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Old 05-19-2007, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

Red flags or red zone?... That's the choice the Pittsburgh Steelers contemplated before signing free agent running back Kevan Barlow to a recent contract.

The red flag that waved most emphatically was Barlow's statistics for the New York Jets last season -- 370 yards on 131 carries, a 2.8-yard average. Then, of course, there was his history of locker room strife and arguments with coaches, most famously comparing San Francisco's head man, Mike Nolan, to Hitler right after the 49ers shipped him east.

On the other hand, Barlow has spent a lot of time in places few humans ever visit -- NFL endzones. He scored 30 touchdowns in his first six pro seasons, and his dismal yards per carry average must take into consideration that six of those carries were short touchdown runs.

The best thing about Barlow, from the standpoint of the Steelers, is that he's a hometown guy (Peabody High School, the University of Pittsburgh) who might flourish in familiar surroundings.

Plus, at 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, he's a prototype power back -- perhaps even more so than new Steeler teammate Najeh Davenport, who despite his 250-pound bulk is known for his speed.

What Pittsburgh has been looking for over the past two seasons is another Bus to replace (or,at least, approximate) the retired Jerome Bettis. And when you look at it, the careers of Bettis and Barlow are eerily similar.

Both started out strong (Bettis with the Rams, Barlow with San Francisco) then saw their production unaccountably decline (Bettis slipped badly in 1995 after three Pro Bowl seasons, Barlow was shoved to the Jets' sideline last season by Leon Washington and Cedric Houston). Neither had any severe injuries, and both have proven themselves effective in the red zone.

The Steelers didn't help themselves at running back in the draft, and they badly need someone to spell Willie Parker and ram the football into the endzone on short-yardage plays. Barlow could be that guy, if he can regain the form of his 49er days.

According to some critics, Barlow has stopped attacking the line of scrimmage and started tip-toeing toward it, looking for holes. But if he can buy into the Steeler culture of hard-nosed football, his signing could prove a huge bonus for new coach Mike Tomlin and his staff.
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Old 05-19-2007, 10:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

As The Bus's fan this sounds pretty good to me. I think this should ease my mind a bit till the season starts. Hopefully he'll be the man who can turn things around with his efforts.
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Old 05-19-2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

Wasn't Davenport supposed to be the "next Bus?" Until I see otherwise, I'm going to chalk this one up to more wishful thinking.
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Old 05-19-2007, 03:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

Talk about trying to make lemonade from dog shit.
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Old 05-19-2007, 07:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Wasn't Davenport supposed to be the "next Bus?" Until I see otherwise, I'm going to chalk this one up to more wishful thinking.

Agreed, still waiting. How many true Buses have there ever been?
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Old 05-19-2007, 08:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

No one can ever replace the Bus, that's an obvious point. But if they can help us out and give it their own twist then go ahead. Overall, I think we made a good choice.

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Old 05-19-2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

I agree...

There will never be another Bus.

However, there might be a VERY GOOD Kevin Barlow, and THAT is what I am looking for.
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

I agree with the preacher there will never be another bus and with a little work we might have a good barlow.
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Old 05-20-2007, 02:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

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I agree...

There will never be another Bus.

However, there might be a VERY GOOD Kevin Barlow, and THAT is what I am looking for.
Yeah, the Bus is unique, we now have fast willie and a few good backups.
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Barlow and the Bus traveled similar routes

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Talk about trying to make lemonade from dog shit.
Thanks for the optimism, Jeremy!

I think the Steelers already achieved that with the Duce.

I'm all for whatever offensive weaponry the Steelers can assemble. With RBs so prone to injury in this day and age, it can't hurt to have a couple of very capable backups in Pooper and Barlow, as well as double fire-power in short yardage situations.
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