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Old 11-12-2007, 06:07 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

Steelers' Parker struggles with footing
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 12, 2007


Willie Parker went over the 100-yard mark for the sixth time in eight games this season, but the Steelers running back said he could have had more than the 105 rushing yards he netted Sunday on 25 carries.
"It was tough sledding," Parker said after the Steelers' 31-28 win over the Cleveland Browns. Parker admittedly had trouble with his footing, but he said that could be attributed to his "trying to make too much happen."

Parker, who's well on his way to a third consecutive 1,000-yard season, said that neither his cleats nor the Heinz Field playing surface had anything to do with the number of times he slipped while trying to make a cut.

"I take full responsibility," said Parker, who has rushed for 873 yards on 212 carries this season.

? Steelers free safety Ryan Clark (spleen) and tight end Jerame Tuman (back) didn't dress because of injuries. Fullback Dan Kreider also joined then on the inactive list, along with wide receiver Willie Reid, running back Gary Russell, offensive tackle Trai Essex, center/guard Darnell Stapleton and quarterback Brian St. Pierre. Coach Mike Tomlin said Kreider didn't suit up because he wanted to have an extra player available for the kickoff coverage team, so the Steelers dressed linebacker Andre Frazier instead.
"So much for those plans," Tomlin said after the Steelers gave up 204 kickoff return yards to Joshua Cribbs.

? Tomlin gave his players today off. They don't have to report to the team's practice facility until Wednesday.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Digits
15 - Wins the Steelers have against the Browns in their past 16 meetings. They also improved to 48-24 against Cleveland since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

3 - Solo tackles made by defensive end Aaron Smith yesterday. He was playing for the first time since spraining his knee Oct. 21 in Denver.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

The field is a mess but what else is new?

It probably will take a career threatening injury or a loss that can be tied to that slop for the Rooneys to change.

I am hopeful someone with Tomlin's attention to detail will press for a change now that he will be getting a look at how bad that field can become.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

Last week Willie had trouble running in the rain on that grass. He's a "track" guy, and on artificial turf is much faster. I'm a little disappointed in our lack of giving the ball more to Najeh earlier in games like this. 100 yards rushing is 100 yards rushing regardless of who gets it. I guess Najeh just isn't doing enough to get more carries, but you have to believe, when the snow and ice comes, which it will, we must have a back up plan if Willie can't get his feet going on slow turf.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

I hope they stick with the grass field. It's not an attractive, lush surface once the weather gets cold. But, a lot of the traction concerns, I believe, is blown out of proportion. Willie was slipping yesterday, but the field was damp which should have brought about an adjustment in running style which he admitted. Also, I don't know if you caught Phil Simms' pre-game report, but Roethlisberger told him that if the field was an artificial surface, his hip injury that he suffered against Baltimore would have caused him to miss a couple of weeks. So, while the field taketh, the field also giveth.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

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Originally Posted by Dino 5 Rings View Post
Last week Willie had trouble running in the rain on that grass. He's a "track" guy, and on artificial turf is much faster. I'm a little disappointed in our lack of giving the ball more to Najeh earlier in games like this. 100 yards rushing is 100 yards rushing regardless of who gets it. I guess Najeh just isn't doing enough to get more carries, but you have to believe, when the snow and ice comes, which it will, we must have a back up plan if Willie can't get his feet going on slow turf.
We gave it to Najeh on 3rd and short in the first half and he got stuffed

In Davenport's defense, you cannot run where there is no hole and be expected to gain yardage, but IMO Davenport is a big guy but not a runner who can burrow low for short yardage.

You cannot change your field for one player, but that slop detracts from the kind of offense the Steelers are going to be running for years if Ben maintains his current level of play.
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Old 11-12-2007, 12:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

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It probably will take a career threatening injury or a loss that can be tied to that slop for the Rooneys to change.
Doesn't the city own the stadium? According to the website the Rooney's financed $76.5 million of the $230 million total so I'm not sure they have final say.

I think the bigger problem is that the field gets overused. By sharing the stadium with Pitt, I think that field takes a lot of abuse especially when both teams are home the same weekend.

If the field gets dangerous, the NFL will step in. They forced the Pats to fix the field the field at Gillette after there were complaints about the grounds crews patching holes with spray-painted sand.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

The Steelers need to switch to the new hybrid turf. The players love it, it plays fast and is forgiving and doesn't cause injuries. If the Steelers were the only team playing there, I'd say stick with grass, but there is way too much football being played on that field. There was a noticable difference from the beginning of the game last week to the ending of this one, and basically the middle of the field is now nothing but dirt.

We also now have some true speedsters for a change. Parker and Santo would benefit from the faster and more sure turf.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

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Originally Posted by onthebus36 View Post
Doesn't the city own the stadium? According to the website the Rooney's financed $76.5 million of the $230 million total so I'm not sure they have final say.

I think the bigger problem is that the field gets overused. By sharing the stadium with Pitt, I think that field takes a lot of abuse especially when both teams are home the same weekend.

If the field gets dangerous, the NFL will step in. They forced the Pats to fix the field the field at Gillette after there were complaints about the grounds crews patching holes with spray-painted sand.
I am surprised the league has not stepped in - TV commentators openly mock how notoriously bad the field is.

The Steelers control the field but part of getting the public financing was that Pitt plays there. For PR purposes, we have the 4 high school games being played there as well. As was posted yesterday, wait until the Steelers-Dolphins game tears up the field in 2 weeks after Pitt + the 4 high school games have been played over a space of several days

The taxpayers are funding a stadium a lot of them did not want built and Pitt + the high schools have a right to use the field. But by November that field cannot take the abuse. It may be because it is next to a river bed (the Bengals had similar problems with grass and went to FieldTurf) but IMO this is Dan Rooney being stubborn. The best hope is Tomlin (or Ben when it is renegotiation time?) goes to AJRII and says this nonsense needs to stop.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

What we have to remember...is that the field affects everyone the same. I like the field, because that kind of field is very forgiving. What I want Willie to do, is to go talk to Emmit Smith (I know, I said it) or some other running backs about what to do when you are running on that type of field in bad weather.

The last thing I want to see is a knee blown out because the turf doesn't release like grass does.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Parker struggles with footing

I disagree, Preach. Yesterday, the field seemed to adversely effect the Steelers a lot more then it did the Browns. We have the shifty scat back and the superfast WR. Parker lost his footing several times and it cost us.
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