View Full Version : Parker still getting Steelers’ tough yards on the ground

09-18-2007, 02:15 PM

By ALAN ROBINSON The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Willie Parker must be wondering what’s happened to the new system that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was supposed to bring to the Pittsburgh Steelers this season.

With Parker following up his 1,494-yard season of a year ago with 235 yards in two games, this must feel much like that same old predictable Steelers offense to one of the AFC’s top offensive players.

Maybe there are more four wide receiver sets this season, more alignments with three tight ends, yet Parker is still getting the tough yards — the yards that are putting the Steelers (2-0) in the lead and keeping them there.

‘‘I felt like this was a big game for me,’’ Parker said after running for 126 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh beat Buffalo 26-3 on Sunday. ‘‘I wasn’t satisfied at all (with the opener).’’

In that game, Parker gained 109 yards in a 34-7 rout of Cleveland, but he was disappointed that he didn’t gain a lot more yardage. He tripped once with an open field in front of him and fumbled another time.

Against Buffalo, Parker’s running helped the Steelers control the ball as they built a 12-0 lead on four Jeff Reed field goals in the first half, and he ran for a score in the second half.

‘‘Willie opens it up for us when he has 100-yard games,’’ wide receiver Nate Washington said. ‘‘Teams have to try to stack the box (to slow Parker), but when we’re making plays as receivers they have to respect us, so they can’t stack the box anymore.’’

Coach Mike Tomlin agreed that it’s unusual to push a player who is coming off a 100-yard game, yet that is exactly what the coaching staff did last week with Parker.

‘‘We challenged him a little bit,’’ Tomlin said. ‘‘He challenged himself to bounce back because he ran for 100 yards last week but he wasn’t pleased with his performance. He came back this week and read blocks and had nice (running) tracks and did a good job of running the ball and taking care of it.’’

Wasn’t it only a couple of years ago that the Steelers were worrying where NFL No. 5 career rusher Jerome Bettis’ replacement would come from?

Parker cost the Steelers almost nothing as a undrafted rookie free agent from North Carolina in 2004. Since then, he has had two 1,000-yard seasons and helped them win a Super Bowl with a 75-yard touchdown run against Seattle in February 2006.

Parker now has three consecutive 100-yard games dating to last season and five in his last six games. He ran for 753 yards in those six games, an average of nearly 126 yards, despite being held to 29 yards against Baltimore on Dec. 24.

Through two games this season, the Steelers are averaging 195 yards per game rushing.

‘‘But I’m not satisfied,’’ Parker said. ‘‘I can’t say I’m satisfied.’’

An example?

Parker said he should have scored on a second-down play from the Bills’ 1-yard line in the third quarter. On the next play, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second touchdown pass in as many games to rookie tight end Matt Spaeth.

Parker, sixth in the league in rushing a season ago, is currently third — 32 yards behind leader Travis Henry of Denver. He has 3,117 yards in his career despite having started for only two-plus seasons and already ranks 10th in Steelers career rushing.

Pretty good for a little guy! (comparitively speaking against the Bus' size of course lol).

Look at LT--he's supposed to be so great, but he's not racking up the yards against good defenses, so we certainly can't expect that of Willie when we come up against good defenses either.

I love what Willie brings to this team--he's a definite threat everytime he steps foot on that field.

09-18-2007, 02:18 PM
He has looked great this season. I hope he keeps it up!

09-18-2007, 02:48 PM
Parker got that big extension and the team believes in him to be the man for us in the running game. He's the one that we need to have healthy and productive every week because he's the best we have at RB right now. I have faith in him and seeing him play better and have that "never satisfied" attitude is a big plus !

09-18-2007, 02:49 PM
assuming Parker can stay a Steeler and remain healthy he could go down as one of the greatest Steeler running backs to every play... It's amazing though when you think of all the great ones there have been, it's just they've always had someone compliment them that took some of their carries away, where Parker is pretty much the main guy unless it's late and the game is out of reach!

black an gold 4 life
09-18-2007, 07:46 PM
fast willie is da man he just needs 2 stop FUMBLING SO MUCH he protected the ball last sunday so hopefully we can move on i think if pittburgh uses him right he will get some catches against teams he cannot run against.

09-18-2007, 08:42 PM
As the OL goes, so will Willie. The line is really starting to get better with each passing week and that means that the holes are opening up better and Willie has the chance to rack up the yards. I like the way Davenport is playing for us too, he's running a lot harder than he did last year and so far he's a nice compliment to Parker.