can't miss" pro prospect (like such luminaries as Cedric Benson and Ron Dayne) coming out of college, despite the fact that he has more than proven his worth to this team time and time again, and continues to do so.

steelreserve
11-17-2008, 12:35 PM
Don't believe anyone has ever said that - I think the problem has been with haters who think Willie is somehow worthless due to the fact that his last name isn't "Bettis," he's not 250+ lbs, and he wasn't a blue chip "can't miss" pro prospect (like such luminaries as Cedric Benson and Ron Dayne) coming out of college, despite the fact that he has more than proven his worth to this team time and time again, and continues to do so.

That's not really my problem with Parker. My problem is that he has obvious holes in his game, yet for years we have continued to insist on using him even in situations that are going to bring out his weaknesses and make it easy for opponents to exploit them. And if Parker is getting stuffed by the defense, instead of trying something different, we just stick with the same miserable game plan all day long and end up with 31 yards rushing on 16 carries while Ben gets sacked 7 times.

As I've said all along, Parker is a respectable running back, but if we use him as the starter, we're just going to have to accept that he rarely catches the ball, he is not a very good option for short yardage, and unless the offensive line does better than fight to a draw, he'll be inconsistent and get tackled for no gain a lot. Maybe that's OK for a starter in your book, but personally, I think we can do better.

Yeah, he's good enough to get the job done two games out of three, but when you can see those problems coming -- and after four years, they should be obvious to anyone with two eyes and a quarter of a brain -- you'd damn well better have a plan to deal with them when they come up. I am amazed it's taken us this long to do that.

fansince'76
11-17-2008, 01:23 PM
That's not really my problem with Parker. My problem is that he has obvious holes in his game, yet for years we have continued to insist on using him even in situations that are going to bring out his weaknesses and make it easy for opponents to exploit them. And if Parker is getting stuffed by the defense, instead of trying something different, we just stick with the same miserable game plan all day long and end up with 31 yards rushing on 16 carries while Ben gets sacked 7 times.

As I've said all along, Parker is a respectable running back, but if we use him as the starter, we're just going to have to accept that he rarely catches the ball, he is not a very good option for short yardage, and unless the offensive line does better than fight to a draw, he'll be inconsistent and get tackled for no gain a lot. Maybe that's OK for a starter in your book, but personally, I think we can do better.

Yeah, he's good enough to get the job done two games out of three, but when you can see those problems coming -- and after four years, they should be obvious to anyone with two eyes and a quarter of a brain -- you'd damn well better have a plan to deal with them when they come up. I am amazed it's taken us this long to do that.

I definitely agree that we've needed a change-of-pace back to complement Parker and have had trouble filling that role. I do like Moore's pass-catching ability and hopefully Russell will be the answer in short yardage from here on out. I'm hoping Mende breaks the bad habit of running straight up and down as well next season.

steelreserve
11-17-2008, 02:49 PM
I definitely agree that we've needed a change-of-pace back to complement Parker and have had trouble filling that role. I do like Moore's pass-catching ability and hopefully Russell will be the answer in short yardage from here on out. I'm hoping Mende breaks the bad habit of running straight up and down as well next season.

What's encouraging is that SOMEwhere among the four backs we have, there's a combination that's going to improve our running game. Using everyone correctly takes some getting used to, but at least now we're trying.

I saw a lot of things that made sense yesterday -- Parker using his speed in some situations, Moore catching passes in others, and Russell bashing ahead for tough yards. More importantly, we did a much better job of actually having the right guys on the field at the right times. If the rotation looks the way it did yesterday for the rest of the season, I'd be very happy. With the caveat that if Parker or Moore is having a bad game, we recognize it fast and switch their roles (or next year, maybe try inserting Mendenhall for one of them if that happens).

CanadianSteel
11-17-2008, 05:08 PM
Props to Russell as he did a great job converting short yardage and hope he keeps it up as we will need that down the stretch...