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Old 08-18-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game
Associated Press
http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/arti...l-and-run-game

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009 - 6:50 p.m. ET

LATROBE, Pa. -- Blame it on Willie Parker's sore knee or Rashard Mendenhall's nearly season-long injury absence. The reconfigured offensive line. Or maybe it was because the Pittsburgh Steelers played one of the toughest schedules of any Super Bowl winner.

Whatever the reason, or maybe it was a combination, the Steelers aren't accustomed to ranking ninth from the bottom in rushing. Or not having a 1,000-yard rusher after getting nine such seasons from their top running back since 1996.

Since the NFL merger in 1970, no team has run the ball nearly as well as the Steelers, and no one is even close. The Steelers' 83,907 yards rushing since then are easily the most, with No. 2 Dallas trailing them by more than 5,000 yards, according to Stats LLC. Pittsburgh's 20,280 rushing attempts also are the most.

Despite that unwavering commitment to the run, the Steelers were held to 1,690 yards last season, their fourth-lowest total since the merger and nearly 600 yards fewer than any of their previous five Super Bowl-winning teams gained. Even the 1978 and 1979 teams that were heavily pass-driven with Terry Bradshaw at quarterback ran for hundreds of more yards than last season's team did.

Of course, going against opponents such as the Ravens (twice), Cowboys, Giants, Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Chargers and Titans had much to do with the running game's slippage. So did the changes along the offensive line, where there were four different starters than in 2007.

Regardless, the Steelers don't plan on a repeat of the running game slowdown this season, no matter how much the offense revolves around quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"We're just going to do everything that we can and possibly do (to get back to running the ball well)," Mewelde Moore said Tuesday. "As running backs, we all carry a chip on our shoulder and we always want to do well and do our best."

Parker has a similar attitude. Despite a medial collateral ligament injury that occurred in the third game of the season and helped limit him to 791 yards, Parker is fourth among NFL rushers over the last four seasons with 4,803 yards. He has never gained fewer than 1,202 yards in a full season in which he wasn't hurt, yet the 28-year-old Parker is unsigned past this season.

Before his injury, Parker ran for 243 yards in the Steelers' first two games, and he came back to gain more than 100 yards three times even after he was hurt. Moore, signed to be a third-down back, helped out by averaging 90 yards during his four starts and gaining 588 yards, many of them when Parker was out.

Despite nursing their running game from week to week - first-round pick Mendenhall went down with a fractured shoulder in their fourth game - the Steelers not only went 12-4, they won their second Super Bowl in four seasons. And they did it with Roethlisberger throwing for 17 touchdowns, 15 fewer than his team-record 32 in the previous season.

"You know what, we need to improve as a total offense," Roethlisberger said. "We need to set our goals higher and be better. We can't just rely on our defense every single game to win for us. We're setting our sights and the bar high this year."

To get back to doing what they do best, the Steelers plan to give some of those carries Parker once made to Mendenhall, the only running back they've drafted in the first round in the last 20 years. Parker may be going into a contract year, but sharing the load appeals to a back who averaged more than 325 carries during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

"Most NFL teams are emerging into a two-back system, and I think it would be great if I don't get as many carries as I got two years ago (321)," Parker said. "A lot of backs don't like it (having their work load cut), but you've got to look at both sides of it. I think it will be a great deal."

It also may help that the schedule doesn't appear as challenging as a year ago - no NFC East or AFC South matchups this time - and the offensive line is more settled. The only likely change is at right guard, where Trai Essex is settling in ahead of Darnell Stapleton, who had knee surgery earlier this month.

Another surprise development is the progress made by non-drafted rookie running back Isaac Redman, who scored twice against Arizona last week on short-yardage plays. He has been so productive in camp, coach Mike Tomlin gave him all seven carries during a goal-line drill Sunday.

If Redman can keep scoring once he begins going exclusively against starters, the Steelers would have a short-yardage threat to go with a third-down back in Moore, who has been a reliable receiver out of the backfield.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

Our running game can't get no worse then it was last year. We have the players to have one of the best running games this year if we can stay healthy.
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

"You know what, we need to improve as a total offense," Roethlisberger said. "We need to set our goals higher and be better. We can't just rely on our defense every single game to win for us. We're setting our sights and the bar high this year."

Cool.. This is the best thing i've heard out of camp so far..

And he didnt say we were fine on offense.. we won a super bowl....
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

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And he didnt say we were fine on offense.. we won a super bowl....
He didn't call for Arians' firing over and over and over and over and over again either....
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

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He didn't call for Arians' firing over and over and over and over and over again either....
He cant fire his boss....

anyway its not arians... ben is fixing the problem...
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

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He cant fire his boss....

anyway its not arians... ben is fixing the problem...
If Ben wanted Arians gone, Arians would be very quickly shown the door.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

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If Ben wanted Arians gone, Arians would be very quickly shown the door.
Seriously..... Didnt Ben and him get in a big fight after ben said the offense runs alot better when he is running it and adds more no huddle....

Its cool, ben is going to fix the problem this year. i believe it, him and holmes and the rest of the crew are going to come out attacking this year....

they can smell #7
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers seek return to Super Bowl -- and run game

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
He didn't call for Arians' firing over and over and over and over and over again either....
point also made by ben ... us winning the super bowl isnt an excuse for a bad offense....

you dont need to bring up the BA guy to flank it, i didnt...
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