View Full Version : Davenport hopes to play sizeable role

09-12-2006, 12:36 AM

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Najeh Davenport, as halfbacks go, is as big as a bus, and that is a role the Steelers would like him to fill.

They won't ask him to run for 10,571 yards over the next decade, or have his own television show and become one of the most popular players in team history. They would settle for some production at the goal line and some relief carries in the second half for starter Willie Parker.

They also would not mind if his last game is played in his hometown, just the way it was for Jerome Bettis in February. Davenport grew up in South Florida, home of Super Bowl XLI.

"I think they brought me in to exemplify some of the things they've been missing that the Bus brought," said Davenport, who is 6 feet 1 and weighs 247 pounds before lunch.

The Steelers thought they had that in Duce Staley, one reason they made no moves to fill the spot of the retired Bettis. But when the coaches saw Staley in training camp display little of the leg pop he had two years ago, a mini-panic set in.

The Steelers traded for undrafted rookie halfback Patrick Cobbs Sept. 1 from New England, then cut him a week later, which means they owe nothing to the Patriots because of the conditions of the deal.

The Steelers on Friday signed Davenport, who came to town Thursday, after his agent also fielded calls from the Dolphins and Cowboys. A big, hard-running back, Green Bay released him last week, believing his history of injuries would continue because of his upright style of running that makes for an easy target. Coincidentally, the Packers kept on their roster halfback Noah Herron, who was drafted by the Steelers last year and put on their practice squad.

"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to come to a great facility, a great organization," Davenport said. "You have a big back like I am. They've been known for their big backs the last five, 10 years."

And more. The Steelers ran more often than any other team each of the past two seasons.

"I have the jitters, man," Davenport said. "This is what I do."

Davenport could dress for the Steelers' game Monday night in Jacksonville.

"That's the plan," he said. "I came and met with them this morning and probably will meet tomorrow and go from there. I have a quick grasp of stuff."

Sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders and has something to prove. I hope he does well for us. If he can hold his own and play his role then I'll be happy.

09-12-2006, 12:38 AM
I'm excited to see what he can add to our team. Sounds like he is happy to be in the Burgh.

09-12-2006, 12:41 AM
"The Steelers traded for undrafted rookie halfback Patrick Cobbs Sept. 1 from New England, then cut him a week later, which means they owe nothing to the Patriots because of the conditions of the deal."

To me, this is the best part of the article. If the Pats had still gotten something out of the Cobbs trade, and the Steelers got nothing (since they released him) I would be really pissed. But since releasing him means we don't lose anything, I'm happy. I think Najeh can be a decent contributor to the Steelers offense, but I'm still wondering whether he will take the short yardage role, of if Duce or Verron might still get it.

09-12-2006, 12:43 AM
see HoS, you were mad for nothing....we lost nothing in the cobbs trade lol.......i hope he plays monday too....i know willie can carry the load but i don't want him too, i want him to be with us for awhile

09-12-2006, 12:43 AM
He sounds like a great pickup at the moment. I hope he has a chip on his shoulder an does well for us.

09-12-2006, 12:51 AM
I'd look for Davenport to come in on goal line situations and short yardage this next game and see what he can do for us. If he starts pounding and carrying tacklers with him and showing he's got game he's liable to pick up more and more work quicker than maybe we might think.

09-12-2006, 12:52 AM
I'm sure they will have a few plays for him to see what he can do. If he does well they will keep adding more each week.

09-12-2006, 09:11 AM
I'm glad that we picked up Davenport but I don't think we need to find a player to try and fill Bettis' shoes. We have gotten so used to Bettis bailing us out in short yardage and goaline that we forget the fact Bettis did not play with the other 31 teams and they were capable of converting the short and goaline yards also.
It's know the "After Bettis ERa", of Steeler football and it's time for our playbook to change and fit with the players that we have.
When Burress went to the Giants the topic was that we need to find another 10' tall WR to fill his shoes or we wont have a passing attack and the end result was a trip to the Superbowl.
Bettis is retired and it's time for our we need a big back topic to retire with him.

House of Steel
09-12-2006, 09:40 AM
Amen, Sal. Koopa, I know I thought we was trapped to give NE a 7th Rounder pick for that Cobbs deal, but lucky for us, it was a conditional pick. I agree with Sal, we have to drop that Big Back Title and lay back on the Bettis concept. I think Najeh is going to do wonders for us. In the goalline and 3rd down situations, he will bring a lot to the table. I like the pickup we did. I think we might have ourselves the pieces to settle this dispute once and for all. I am not even worried about the offense, we are loaded and always find ways to win.

09-12-2006, 11:49 AM
Steelersfan87 took the words right out of mouth! I had actually copied the exact same line because that is good news considering what the Steelers can do with draft picks, now it seems to be what the Steelers can do with players who were undrafted!

I hope Najeh can come and pick up where the Bus left off with his most recent role with the Steelers. He did have some character issues coming in, but he does get to start with a clean slate now!

09-12-2006, 12:05 PM
I'd like the steelers to be more versatile on 3rd down and short. They showed they can still convert them without having a large man run right down the middle. They should mix up their 3rd and short strategies. Sometimes pound em with a big guy.. sometimes sneak willie up the middle... sometimes pitch to him and run him outside and beat a slower guy to the 1st down line.. sometimes a screen pass.. sometimes put both willie and a big back in and not give a clue to the defense who is going to run the ball: if either!