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mesaSteeler
09-11-2009, 06:27 PM
‘Fast’ Willie looks slow, out of place
Jason Cole
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-parkerlooksslow091109&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

While it’s easy to target the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line as the culprit when trying to figure out the problem with the team’s running game, another huge issue is that running back Willie Parker(notes) still looks like he’s on the steep downside of his career.

That was the take from two NFL scouts who watched Pittsburgh’s season-opening 13-10 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. While much of the emphasis during the broadcast was on Pittsburgh’s failure to convert short-yardage runs, both scouts said the issue is much deeper.

“Pretty obvious. [Parker] dances too much, no burst, doesn’t even read the holes very well,” one scout said via email when asked to evaluate Parker’s performance in the opener.

Parker, nicknamed “Fast Willie” because he had displayed so much speed in the past, finished with 19 yards on 13 carries and caught one pass for five yards. Top backup Rashard Mendenhall(notes) was no better, gaining six yards on four carries.

Overall, the Steelers managed only 36 yards rushing on 23 carries, a repeat of the problems they had with the running game last year on the way to winning the Super Bowl. In fairness, Pittsburgh was facing a stout Tennessee defense that was sixth against the run (93.9 yards allowed per game) last season.

As for Parker and Mendenhall, both were replaced by third-down back Mewelde Moore(notes) in the critical moments of the second half and overtime. Moore’s rushing stats (five carries, eight yards) were no better, but he caught four passes for 28 yards and showed why he’s a much better overall option than Parker in passing situations.

At least according to the other scout.

“Parker looks lost when you send him on a passing play,” the second scout said, pointing out that Parker completely busted a play on the very first series of the game, failing to either get open quickly enough or block a lineman who broke free chasing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger(notes). “Parker was in no-man’s land and you could see by his body language that he had no clue where he was supposed to be. He didn’t run a route and he didn’t stay in to block. When the [Steelers] coaches look at that one, they’re going to just shake their heads.”

Throughout training camp and in the week leading up to the opener, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had expressed his support for Parker. After the game Thursday, Tomlin gave Tennessee some due respect and didn’t specifically criticize any one person or unit. Still, he made it clear that the running game wasn’t good enough.

“As good a defensive front as Tennessee has, we’ve got to do a better job if we’re going to show up consistently in victory lane,” Tomlin told the media contingent.

Likewise, the scouts said the problem is layered and not easy to fix.

“They won a title with that running game last year, but I wouldn’t want to bet on them doing it again if they can’t run,” the latter scout said. “The line isn’t good, but it’s not that bad, either. I don’t know if Mendenhall is any better than Parker, but he can’t be much worse … Moore is nice, but if you play him full-time, you burn him out and they need him on third down.

“I know what Tomlin’s trying to do [with Parker], he’s supporting the guy all the way to the bitter end. That’s why players are loyal to Tomlin. He won’t embarrass them. But he’s going to have to make a switch at some point.”

SteelC7
09-11-2009, 07:00 PM
i dont know who the answer is, rashard or williem ive always supported parker, but my patience is wearing thin, i saw him pass up holes where he couldve gained a few yards instead of constantly looking for the edge, only barry sanders was allowed to pass up holes looking for the big play, and that was bcuz he COULD always make the big play

slippy
09-11-2009, 07:14 PM
if my O-line got pushed backwards on every running play i'd be dancin' too.

after one game, the line has improved its pass protection but run blocking is just not there.

bradness113
09-11-2009, 07:24 PM
i wouldnt hate on parker right now...the run blockin was horrific all game. its the first game....give it time...

steelersfanman92
09-11-2009, 07:48 PM
He didn't have that much help from the line, but there were creases that he should have hit and he was dancing way too much behind the LOS instead of just putting his head down and intiating contact to get a yard or two.

Preacher
09-11-2009, 07:48 PM
As a guy who has loved and supported Willie forever... I gotta say there was something definitely wrong with him last night. It wasn't just the O line (which could not execute in the run).

Don't know if that hamstring is messing with him or what. But there is something wrong.

Here's hoping he pulls it together.

hindes204
09-11-2009, 07:52 PM
were only one game into the season.....and it was a win. Im not worried about the run game at all, itll come around

stlrtruck
09-11-2009, 07:54 PM
It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation.

If he doesn't run well people want to trade him, but if he gets long runs people want to discount them too.

I'd like to see FWP bounce back and have a great year but as I posted on another thread, he seems as if he hasn't recovered from that last knee injury - regardless of what he states, actions speak louder than his words.

Steelman16
09-11-2009, 07:59 PM
Complete lack of runblocking aside, he seemed "dancy" last night. I wasn't used to not seeing his big strides. I think he only hit his stride one time on that longest run he had. Not sure if it's the injury or he wasn't seeing any holes, but Willie Parker was definitely not himself.

Hopefully he can improve from here on out.

steel striker
09-11-2009, 08:01 PM
Let's not pass judgement yet guys let's see what happens the next few weeks.

Shoes
09-11-2009, 08:24 PM
As a guy who has loved and supported Willie forever... I gotta say there was something definitely wrong with him last night. It wasn't just the O line (which could not execute in the run).

Don't know if that hamstring is messing with him or what. But there is something wrong.

Here's hoping he pulls it together.

I agree...he seemed lethargic and unsure on a number of plays. I really hope he has a great season.

GoodyTwo
09-11-2009, 08:28 PM
were only one game into the season.....and it was a win. Im not worried about the run game at all, itll come around

Ha, not worried at all? You can't be serious.

Shellshock
09-11-2009, 08:45 PM
I am just waiting for Bruccccccccce to install the old Chuck and Duck.

PisnNapalm
09-11-2009, 08:45 PM
Right now I think it's a combination of both the o-line and Willie.

I'd give my left nut to get big running back like Bettis in here. Man I sure do miss him.

steelersfanman92
09-11-2009, 08:53 PM
Let's not pass judgement yet guys let's see what happens the next few weeks.

I know what you are saying, but the NFL is a performance driven league. If you don't perform at a high level you shouldn't be playing, or at least be a starter. I am not saying that I dont like FWP, I do, but if he isn't getting the job done he shouldn't be in. I hope that he can get back to how he played 2 seasons ago, but you just can't play him because he was has been good in the past.

sharkweek
09-11-2009, 08:56 PM
:shout: PANIC!!!

stb_steeler
09-11-2009, 09:01 PM
I think its safe to say thats why Tomlins not giving out the bigger paycheck to Willy.:hunch:

steelreserve
09-11-2009, 09:06 PM
So how come THIS guy's not a hater who obviously doesn't know what he's talking about?

austinfrench76
09-11-2009, 09:13 PM
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert but there looked to be cutback lanes that Willie did't even see last night! I Tivo'd the game and watched it today again. It really looked like teh cutbacks were there but he charged right up the back of teh lineman. Also, they cannot pickup short yardage for sh$#! I'm not going to go all John Kuhn here but, Redman seemed to carry people on his back. Summers looked awful last night, why not make a change? Just a suggestion after 1 game.

steelwalls
09-11-2009, 09:39 PM
There were several wiffed blocks by allmost every lead blocker put in the game last night, Heck even Heath wiffed one when the stuck him in a FB.

That being said I seen chances for parker to make plays last night. I seen holes that could have been hit. He did look different to me and Ive allways supported him.

Steeldude
09-11-2009, 11:34 PM
i am a firm believer in the O-line is what makes the running game work best, not the RB. i have stated that too many times to count....but...there is also line between poor/average RBs and good/great RBs. parker has been showing he is an average RB. while the O-line certainly did a poor job, parker also did a poor job attacking and making decisions. i have defended parker a lot on here. he wasn't getting the blocking a RB deserves, but for anyone to say it's all the O-line's fault is ignorant.

i think zierlein is a problem. the O-line looks lost at times. on one play starks let a defender run right by him. he didn't even attempt to impede the defender's pursuit into the steelers' backfield. i see that too often from the other linemen too.

IMO, the steelers should have been investing in good offensive linemen over the last 8 seasons, not RBs and WRs. i realize the steelers have been good at finding gems in the rough, but you can't keep digging in the late rounds and grabbing discarded players. sooner or later it's going to catch up and it's showing or so it seems. the O-line was good when the idiot kordell was still here, but that O-line talent/chemistry was wasted because the steelers insisted a WR was their QB of the future :toofunny:

Steeldude
09-11-2009, 11:37 PM
Summers looked awful last night, why not make a change

i think that was a result of being a nervous rookie. hopefully the coaches teach him how to be more patient when engaging blocks.

steelwalls
09-12-2009, 12:16 AM
i am a firm believer in the O-line is what makes the running game work best, not the RB. i have stated that too many times to count....but...there is also line between poor/average RBs and good/great RBs. parker has been showing he is an average RB. while the O-line certainly did a poor job, parker also did a poor job attacking and making decisions. i have defended parker a lot on here. he wasn't getting the blocking a RB deserves, but for anyone to say it's all the O-line's fault is ignorant.

i think zierlein is a problem. the O-line looks lost at times. on one play starks let a defender run right by him. he didn't even attempt to impede the defender's pursuit into the steelers' backfield. i see that too often from the other linemen too.

IMO, the steelers should have been investing in good offensive linemen over the last 8 seasons, not RBs and WRs. i realize the steelers have been good at finding gems in the rough, but you can't keep digging in the late rounds and grabbing discarded players. sooner or later it's going to catch up and it's showing or so it seems. the O-line was good when the idiot kordell was still here, but that O-line talent/chemistry was wasted because the steelers insisted a WR was their QB of the future :toofunny:


While w/ what you're saying, we have drfted good enough to win 2 more Lombardi's.

I seen the oline last night give Ben all kinds of time on a number of plays. They were doing well picking up the blitz (or course you cant pick them all up) Im just saying they are not trash for sure.

I do see them get turned around some or look a bit unsure who their assignment is. Thats some of the problem sure. Something is a miss and I honeslty dont think there is a single issue that is going to improve our running game. It is going to be a combination of several things.

One thing I noticed last night was every time we ran the ball the Titans were expecting it every single time. Maybe it is the scheme, I dont know. There was no fooling them when we ran they knew it was comming for sure.

One thing is I didnt see alot of play action last night (maybe its just me) I would like to see more play action passes out of the I or split I formation.

As far as getting one yard??? I dont know, but its driving me nutts.... Maybe put Harrison in when we need a yard.....he'd fight for it for sure...lol....

Seriously, Summers maybe had the rookie gitters (I think so) but a good blocking FB is not going to hurt us.