Well this is definitly a sign of us drafting a RB this year. But what about Dookie,He never said anything about him. They must not be planing on bringing him back
Mike Tomlin doesn't have a permanent residence in Pittsburgh yet, he doesn't have a finalized plan in terms of when the team's minicamps will be yet, and he doesn't always have a good idea of which face belongs to which name yet.
But he does know already what he has in Willie Parker, and he also knows he needs to get him some help.
"Willie is a guy who is capable of succeeding in a lot of offensive schemes," said Tomlin. "Initially coming in, I had an impression of him as a perimeter runner, but the more tape I watch I see he's a guy who can hurt a defense in a variety of ways. I've developed a great deal of respect for what he's capable of doing as a ball carrier in all facets of the game."
That seems to be a common occurrence with most who watch Parker, first from afar and then in a more analytical manner. Because Parker has difference-making speed, and because he has used it to record 26 plays of 20-plus yards in only 43 career NFL games, that speed is a dominating force. But it's only after Parker is watched more closely, on a play-by-play and game-to-game basis, that his other skills as an NFL running back become apparent as well.
"The first time I saw Willie and saw how fast he was, I knew we had something special," said Dick Hoak, who retired in January after 45 seasons as a player and assistant coach for the Steelers. "He had something that you can't teach. You can't teach what Willie has."
Hoak heard the criticisms of Parker, about the things he allegedly could not do, but he shrugged them off then just as Tomlin is doing now.
"If you look at a lot of the backs now in the league, there aren't a lot of big ones," said Hoak. "He's just done a tremendous job and he's only going to get better. Willie has that ability to score from anywhere on the field. He's been great and he's going to get better. He's going to get better."
From Tomlin's perspective, what Parker needs is some help, not because he's necessarily lacking as a player but because the successful teams in 2006 showed it takes more than one quality running back to succeed against the kinds of defenses on the teams that advanced deep into the playoffs.
"We need one, we have some potential men identified, and it is important," said Tomlin about adding a complement to Parker for 2007 the way Jerome Bettis was in 2005.
"I was saying to someone the other day, when you look at the teams in the conference championship games, all of them had two backs. There were the two guys in New Orleans – Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister – the two guys in Chicago – Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones – the two guys in New England – Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney – and the two guys in Indianapolis – Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes.
"Each of the last four teams had two guys who are capable of being feature-caliber backs, and I think that's just part of today's NFL. If we're going to be in that mix, we need to do the same."
Because the Steelers had Bettis for a decade, and because Bettis finished his career as one of the top backs in NFL history, there never seemed to be a pressing need to add players at the position.
During Bettis' career here, the only marquee free agent running back signed was Duce Staley in 2004 when Bettis was said to be on the downside of his career, and the only players drafted were complementary types taken in the later rounds.
There were some mistakes made in this regard, such as the time the Steelers bypassed Michael Turner, who now is a fine complement to LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego, in favor of outside linebacker Nathanial Adibi in the 2004 NFL Draft. But there also was a lucky break, which just so happened to come in the same offseason when Parker was signed as an undrafted rookie.
Tomlin has made it clear that he believes in running the football, and he also took notice of how the NFL's final four teams handled the chore last season. In this simple equation, one plus one equals two, and so the Steelers can be expected to look into adding one to go along with Parker.
"Having the ability to be multiple and having the ability to attack defenses in different ways is important," said Tomlin. "You have to have the ability to have a change-of-pace offense to attack people in different ways. Frontal, or from the perimeter, it just gives defenses one more thing to work