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Old 10-03-2009, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Parker hopes versus Chargers

Steelers Notebook: Parker hopes versus Chargers
Saturday, October 03, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Steelers running back Willie Parker ran for a combined 261 yards in two games against the Chargers last season.

If Willie Parker could cross his toes for good luck, he would. Instead, he will keep his fingers crossed that he can play tomorrow night against the San Diego Chargers

Right now, the prognosis is not very good.

Parker, who had a combined 261 yards rushing against the Chargers in two games at Heinz Field last season, has not practiced all week because of his turf toe injury and is not expected to play.

However, Parker said after practice his injury is feeling better every day, and he will run for the coaching staff today to test his toe. He is listed as doubtful on the team's official injury report.

"I feel better every day, that's the thing," Parker said.

"The plan was I wasn't going to [practice yesterday], anyway. We'll see how things are [today]."

Parker injured his toe six days ago in the 23-20 loss in Cincinnati, when he rushed for 93 yards on 25 carries and also scored on a 27-yard pass. When a player doesn't practice all week, he rarely, if ever, plays in the game.

Parker said it helps that the game is on grass, not an artificial surface, which could aggravate the injury.

"It would probably hurt it more," he said. "I'd probably do something else to it."

Parker's injury means Rashard Mendenhall, who was punished for not knowing his plays and only performed with the special teams against the Bengals, will start against the Chargers.

It will be Mendenhall's first start since the fourth game of the 2008 season when he replaced an injured Parker against the Baltimore Ravens and had a season-ending shoulder injury on the first play of the second half.

"I feel good about it," Mendenhall said. "I had a good week this week. I'm looking forward to Sunday. I feel good."
Making and breaking up plays

Cornerback Ike Taylor had three big pass breakups on the final drive against the Bengals, and he will need some of that against Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson.

Jackson leads the Chargers with 16 catches, 317 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, he made a sensational one-handed catch for a 41-yard touchdown against Taylor in an AFC playoff game.

Taylor will likely be assigned to follow Jackson all over the field, as he did last season.
Rare penalty call

The Steelers did not like the two offensive pass interference calls against Hines Ward in last week's game against the Bengals, mainly because such calls are rarely made in the NFL.

But they were penalties.

Even offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said the officials made the right call -- that Ward was already downfield blocking before the pass was thrown to Heath Miller by Ben Roethlisberger.

"It's not like college where you can block downfield," Arians said. "You have to be within a yard [of the player in the NFL]. But if you pulled out 100 of those in the NFL, one's been called. It was illegal. We were downfield blocking when the ball was thrown. You can't argue with the call."
Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09276...#ixzz0SqhrwmIe
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