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mesaSteeler
09-15-2009, 06:42 AM
Steelers' Parker runs into pointed fingers
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09258/998091-87.stm

Steelers running back Willie Parker ran for 19 yards last week versus the Titans.

The headline on the Yahoo.com story fairly screamed.

Fast Willie Looks Slow, Out Of Place

The article quoted two anonymous NFL scouts, who singled out Willie Parker -- not the offensive line -- for the Steelers' run-game problems in their victory against the Tennessee Titans last week.

"Pretty obvious. [Parker] dances too much, no burst, doesn't even read the holes very well," one scout said.

"The line isn't good, but it's not that bad, either. I don't know if [Rashard] Mendenhall is any better than Parker, but he can't be much worse," the other said.

Wow.

And they say the media overreacts and is too quick to judge.

That's crazy talk after just one game. It's too soon to bury Parker or, for that matter, the offensive line. At least that's what Parker and I think. That smile he said he had on his face when he reported back to work yesterday at the team's South Side compound? The scouts' assessments knocked it right off.

"I haven't lost nothin'," Parker growled. "I know what I can do."

More than his 13-carry, 19-yard game against the Titans, certainly.

"We kind of stunk it up; I know that," Parker said. "But I know that game will be just a [distant] memory down the road. We're going to be all right."

It wasn't just Parker who took heavy criticism. When your team runs for 36 yards, there's plenty of blame to go around. The offensive linemen came in for their share. "Of course," tackle Max Starks said. "We're used to that." (Maybe to used to it. - mesa)

Parker said he won't allow the linemen to get down on themselves. First thing yesterday, he made sure to get them together and told them they and he won't be defined by the Tennessee game.

"I just wanted to let them know I really care about them and believe in them," Parker said. "We just all have to be accountable to one another. I told them, 'We've got to get this show on the road. We've got to be the talk of the town.'

"We've got to get the running game fixed early and get it right. We've got one of the best quarterbacks in the league. If we get the running game going, that will make him even better."

Later, Parker told the media to do what the two scouts did and pile on him, not his linemen.

"If you want to point fingers at the run game, always start with me, first and foremost. I'm the running back. I have to make things happen back there. There were places to run [against the Titans]. I just wasn't hitting the holes."

Smart man, Parker.

That's Football 101: Be good to the big guys and they'll be good to you.

"It meant a lot," tackle Willie Colon said. "He told us he wasn't as sharp as he could have been the other night. We told him it wasn't just him and it wasn't just us. It was all of us. If we all put our hands in the pile, we'll get the job done right."

I'm more worried about Parker's confidence than his blockers'. I'm more concerned about his mindset than his burst or his ability to still hit the holes. "He's one of those guys who, when his mind is clear, he's at his best," Colon said.

It's hard to say that's the case with Parker now. The Steelers didn't do a contract extension with him this summer and he will be a free agent at the end of the season. Some players use that as motivation to have a big year. Others take it personally, feel unappreciated and lose their swagger. For the team's sake, Parker had better be among that first group. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knows that. That's why he made it a point before the Tennessee game to say, "Willie Parker's our runner."

For his part, Parker insisted his mind is right.

"All I have to do is play football. Everything else will take care of itself."

There are three reasons to think Parker and the running game will be better against the Chicago Bears Sunday.

One, Parker's playing time against the Titans was his first significant action since last season. He missed three exhibition games this summer and had just four carries in the other. "I can't say I wasn't ready," he said. "I just wasn't used to being hit. I didn't feel as comfortable as I normally do."

Two, the Bears' defense won't be as stout as the Titans', especially without linebackers Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa. Urlacher is out for the season after dislocating his right wrist against the Green Bay Packers Sunday night, and Tinoisamoa won't play because of a right knee sprain.

And three, well, Colon explained it best. "Willie is angry. His urgency is pretty high right now. He sees that people are looking away from him a little [as one of the NFL's top backs]. That really bothers him because he's such a great competitor. He knows he's got to earn that respect again."

Said Parker, simply: "I'm excited about the game this week."

For the chance for the Steelers to go to 2-0.

For the opportunity to take a little heat off his blockers.

And, yes, you bet, for the sheer thrill of shutting up his critics.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09258/998091-87.stm#ixzz0RAsRw2IB

The_WARDen
09-15-2009, 06:53 AM
I, for one, am tired of Parker feeling angry/disrepected. Go perform and you won't be disrespected.

:banging:

Jackal
09-15-2009, 08:08 AM
Exactly, WARDen.

Maybe if he stopped tiptoeing through the tulips every time he got the ball and actually lowered his shoulders and RAN, he might actually get more than 2 YPC. The position's called RUNNINGback, not DANCINGback.

HometownGal
09-15-2009, 08:19 AM
I'm not ready to crucify Parker at this point in the season. As the author so correctly states - he was up against an awesome rush D last week against the Titans and really hasn't played much since last season. Not an excuse - simply an observation.

The only way his critics are going to get off of his back is for Willie to stop talkin' the talk and walk the walk.

Willie - put your money where your mouth is!

The Lakelander
09-15-2009, 08:34 AM
It's hard to say that's the case with Parker now. The Steelers didn't do a contract extension with him this summer and he will be a free agent at the end of the season. Some players use that as motivation to have a big year. Others take it personally, feel unappreciated and lose their swagger. For the team's sake, Parker had better be among that first group. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knows that. That's why he made it a point before the Tennessee game to say, "Willie Parker's our runner."

Way too soon to go there.

Many teams have a "change of pace" RB whose style is different from the feature RB.

San Diego has Tomlinson and Sproles.

Baltimore has Rice and McClain.

The Titans have Johnson and White.

The Giants have Jacobs and Bradshaw.

... The Steelers essentially have Parker 1 and Parker 2.

Look (major point here) .... Parker and Mendenhall both have very similar running styles. They are straight ahead speed guys who need to hit it up in there and find a seam.

When one clicks, the other is going to click at the very same time.

Those games will be easy for all of us, because the Steelers will pound it mercilessly down the defenses throats all day long.

Conversely, like Thursday, when one falters, the other will be faltering too because they are experiencing the exact issues on the field in front of them.

El-Gonzo Jackson
09-15-2009, 09:13 AM
Look (major point here) .... Parker and Mendenhall both have very similar running styles. They are straight ahead speed guys who need to hit it up in there and find a seam.

When one clicks, the other is going to click at the very same time.

.
Completely disagree.

Parker is 208lbs with speed and likes to run off the block of a lead FB and read that block. He really doesnt have the size and strength to break tackles and is a less than average receiver.

Mendenhall is 225lbs with 4.45 speed and has run mostly from a single back set in college and the NFL where he has to pick a hole and hit it. He has much more lateral agility than Parker and is a good receiver out of the backfield.

Mendenhall was compared to Eggerin James coming out of college. I dont think you can say Parker has the same style as Edge.

BlastFurnace
09-15-2009, 09:35 AM
It is too much for a consistent 4 yard average....meaning carries like 4, 3, 8, 6, 5, 4, 6, 3, 5

...and not like 0, -1, 2, -1, 20

That is what boggs down our offense.

steelreserve
09-15-2009, 09:37 AM
You know ... the best thing about this week is seeing everyone else do my job for me.

mmalone
09-15-2009, 09:38 AM
Completely disagree.

Parker is 208lbs with speed and likes to run off the block of a lead FB and read that block. He really doesnt have the size and strength to break tackles and is a less than average receiver.

Mendenhall is 225lbs with 4.45 speed and has run mostly from a single back set in college and the NFL where he has to pick a hole and hit it. He has much more lateral agility than Parker and is a good receiver out of the backfield.

Mendenhall was compared to Eggerin James coming out of college. I dont think you can say Parker has the same style as Edge.

We need to move on and let Mendenhall play.

Trade Parker now before we have no value on him. Get a nice OL player or Higher Pick to get an extra OL next year.

We have Mendy and Moore, Moore plays better in the pass game anyway.

It may be time to work a deal.

fansince'76
09-15-2009, 09:41 AM
I'm not ready to crucify Parker at this point in the season. As the author so correctly states - he was up against an awesome rush D last week against the Titans and really hasn't played much since last season. Not an excuse - simply an observation.

The only way his critics are going to get off of his back is for Willie to stop talkin' the talk and walk the walk.

Willie - put your money where your mouth is!

I've given up on this argument. If he does go out and have a big game against Chicago, it'll be because "they weren't that good to begin with" and/or "Urlacher and Tinoisamoa were both out." He'll be gone after this season anyway and his detractors will need to find another target at that point. And like you said, he needs to shut up and just do it at this point.

HometownGal
09-15-2009, 09:46 AM
I've given up on this argument. If he does go out and have a big game against Chicago, it'll be because "they weren't that good to begin with" and/or "Urlacher and Tinoisamoa were both out." He'll be gone after this season anyway and his detractors will need to find another target at that point. And like you said, he needs to shut up and just do it at this point.

I know - I was just trying to be somewhat objective.

lilyoder6
09-15-2009, 09:52 AM
well maybe our passing game that actually looked good.. will help open the running game a lil bit.. and then parker can run good like he did in 07...
the last time ben had a good passing yr

BlastFurnace
09-15-2009, 10:04 AM
I would like to see Mendenhall get more carries...atleast 10-15 a game.

We need to see what we have with him.