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AngryAsian
11-01-2008, 03:11 AM
Steelers: Willie Parker insists he's ready to return
Saturday, November 01, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Willie Parker, shown here being hit by Eagles line backer Stewart Bradley earlier in the season, hopes to be back on the field Monday.

The smile on Willie Parker's face, the one Bruce Arians said he noticed on the practice field the other day, is still there, an indication that, after going through full practices for three consecutive days, the two-time Pro Bowl running back might be ready to return.

Still, it is difficult to tell if the smile is an outward indicator of relief that Parker's sprained left knee is finally feeling well enough for him to return after missing four games; or, rather, if it is the forced expression of a man trying to put on a happy face to counter the frustration that has mounted with each passing week.

"I'm smiling, but I'm a little frustrated," Parker said. "I like where we're going right now, but I'll still assess each day and take it day by day and know where we are."

It has been an agonizing five weeks for Parker, and not just because of the discomfort that accompanies a sprained medial collateral ligament in the knee. He has been out much longer than he anticipated, even with an open week, and attempts to return to the lineup each of the past two weeks have been aborted by unexpected tweaks and aggravations to his injury.

But there he was yesterday, taking part in another full practice and looking as if he would return to the starting lineup Monday night against the Washington Redskins, barring another unexpected setback. And pending the final approval of coach Mike Tomlin, he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/200809/20080922pd_steelers0921c_500.jpg

"I didn't think I would be out this long when it first happened," Parker said. "I didn't think so, but that's just me. I never have negative thoughts. If I thought I'd be out five to six weeks, I would have considered that being negative."

That, in part, is why it is difficult to determine if Parker's happy face is real or manufactured. He is trying to be positive about being healthy enough to play, but, at the same time, trying not to worry if his knee can respond the way he is accustomed to running.

That was one of the reasons Parker shut down his comeback last week after going through a full practice on Wednesday: He was not confident his knee would respond to his command.

But it is one of the reasons, he said, he hasn't missed a practice this week.

"You know you can feel it when you go out there and try to make something happen and it's not happening the way you want it," Parker said. "Your body's not cooperating. You can get pretty down on yourself and discouraged. My body is trying to respond to the way I'm thinking when I'm making cuts and doing what I do on the field.

"It's trusting yourself, believing that my legs can do what my mind is thinking. That's it, basically."

Without Parker, Mewelde Moore has been more than a pleasant surprise, averaging 101 yards rushing and scoring four touchdowns in three starts. What's more, he has even shown some of Parker's explosiveness, racking up 10 runs of 10 yards or longer in that time, including a 32-yard touchdown run in the 21-14 loss to the New York Giants.

"Between the tackles, they each have a very similar ability to jump cut, set a guy up and burst through the hole," Arians said. "Mewelde doesn't quite have Willie's giddy-up-and-go, when there's a crack, to hit it and take it the distance. But both have great vision. I like guys who can run between the tight ends."

Problem is, the injury to Parker and the season-ending injury to Rashard Mendenhall has chiseled into the team's depth, limiting the amount of production being generated at the position. While Moore has flourished in three games, backups Gary Russell and Najeh Davenport have combined for 36 yards on 12 carries the past two games.

Having Parker back will give the Steelers something for which they were hoping at the start of the year when they drafted Mendenhall with the 23rd overall pick -- a 1-2 punch at running back.

"He's not ready to go out and play 50 plays," Arians said of Parker. "He thinks he is, which is a real good sign, and I hope he feels that way. We just got to see how it goes and how it plays out. I'm sure once the adrenaline jumps in there it will be worse. But they both give us a nice 1-2 punch right now."

Of course, Parker would like to return against the Redskins (6-2) for another reason: It's Monday Night Football and the opposing running back is Clinton Portis, who leads the NFL in rushing with 944 yards and nine runs of 20 yards or longer.

"Do I like to get on that stage? Always," Parker said. "Every back I face I compare and contrast me against him. I know it's the Redskins against the Steelers, but in my mind it's Willie Parker against Clinton Portis."

He was smiling when he said that.
Monday's game

Game: Steelers (5-2) vs. Washington Redskins (5-2), 8:30 p.m.

Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.

TV: ESPN.

Shawn
11-01-2008, 03:18 AM
I suppose this is a good thing. Moore has been running well...but one more injury and we are in a world of hurt at RB.

Discipline of Steel
11-01-2008, 10:35 AM
I believe its good. MM has been stellar but he cant do it alone...for the entire season. I hope he will take more of a third down role and maybe, just maybe, we will be able to convert a few more of those third downs this week. We still have a glaring need for a bruiser ala Jerome Bettis. Im kind of jealous of the Ravens having Le'Ron McClain and still think we missed out by not drafting Michael Bush when we had our chance. Hopefully, Mendenhall will return and ease my concerns next year.

LasVegasGuy
11-01-2008, 08:02 PM
Great! Ineffective runner to go with our equally ineffective coach(es).

stlrz d
11-01-2008, 08:06 PM
Great news!

After three games he was averaging 4 ypc and had 3TDs.

With all the other injuries at other positions it's good to have depth at RB again. :Clap

LasVegasGuy
11-01-2008, 08:20 PM
Great news!

After three games he was averaging 4 ypc and had 3TDs.

With all the other injuries at other positions it's good to have depth at RB again. :Clap


Capt. Kool-aid speaks. Keep in mind his stats are against the Texans (21st against the run) and the Browns (24th against the Run). Then when it mattered against the Eagles (9th against the run) he was 13 for 20 yards.

FWP BLOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you took the time to put the kool-aid down you would see this.

Oviedo
11-03-2008, 04:01 PM
We really need the ability to block people.

proudpittsburgher
11-03-2008, 04:07 PM
Great news!

After three games he was averaging 4 ypc and had 3TDs.

With all the other injuries at other positions it's good to have depth at RB again. :Clap


Capt. Kool-aid speaks. Keep in mind his stats are against the Texans (21st against the run) and the Browns (24th against the Run). Then when it mattered against the Eagles (9th against the run) he was 13 for 20 yards.

FWP BLOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you took the time to put the kool-aid down you would see this.

And to think I defended your right to speak what you think. :roll: Maybe if you could sometimes acknowlege the fact that these are all opinions and neither of which is right or wrong, people would respect you more. No, you like to attack the person and act as if you could do a better job than any of the players and/or coaches. Very much suited for the Trib board, or even Crash's effort. You sound more like MSM every day.

stlrz d
11-04-2008, 01:47 AM
Willie was right!

Djfan
11-04-2008, 03:42 AM
Willie was right!

Good call D! I think it is safe to say that he stood behind his words.

stlrz d
11-04-2008, 09:55 AM
Willie was right!

Good call D! I think it is safe to say that he stood behind his words.

I liked what I saw...coming back from a knee injury and there was no hesitation in his game...and plenty of spin moves.

That is a sign he is completely healthy.

proudpittsburgher
11-04-2008, 10:17 AM
Great news!

After three games he was averaging 4 ypc and had 3TDs.

With all the other injuries at other positions it's good to have depth at RB again. :Clap


Capt. Kool-aid speaks. Keep in mind his stats are against the Texans (21st against the run) and the Browns (24th against the Run). Then when it mattered against the Eagles (9th against the run) he was 13 for 20 yards.

FWP BLOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you took the time to put the kool-aid down you would see this.


Just sayin. :lol:

Tell you what, we'll put the kool aid down when you relinquish the crack pipe you are smoking from.