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Old 11-08-2006, 07:31 AM   #1
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Default Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

Bob Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Of the approximately 1.2 billion words that have been written and spoken to explain the unraveling of the Steelers' season, the most honest and most on the mark are the comments of running back Willie Parker.

Parker, one of the younger and less sophisticated Steelers, spoke to the heart of what's wrong with this team, and he said it with only a comparatively few words after the loss Sunday to Denver.

"Last year, we were getting the job done, we just seemed hungrier. This year, it seems like we already got what we want, what's the use? What's the use of going out there and selling out?"

Out of the mouths of babes ...

The truth hurt, which is why there will be attempts to refute what Parker said. But there's no getting away from those comments. They explain what ails this team. The hunger and drive that moved the 2005 Steelers to come back from the brink of playoff expulsion to win the Super Bowl championship is missing. This is something that has been speculated upon, but only by people outside the team. These were words coming from inside the team, from a player more apt to speak from his heart than some of his more experienced, media-savvy teammates.

It should surprise no one.

This proud franchise had hungered for a Super Bowl. It had gone more than a quarter of a century without one. The coach hungered even more for such a win because it would, and did, validate his career. The players, more than anyone, wanted it. It really isn't all about winning and the ring, which is what they like to say. It's really about money. But these guys all have money. So this is what they wanted. Just like it validated Bill Cowher, it validated them. They are Super Bowl champions. Nothing, not even their 2-6 record, can take that away from them.

The Steelers are going through the kind of letdown that is common to Super Bowl champions. Winning it is so huge that a letdown is more the rule than the exception. Maybe Parker's words will wake them up and make them realize they have been remiss in their focus and their dedication, not that any reawakening could dramatically change the course of this season.

His critics will point to Cowher for failing to motivate his players. Cowher must accept some of the blame. He's not nearly demanding enough of his players. But the players must take most of the blame. In the end, it's up to them to determine about what kind of dedication they have. They know that dedication is more than talk. It's doing. It's knowing in your heart, not your head, that you care.

Of course, there will be attempts to back away from Parker's comments. When Parker meets with the media today, there's a good chance he'll use the favorite excuse of anyone who makes a comment that draws unwanted attention: He was taken out of context. Except his words are on videotape, and they were not taken out of context.

Cowher attempted to minimize Parker's statement at his news conference yesterday, which was not surprising. No coach wants to hear those words coming from a player.

"I've talked to the team," Cowher said. "You've got to be careful what you say. I think everything you're talking about is pure speculation. I talked to Willie about it. Willie certainly was not implicating any teammates, by any stretch of the imagination. To read that into it would be a misrepresentation of what he said."

Actually, it was Cowher who was misrepresenting what Parker said, and it is a stretch of anyone's imagination to believe Parker wasn't speaking from his heart, regardless of what kind of denial he might issue today.

Parker said more that hurt.

"Right now, I don't think we're believing in everybody. I don't think we're looking at the guy next to us and being like, 'He has my back. I can trust this guy.' I don't think we trust the guy next to us right now."

Damning words, to be sure, but words that explain what's wrong with the Steelers.

Parker wasn't the only Steeler speaking out.

Commenting on how Denver receiver Javon Walker caught two 10-yard touchdown passes on fade patterns, cornerback Deshea Townsend said, "Every week, the teams know what [defense] we're getting in. We have to do some situations to help us out on the outside."

Townsend wasn't just second-guessing the coaching staff, he was second-guessing the most-revered man in the Steelers' locker room, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. It bordered on blasphemy, but it shows what's going on with the Steelers. It's finger-pointing time and even the great LeBeau is subject to it.

Hines Ward, team captain, spoke what might be on the minds of a lot of the players.

"At 2-6, you have to audition for next year."

In effect, he was saying the 2006 season is over. It is, but players aren't supposed to say that.

But they're saying that and much more on the Steelers.

They're talking the talk; they're just not walking the walk.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06312/736466-194.stm
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

First, Willie Parker. This is a second year player with some strong words towards the veterans and towards the team in general. Personally, I like it. It's nice to hear somebody...anybody speak up on that team and show some type of anger and frustration. There is life afterall!

Then there is Townsend's comments. If anything, his comments were a direct shot at LeBeau. This is coming from a DB who is not having his best year to say the least. One name: McFadden. Give your second round pick a shot and see how he performs. Experience never hurts (especially at this point in the season).
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

Those are two guys who should be keeping their mouths shut. Neither of them has done anything to warrant them making those kinds of comments, especially not Willie Parker. They're not team leaders and when the rank and file are coming out and criticizing the coaching and other players, it's time for some wholesale roster changes.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

I was really hoping this kind of talk would stay in the locker room.

-Mike
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

Ouch!
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

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Originally Posted by MJ5150 View Post
I was really hoping this kind of talk would stay in the locker room.

-Mike
After this year it will. I doubt that the Rooneys will tolerate this kind of thing for very long.

What I think this also signals is a change in coaching. I think the players know something we may not when it comes to the coaching situation. You don't do this kind of thing with a strong head coach in place.

But that's just MHO.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
First, Willie Parker. This is a second year player with some strong words towards the veterans and towards the team in general. Personally, I like it. It's nice to hear somebody...anybody speak up on that team and show some type of anger and frustration. There is life afterall!

Then there is Townsend's comments. If anything, his comments were a direct shot at LeBeau. This is coming from a DB who is not having his best year to say the least. One name: McFadden. Give your second round pick a shot and see how he performs. Experience never hurts (especially at this point in the season).
these words remind me of the raiders problems after they lost to the bucs in the superbowl. I have deep concerns. I think Willie is upset about the lack of balance this team has. I've really been reminded of the 2003 team this year when we got away from the run.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

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Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
Those are two guys who should be keeping their mouths shut. Neither of them has done anything to warrant them making those kinds of comments, especially not Willie Parker. They're not team leaders and when the rank and file are coming out and criticizing the coaching and other players, it's time for some wholesale roster changes.
Jeremy, I respect your posts and have enjoyed reading them. However parker hasnt been able to do anything this year because they have really went away from the run. I'm glad he spoke up it is the truth you know. I'm surprised alan faneca and hines ward havent stepped up more as the leaders of this team to get us in the right direction
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

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Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
Those are two guys who should be keeping their mouths shut. Neither of them has done anything to warrant them making those kinds of comments, especially not Willie Parker. They're not team leaders and when the rank and file are coming out and criticizing the coaching and other players, it's time for some wholesale roster changes.

If Parker doesn't speak up, who will? I see no problem with a young kid speaking up and showing some type of frustration and anger. At this point, I don't see what it can hurt. As for Parker's play, I'll look towards the o-line. Open up holes and you have a running game. Starks getting blown up on every down is not going to cut it. Faneca and Smith are not exactly playing at their highest level. That o-line has been completely inconsistent all season long. Willie Parker is the least of that teams problems.

Townsend is a different story. He's calling out LeBeau while he should be looking at his own play. How many times have we seen Townsend get toasted this season? How many times have we seen Townsend INT a ball? What has Townsend done this season in order to call out his DC?
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Smizik: RB Parker's words ring true, sting Steelers

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
If Parker doesn't speak up, who will? I see no problem with a young kid speaking up and showing some type of frustration and anger. As for Parker's play, I'll look towards the o-line. Open up holes and you have a running game. Starks getting blown up on every down is not going to cut it. Faneca and Smith are not exactly playing at their highest level. That o-line has been completely inconsistent all season long. Willie Parker is the least of that teams problems.

Townsend is a different story. He's calling out LeBeau while he should be looking at his own play. How many times have we seen Townsend get toasted this season? How many times have we seen Townsend INT a ball? What has Townsend done this season in order to call out his DC?
I think the 3-4 defense is like the run and shoot the last two years it was ran, I think there is a reason why very few teams run it anymore. I think lebeau will be gone as well. I would like to see a cover 2 next year
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