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Old 11-25-2007, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers

Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 25, 2007


Steelers running back Willie Parker is on pace for his second consecutive 1,400-yard rushing campaign, and his third 1,000-yard season in a row.
So why is Parker's latest performance being scrutinized in newspaper articles and on radio talk shows while reserve Najeh Davenport is being shown love normally reserved for a backup quarterback?

Last season Parker carried the ball 337 times for 1,494 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry.

This season Parker has carried the ball 233 times for 925 yards and two touchdowns. He's averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

So far, the Steelers haven't run Parker until his "wheels fall off,'' as coach Mike Tomlin promised.

At his current rate, Parker will finish with 372 carries and rush for 1,480 yards.
Similar numbers earned Parker a roster spot as a Pro Bowl reserve last year.

To be sure, Parker's inability to make big plays and maintain his balance was a topic of discussion following the Steelers' 19-16 overtime loss to the New York Jets.

Parker rushed for 52 yards on 21 carries, averaging 2.5 yards per pop.

Davenport was more effective in limited work, finishing with 39 yards on eight carries.

Tomlin noted the difference in the players' performances but said Parker's lack of success was more a function of the team than the individual.

"We weren't able to get Willie going. It is not just Willie,'' Tomlin said.

"It is all of us, just like Najeh getting five yards a pop isn't necessarily Najeh. It's the type of runs we run, when we run him.''

Considerably bigger than Parker at 6-foot-1, 247 pounds, Davenport appeared to hit the holes faster and run with more authority than Parker. He also maintained his balance better than Parker.

Tomlin said not to read too much into Davenport's performance in terms to how it relates to his playing time in the future, starting with tomorrow night against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

At the same time, Tomlin acknowledged that Davenport was the Steelers' most effective runner against the Jets.

"We have to be able to run the ball as a team. Najeh is a part of it. He is a legitimate playmaker,'' Tomlin said.

"We have to do a better job as a team of consistently running the football and that includes Willie Parker. That includes Najeh. That includes Carey Davis or whoever else we choose to hand the ball to.''

The Steelers are handing Davenport the ball more this season.

Last year Davenport rushed for 221 yards and a touchdown on 60 carries for a 3.7 average.

This year he's rushed for 318 yards and a team-high three touchdowns on 61 carries for a 5.2 yard average, giving him more yards, touchdowns, carries and a higher average from a year ago.

Davenport is on pace for 97 carries and 500 yards rushing, which would give him career highs in both categories. He's already reached his career-high in rushing touchdowns.

Davenport has gone from capable backup to able replacement in case Tomlin's words come true and Parker's wheels fall off.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers

Quote:
just like Najeh getting five yards a pop isn't necessarily Najeh. It's the type of runs we run, when we run him.''
uhhhhhhh ......geesh, maybe tomlin might wanna consider running more of those "type of runs".....you know....the ones that get positive yards , as opposed to running parker into the back of faneca while he's being pushed into the backfield....
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers

That's mainly what I don't understand, and it's not just the Steelers that are guilty of it.

If Davenport is having more success...why not just keep him in the game? Why not keep feeding him the ball? It's not an insult to Parker....It's just getting the job done and putting your pride aside and getting that check mark in the Win column instead of a loss to the friggin Jets....

Willie is still obviously the starter.

We seem to be carrying this mentality that "Well, Willie could break a 40 yard run!!!".....that, my friends, is an IF....a MAYBE.....

Why not just go with CONSISTENCY with Davenport in a game where Parker just isn't doing anything?
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers

Najeh is not exactly in there on actual run plays the defense is looking for. No he is in there on 3rd and long and the defense is looking for pass. As seen in a lot of times, when Najeh is in on short goal line plays and 3rd and 1 from last season to this season he gets barried at the line to, are O line has almost no push at times.

You want to point blame on yet another season were the run game suffers. Look at the O Line and be quiet about it. If there is no holes, then do not blame Parker. When the O line actually open ups a hole he hits it and goes.

I will not lay the blame on najeh are willie when are O line can not do there job for ether the run game are the pass blocking portion.

Faneca should be pulled and Mahan should be moved to guard were he belongs are on the bench. That would be the first start to try and fix something they said they were going to do in the offseason. Because Big Ben is still running for his life, the run game is getting shut down, and it all starts at the O Line. But do not worry when we play teams that are O Line actually does something on .. Willie will get his yards then. Bens season of putting up numbers will continue.. But of course if we go in the playoffs playing like crap on the O Line we will not go far. Ben and Willie can only do there job as the O line Dictates the Tempo of which is allowed to them.

Are weak points O Line, and Dicks crappy Prevent at the end of games playing not to win. Not to mention Tomlin not doing a good job of getting the team ready for road games, and guess what, we will be playing on the road in the playoffs if we do not straighten up are act on road games.

Tomlin is young and learning. I will not fault him. I am sure he is taking all this in and learning quickly and will make proper adjustments as time goes on.
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Old 11-25-2007, 01:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker taking heat for normal numbers

Quote:
Najeh is not exactly in there on actual run plays the defense is looking for. No he is in there on 3rd and long and the defense is looking for pass.
last week najeh had 8 carries....
2 -1st down
4 -second
2 -third
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