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An important history lesson for you TRUE Steelers fans!

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Old 10-21-2008, 06:10 AM   #1
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Default Moore still attractive as Parker returns

Moore still attractive as Parker returns
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Rookie Rashard Mendenhall joined Willie Parker in the backfield this year to supposedly give the Steelers the best one-two punch at running back they've had in years.

They were to be No. 1 and 1-A. Coordinator Bruce Arians even talked about teaming them to form a "pony" backfield on occasion.

Everyone, even the coaching staff, forgot about the exercise pony, or their three-four punch, Mewelde Moore.

Moore was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Minnesota Vikings two days after free agency began to take over as the Steelers' third-down back. He seemed perfect for the job, better than they have had in the past because he not only could block, he was a threat to run and catch passes as well.

"He has things that are potentially attractive to us," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on the day they signed him to a three-year contract for $4.95 million that included a $1.35 million signing bonus.

Then the season began, and Moore became a forgotten man. They hardly used him, other than as a returner. He had one carry in the first four games and no receptions.

The Steelers then took a one-two-three punch to their backfield. First, Parker left with a sprained left MCL Sept. 21 in Philadelphia. Baltimore's Ray Lewis knocked Mendenhall out of the season for good Sept. 29 with a fractured shoulder. Fullback/halfback Carey Davis, who was getting more third-down action than Moore, followed that game against the Ravens with a sprained ankle and has yet to return.

The Steelers coaches, with little choice, turned to Moore and he helped them win not one, not two, but three games. His latest came in spectacular fashion when he ran 20 times for 120 yards, caught five passes and scored three touchdowns in a 38-10 victory at Cincinnati Sunday.

To put it in perspective, Parker scored two touchdowns the entire 2007 season and it took him 47 starts before he scored three in one game, in the opener this season.

Let there be no doubt, when Parker fully heals he will return to start, perhaps Sunday against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. But Moore has added one big punch to the Steelers' offense and has guaranteed himself a prominent spot even when Parker returns.

"He's become the locker-room favorite and we make no bones about why we feel the way we do about each other," Tomlin said after presenting Moore with a game ball Sunday. "It's based on deeds. This guy is delivering time and time again with his legs, with his hands. He's just doing a nice job. He's a pro; he prepares himself. He's doing a nice job for us."

The Steelers likely would have lost at least two of their past three games without him. Moore caught three passes against Baltimore -- one for 24 yards on third down to keep the Steelers' winning drive going, and a little later another on third down for 7 yards to put Jeff Reed in position to kick a 46-yard field goal for a 23-20 victory.

Moore made his first start for them and ran 17 times for 99 yards in a 26-21 victory in Jacksonville. Sunday, he virtually played every down as the starting halfback and third-down back until Gary Russell mopped up late with the game well in hand.

Moore has 238 yards rushing and a 5.2-yard average with 11 receptions, all but one carry for 6 yards over the past three games.

"In this league, it is one of those things that is tremendous to be able to run the football, pass the football, have halfbacks catching the ball out of the backfield and also have wide receivers with the ball in their hands on reverses and screens," Moore said. "What it boils down to is having a lot of guys on your team that can make plays and are hungry to make plays and want the ball in their hands."

That describes him perfectly, and it's not as if he never performed. At 5 feet 11, 209 pounds, Moore, 26, weighs the same as Parker and stands an inch taller. He topped 100 yards rushing four times with the Vikings, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2004, after he became only the second player in NCAA history to rush for 4,000 yards and have 2,000 yards receiving, at Tulane.

"Willie Parker goes down, Mendenhall is out for the year, and he steps in and does everything we asked him to do," Hines Ward said. "He's run the ball well, and that's all you can ask of the guy. When guys go down, other guys need to step up, and that's exactly what he's done for us."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08295/921515-66.stm
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

Moore needs to be the starter until proven otherwise. Work Parker back in gingerly, and save his legs for down the stretch.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

I hope Moore isn't regulated to the bench. He's been such a tremendous asset for the Steelers.

Line him up as a second reciever out of the back field on passing plays.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

I agree that you keep WP on the bench until fully healthy, no need to rush him back too soon, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Moore has one good game(Jax) and then another against the Bunglers. Every teams backup has a big day against Cincy.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

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I agree that you keep WP on the bench until fully healthy, no need to rush him back too soon, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Moore has one good game(Jax) and then another against the Bunglers. Every teams backup has a big day against Cincy.
And comes out to be total clutch against the Ravens. Not saying your points aren't valid, but at this point he pretty much couldn't do better. I agree WP is still the better back, but Moore can come in without changing our game plan (whether that's a good or bad thing) and freshen him up, and be what is, in my eyes, the third best receiving HB in the league when it comes to hands and vision (behind Westbrook and Bush, of course).
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

When FWP is healthy, he will be the starter. At least this gave them a reason to give MeMo the ball and now have confidence in getting it to him more.

Moore also had a great pickup on Odom when he swam inside of Starks on a pass play. Moore stoned him and allowed Ben to get the pass away.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

Good atricle Mewelde is looking good at the mo and definately dont want to see him being pushed back onto the bench
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

I love Willie but damn MM can really find holes - the guy just keeps those legs moving and where Wiliie might get flattened, MM seems to work a few more yards out of it - he's very creative. Nothing against WIliie -his strength is obviously quickness but I feel like MM has earned the right to play.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

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Originally Posted by Blitzburgh_Fever View Post
And comes out to be total clutch against the Ravens. Not saying your points aren't valid, but at this point he pretty much couldn't do better. I agree WP is still the better back, but Moore can come in without changing our game plan (whether that's a good or bad thing) and freshen him up, and be what is, in my eyes, the third best receiving HB in the league when it comes to hands and vision (behind Westbrook and Bush, of course).
I knew when we got him he was a steal. Thank god we had him when the others went down. Or we would be losing with Najeh and Russell. BTW, he IS the #1 receiving back in the league right now because Westbrook and Bush are both hurt.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Moore still attractive as Parker returns

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Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
When FWP is healthy, he will be the starter. At least this gave them a reason to give MeMo the ball and now have confidence in getting it to him more.
In that case, I'm hoping for one of those nagging injuries that isn't serious, but keeps Parker just iffy enough to be second-string for the rest of the year. Moore has shown he can do everything Willie can, but without the blatant holes in his game.

Can he be consistent enough to do it over 10 more games? Who cares? Willie can't be that consistent either. If Moore is playing like this, keep him the f*ck in there until he gives you a reason not to.
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