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mesaSteeler
05-16-2009, 12:40 AM
No Progress On a New Parker Contract Points Toward Change in Philosophy
by Anthony Greco

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/176593-no-progress-on-a-new-parker-contract-points-toward-change-in-philosophy

With Willie Parker heading into the last year of his contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers are faced with a two-headed monster of a decision about what to do with the future of their running back position. Do they re-sign Willie Parker, or are they ready to make 2008 first-round pick Rashad Mendenhall their feature back of the future.

It's still too early to tell, but based on some recent draft picks and the restructuring of Hines Ward, entering his 12th season in a Steeler uniform, it appears the Steelers might literally be running away from their "three yards and a cloud of dust" philosophy, that seems to have been here dating back to the days of Chuck Noll.

Whether it might be Mike Tomlin putting his stamp on the franchise, escaping the shadow of Bill Cowher a little more, the bigger picture is that this is Ben Roethlisberger's team, no matter who is running the ball.

In its recent draft picks--dating back to the selection of Santonio Holmes, the surprise pick of Limas Sweed in the second round of 2008, the Steelers seem more concerned with getting some more weapons for their talented quarterback. Roethlisberger doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and that's good. Four seasons as a starter, two Super Bowls. There's very little doubt that he can add one, maybe two more Super Bowl rings in the next four seasons.

Parker has put together four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The fact that he has not been offered a new contract is intriguing at this point. The Steelers have always negotiated contracts before the start of the season. There's still a lot of time, but if a deal is not done in the next two months, we'll know for sure that the Steelers are going a different direction. Restructuring Ward's contract was the first sign. They have more faith in a 12th year receiver, than they do a six-year running back, who has been productive with a less-caliber line than the ones Jerome Bettis had. It also signals a change in philosophy that has been an on-going process since Tomlin took over.

Also, with Steelers moves in the past, there's no sign that indicates Rashad Mendenhall is the guy. There's also no sign that he isn't the guy. His rookie season was cut short due to a broken clavicle sustained in a Monday night game against Baltimore. That's not the type of injury that will affect a running back, but still, it cheated Mendenhall of contributing and getting a year into the system.

The Steelers addressed some speed in the 2009 Draft, another sign that this is Ben Roethlisberger's team. They took Mississippi receiver Mike Wallace in the third round--a speed guy who could replace Nate Washington, who departed via free agency. With Ward and Holmes, the Steelers have one of the top receiving tandems in the league. Ward has showed no signs of slowing down, and when it's all said and done, has a chance to finish as the Steelers longest-tenured receiver in team history, surpassing the legendary names of Stallworth and Swann. Holmes has lived up to his billing since he came here, proving every day why the Steelers wanted him so bad in 2006.

What the Steelers are proving now, by their offseason moves, and maybe their lack-of when it comes to no negotiations with Parker, is that they may be in a shift of philosophy. Sweed has a long way to go before he can become that third receiver, while Wallace will push him for that job in training camp. With this much activity on and off the field dedicated to the receiver position, compared to the questions facing the future of the running back position, it looks like the Steelers are ready to back their franchise quarterback, and become a pass-first team.

Galax Steeler
05-16-2009, 05:25 AM
I hope Wallace pans out and makes a good receiver but I hope that Sweed will improve alot more this year also.

jev7452
05-16-2009, 11:28 AM
well yes we are addressing the receiving position but, maybe its just me, but i would realllyyy like to see us moving the ball down the field both in the air and on the turf.. rashard hasnt proven himself yet and he was having a lot of problems holding onto that ball.. i hope willie has a big season this year

Steelerfreak58
05-16-2009, 05:44 PM
Honestly I think the Steelers FO is holding out on a contract for Willie because they want to see what he does this year. Last year he was hurt a lot and didn't perform well. I fully expect that if he has another mediocre season that he will not be offered a contract to stay. It's a smart BUSINESS decision by the Steelers they have some young talent and I think we will see a bit more of Mendenhall this year and the Steelers will be evaluating if Mend can carry the load. If Parker shakes of the injury miasma and puts out a solid running season they will keep him if they can afford him.

Psyychoward86
05-16-2009, 06:07 PM
Honestly I think the Steelers FO is holding out on a contract for Willie because they want to see what he does this year. Last year he was hurt a lot and didn't perform well. I fully expect that if he has another mediocre season that he will not be offered a contract to stay. It's a smart BUSINESS decision by the Steelers they have some young talent and I think we will see a bit more of Mendenhall this year and the Steelers will be evaluating if Mend can carry the load. If Parker shakes of the injury miasma and puts out a solid running season they will keep him if they can afford him.

This. But when it's all said and done, i think we'll all want him back for 2 more years. Im not really comfortable with Moore and Mendy, and possibly Frank Summers in the backfield.

AllD
05-16-2009, 06:10 PM
All said above is true. FO may offer a minimum contract into workouts, but could be holding back significant $ unless performance options can be worked into the contract or he proves he is back to his former self.

The evolution of this team from running to passing is the same thing that happened in the 1970s. First, Franco carried the offense much as the Bus and FWP did. Then Swann and Stallworth developed and a Dynasty was made with a well balnaced defense. Some of the best in history, actually.

This is nothing new and nothing to be concerned about. Also bringing back the same front line gives us the best statistical chance of repeating than trying to save a few $ (aka Starks) or replacing some of the less developed talent, (Mr. Holding Kemo). A consistant front line with room to grow out of its immaturity is better than assembling a new line and replacing with a bunch of FAs.

OX1947
05-16-2009, 07:25 PM
I believe the Steelers should copy the Denver Bronco offense in 97 and 98. A run first offense with a line that worked more with brains then skill. This would allow the Steelers to play their traditional kind of football and limit sacks considerably.

ShutDown24
05-16-2009, 08:01 PM
If this was completely "Ben Roethlisberger's team", as the article suggests, I have to think Nate Washington would still be here.

Rek
05-16-2009, 11:10 PM
It goes without saying among most people on this forum where I stand on the Willie Parker issue.