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Thread: Parker embraces multiback rushing attack

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Parker embraces multiback rushing attack

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_504000.html
    By Scott Brown
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    The Steelers hired former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson to coach the position at which he once excelled. Willie Parker, their freshly minted Pro Bowl running back, further blurred the lines between fierce rivals when he befriended current Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer at the NFL's annual all-star game in Hawaii.

    "I always looked at them as our rival and our enemy," Parker said of the Bengals, "but to sit down and have a conversation with him and hang out with him, I thought that was cool."

    Parker is cool with something else that will be much more reassuring to Steelers fans: coach Mike Tomlin's intent to use more than one back to run the ball next season.

    Parker could be upset by such a change, considering he rushed for 1,494 yards last season and scored 13 touchdowns.


    But fitting for someone who plays a position that demands good vision, Parker sees the league-wide trend of teams using multiple backs to power their running game -- as well as the benefit of lightening the load for someone whose preferred playing weight is right around 210 pounds.

    "You can't really turn selfish," Parker said of the probability of his getting fewer than the 337 carries he had in 2006. "I've been with two backs basically my whole career except last year, really. We wanted two backs, but we never really got in that situation where they put a lot of confidence in the other back."

    Duce Staley never filled Jerome Bettis' role as the short-yardage complement to Parker, and Najeh Davenport didn't sign with the Steelers until September and spent much of the season getting acclimated with the offense.

    As a result, Parker got 72 percent of the Steelers' carries and almost 50 more than he had in his first two NFL seasons combined.

    He made the most of them, running up a rushing total that was exceeded only by LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson in the AFC.

    Parker joined the two backs at the Pro Bowl and got to know Tomlinson. He also took the opportunity to ask the reigning NFL MVP about playing the position at which Tomlinson is widely regarded the best in the league.

    "That's the only way you're going to get good: See what other guys are thinking when they're on the field," Parker said Saturday between the first of two minicamp practices at the Steelers' South Side facility.

    Parker outraced good awhile ago. Still, he hasn't entirely left behind the player that rushed for fewer than 200 yards as a senior at the University of North Carolina and had to break into the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

    Such humble beginnings still motivate him, while the specter of competition also will have Parker working with his personal trainer after minicamp, which concludes today.

    Tomlin said Davenport, who played for the Packers before the Steelers picked him up, could be that second back he is looking for to complement Parker.

    "He was part of a rotation in Green Bay when I first broke into the league down in Tampa. He was a guy we were always concerned about when Ahman Green wasn't in there," Tomlin said.

    Davenport re-signed with the team and should be much more comfortable in the offense next season. Parker said he also expects the Steelers to pick a running back in next week's NFL draft.

    If he welcomes the competition that is because no one pushes Parker harder than he does.

    "You've got one chance," Parker said, "and I'm going to make the best of it"

  2. #2
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    He'll still rush for 1,400 yards, I just wanna see him catch for a few more balls.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    He's still going to be the feature back, he'll be well over 1000 yds and hopefully have atleast 13-15 TD's for us as well. I'd love to see him get more but if he could manage atleast that many it would be a good balance for our offense.

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    BlitzburghNation's Avatar
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    I want him to correct his fumbling That's his only flaw !

    Don't get me wrong,I'm a huge Willie fan and i hope he has a great year for us

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    That's indeed his next step, holding onto the ball. His first 2 years in the league he's had a problem with coughing it up at the worst time so I expect him to be sleeping with a football and carrying it everywhere he goes

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    Parker will have another great year, having another back in there to spell him will only serve to keep his legs fresh. With that happening Fast Willie will be able to break more long TD runs late in the game, icing on the cake so to speak.


    If you don’t stand behind our troops.....Please feel free to stand in front of them!!!


    "Give me a 6 pack, half hour of rest and lets go play them again....We can beat them."
    --Jack Lambert

    "They say that when you're the champs, everybody will try to beat you. Well, I'm glad we're the champs, so bring 'em on, bring 'em all on. If we die, we ain't gonna die running. It's gonna be a fight."
    --Joe Greene

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    2nd String okiesteeler's Avatar
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    Fumbles killed us last year. Especially special teams fumbles

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    GO STEELERS BRICKTOWN BEAST's Avatar
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    I think another powerback will help Parker, he might get less carries but when Tony Hunt starts crush the defenders Parker can get more yards out of it. and he'll be more fresh fbefore he runs. But he does need to work on the fumbling but im sure that won't be much of a concern.

  9. #9
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I like the Bus and Ferrari combination we had when Jerome was here with Fast Willie. If we can get a back to be that run over and through you type of guy to spell Willie it's going to put our running game back at the top of the league again.

  10. #10
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    I'm not gonna lie....Tony Hunt is def on my draft wish list now. I hate PSU with a passion, but damn, the kid is a beast.

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