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  1. #1
    Chairman of the Board Iron City South's Avatar
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    Offensive Line Finally Comes Clean ...

    I've contended from the very begining that Willie Parker is a square peg in a round hole and isn't an every down back, nor is he a "Smashmouth Steeler Football" style of runner that has always been a staple of our franchise. He's a mere "change of pace" back that should compliment the "big bruiser" who can actually hit the correct hole and "break a tackle" ...

    WOW, what a novel concept ... a running back who can run inside and break tackles ..... AMAZING!

    and now our OL finally confirms my position .... I want EVERY ONE OF YOU who scoffed at my position as "hog wash" to read carefully what is being said here ... because what they're saying is "We want a big back that is decisive and hits the holes with AUTHORITY and can actually break a 2nd level tackle"

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_544023.html


    With Parker out, Steelers don't panic
    By John Harris
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Saturday, December 22, 2007


    ST. LOUIS -- Steelers guard Kendall Simmons said the performance of Najeh Davenport in Thursday's win against the Rams evoked memories of another big back who did most of his damage running inside.
    "It kind of reminded me of the old days of just running straight ahead and pounding on people," Simmons said after Davenport rushed for 123 yards as an emergency replacement for Willie Parker.

    Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was a powerful inside runner. Davenport isn't in Bettis' class as a between-the-tackles thumper, but he's the next best thing for a team that has no choice but to make him its new feature back.

    "That's what we're going to have to do from here on out," Simmons said.

    Coach Mike Tomlin was pleased with how the Steelers remained true to their game plan of establishing the run. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians called Davenport's number a season-high 24 times after Parker suffered a broken right leg on his first carry.

    "We didn't change our personality," Tomlin said.

    All told, the Steelers called 37 running plays for 166 yards.

    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempted only 20 passes, completing 16 for 261 yards, three touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

    "B.A. called a great game. We were loving those inside runs," center Sean Mahan said. "We like the big guys pounding it up in there, running real hard. It inspires us to block harder."

    Tomlin believes that Davenport, rookie fullback Carey Davis and rookie Gary Russell, who was inactive for the game, have the ability to push the pile and keep the Steelers' ground game respectable.

    "We pride ourselves in playing our football and knowing that guys are capable of stepping in," Tomlin said. "The answer is inside our building. Some weren't even suited up tonight. We'll get them ready."

    Arians agreed that the Steelers have workable options at running back.

    "The first two guys (Davenport and Davis) are more than capable," Arians said. "Gary Russell is a young kid that we're excited about. He's going to get his opportunity."

    Davenport was Mr. Excitement against St. Louis. He ran inside and outside, scored a touchdown and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 44 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown in which he ran through an opponent's tackle and scored easily.

    With only 71 carries entering the St. Louis game, Davenport has fresh legs for the Steelers' stretch run.

    "I'm a big back with a lot of speed," Davenport said. "Whatever B.A. calls, we've just got to make it work."

    Simmons said the Steelers will miss Parker's ability to get outside and turn the corner.

    "It definitely takes that element of speed away from our offense," Simmons said. "Najeh's got the speed to get outside, but he does a great job of breaking tackles."

    Davenport broke off runs of 18, 16, 14 and 10 yards against the Rams. He didn't come out of the game on third down as Parker did, remaining in the game plan as a legitimate receiving threat. He also scored on a 1-yard run, retaining the same role he held when Parker was healthy as the team's goal-line specialist.

    "It's been drilled in us that we've got a good, solid locker room and don't really need to go outside (for help)," Davenport said. "If somebody goes down, somebody else steps up."

  2. #2
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    As much as we all love Willie, your right, he doesn't fit with our OL. No matter how bad the OL sucks, especially in pass protection, the OL is built to open some kind of a hole that only a big back can get through. A speed back with no vision won't get it done but a big back with vision can get it done. I can't wait to see Russell in on there, this is his chance to show us something.


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  3. #3
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    Yes, I was a little disappointed when after the game Adam Schefler started talking about the Steelers going out and resigning Verron Haynes. If my memory serves me correctly, didn't Gary Russell beat out Haynes for the roster spot?

    Play Gary Russell!

    Why must the Steelers always be so afraid of playing rookies? If Russell beat out Haynes for the roster spot he should be next in line to back up Dookie at HB. Haynes should be on the practice squad.
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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron City South
    I want EVERY ONE OF YOU who scoffed at my position as "hog wash"
    That's because it is hog wash

    Dude, that article and what the players said does not in any way make Willie Parker look bad or suggest we should stop using him as the primary back, stop reading into stuff to fit your point of view.

    Any offensive lineman in the league will tell you they like having a RB who will pound it up the middle and break tackles, that's a given but do you think that makes Tomlinson or Peterson any less effective? Of course not. The offensive line has to block for whoever is back there plain and simple and I hardly think Tomlin would read any more into that article any more than I did.

    Najeh will do well, we all know he has it in him. His style is different may be easier to block for than a Willie Parker is but that doesn't mean you get rid of Willie just because. If the OL can't block for a back like Willie, LT, or Peterson then get them the hell out and get guys who can block because you can't base your whole team on guys that are 1 dimensional. I'm all for Russel getting some reps and seeing what this kid can do as well; I mean after all we signed him for a reason right so why not get him some reps now and see if delivers. You can't have too many good RB's on a roster so the more the better because you never know when they'll need to step up.

    Parker can do the job, he's done it for us since he got here but he's still learning too, he's young and has as much to learn as anyone else about having vision, finding the right holes, etc. Our new offense isn't a pound it out offense anymore and I think people need to finally start realizing that. We aren't 3 yds and a cloud of dust no matter how much you want us to be. We're a pass first offense that sets up the run off that. Sure Tomlin still wants to run and stop the run but the way we approach the running game is different now. We'll always run and you have to be able to do that to survive in this league but considering the leading RB's in the NFL in recent years this whole "pound it, brusing" type of back mentality is not what's getting teams TD's and winning games anymore like it used to. We aren't Franco, Jim Brown, or Christian Okoye any more in the NFL. It's all about more versative RB's like LT, Peterson, Parker, McGahee, etc.
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 12-22-2007 at 11:54 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    That's because it is hog wash

    Dude, that article and what the players said does not in any way make Willie Parker look bad or suggest we should stop using him as the primary back, stop reading into stuff to fit your point of view.

    Najeh will do well, we all know he has it in him. His style is different may be easier to block for than a Willie Parker is but that doesn't mean you get rid of Willie just because. If the OL can't block for a back like Willie, LT, or Peterson then get them the hell out and get guys who can block because you can't base your whole team on guys that are 1 dimensional.


    Well said TG.

    Our O-line can't open up holes for a small lightening fast back to run through, so the solution is to get a back that can do it on his own and make his own holes instead of addressing the fact that this O-line sucks.

    Imagine a game where O-lineman did their jobs and cleared running lanes for Willie to run up into. My honest opinion is that too many teams have bought off on the prototype O-lineman needing to be 320-350 lbs and now what we have is a bunch of fat guys who only move fast when a buffet line is in sight. These guys look fat, tired and slow. On every single play one of these guys completely misses their blocking assignment because they aren't quick enough or agile enough to get there. The whole line needs retooled and I would love to see our team move back to smaller, quicker and stronger O-lineman. Back in the 70's the O-line featuring Webster, Clack, Kolb and company used to boast that they were all in the 500+ benchpress club. The Steelers were famous for their trap plays with the pulling guards leading the way through the holes. Now these guys aren't fast enough to get down the line and lead Willie through the hole. And if they can't do the straight ahead block the man in front of you plays how could we possibly expect them to run down the line and block someone at the point of attack? The Whole line needs retooled and the whining because they can't hold a block long enough for Willie so they want a back who breaks tackles to distract from the fact they can't block is just pitiful if you asked me.
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_082009/home.parcoltop11.35513.ImageFile.jpg

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Ok.....Mahan and his quote "a big back inspires to block harder" is total crap.....You're in the NFL you should inspire to block harder every play no matter what....

    As for Gary Russell, the kid was a stud and a bad *** at Minnesota....I watched him play many times when he was in college....So I'm excited to see what he can do...**** on Verron Haynes....He would have been hurt if he did resign....Haynes was always hurt.......

    Another thing I think these fresh legs of Davenport is going to help this running game....I do think Willie was starting to wear down.....He still had 8 100 yard games this year and he still should be the starter at RB for this team down the road....But I would like to see other backs get more carries in the season....That would help Willie a ton....

  7. #7
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    The NFL has evolved over the years the lineman with it. Look at the Broncos offensive line for so many years with backs like Terrel Davis for example. Denver has never had a HUGE offensive line by any means and infact they generally have one of the smallest lines in the league every year. Shanahan knows how to draft and groom offensive lineman to be good, technical, blockers. Now granted Denver does do that border line chop block stuff which I don't agree with but the point is they can block for anybody because they are skilled and know what the hell they are doing unlike our guys who can't seem to get on the same page to save their lives. If we had an OL that did it's job even half the time Willie would have the potential to be a 2000 yd back.

    Granted he's still got things to learn but no matter whether you are talking about a QB, RB, or WR, everything on the team starts and ends with the OL.

  8. #8
    Living Legend Steelersfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGold4vr View Post


    Well said TG.

    Our O-line can't open up holes for a small lightening fast back to run through, so the solution is to get a back that can do it on his own and make his own holes instead of addressing the fact that this O-line sucks.

    Imagine a game where O-lineman did their jobs and cleared running lanes for Willie to run up into. My honest opinion is that too many teams have bought off on the prototype O-lineman needing to be 320-350 lbs and now what we have is a bunch of fat guys who only move fast when a buffet line is in sight. These guys look fat, tired and slow. On every single play one of these guys completely misses their blocking assignment because they aren't quick enough or agile enough to get there. The whole line needs retooled and I would love to see our team move back to smaller, quicker and stronger O-lineman. Back in the 70's the O-line featuring Webster, Clack, Kolb and company used to boast that they were all in the 500+ benchpress club. The Steelers were famous for their trap plays with the pulling guards leading the way through the holes. Now these guys aren't fast enough to get down the line and lead Willie through the hole. And if they can't do the straight ahead block the man in front of you plays how could we possibly expect them to run down the line and block someone at the point of attack? The Whole line needs retooled and the whining because they can't hold a block long enough for Willie so they want a back who breaks tackles to distract from the fact they can't block is just pitiful if you asked me.

    You can say what you want but I want a bigger back because it helps us control games. Willie can get all the yards in the world and it will always be in big chunks. 1, -2, 1, 30......that doesn't help your offense or defense. And who the hell wouldn't want a RB that breaks tackles????? Willie can't break them that's for sure.

  9. #9
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Sure he can IMO , he's gotten a lot better at running inside the tackles. Now is he ever going to be a Bettis type back that carries 4 guys with him, probably not and that's where you want a compliment back like the Chargers have for LT. Willie can get the job done for us but like BG32 said we need to have some help for him so he doesn't wear down and so we have a change of pace guy who can spell him and get that tough 4th and 1 at the goal line when the defense is keying on the style of Willie instead of the pure power. Having said that I still think Willie is the starter but Tomlin needs to offset his reps to keep him fresh.

  10. #10
    Living Legend Steelersfan's Avatar
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    I'm sure he will stay the starter also but I don't know why everyone looks past the fact that Parker is so one dimensional? He can run with speed and that's it. He doesn't see the field well, doesn't catch well, doesn't break tackles (imo), doesn't even make people miss very often with his speed (which we should see more of!). He is above average when he runs to the outside but below average on everything else.
    Again, I'm not hating on Willie. I like him but just not the way we use him.

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