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10-16-2009, 01:36 AM
Steelers notes: Starting running back undecided
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By: Mike Bires -
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... cided.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2009/october/15/steelers-notes-starting-running-back-undecided.html)
Thursday October 15, 2009 07:57 PM

PITTSBURGH — Maybe the Steelers really haven’t decided. Maybe they don’t want to tip their hand to the Cleveland Browns. But they won't say who will start at running back Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said it will likely be a game-time decision.

At practice Thursday, Willie Parker took most of the snaps with the first-team offense. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll start in the 115th playing of the Turnpike Rivalry.

Parker had a busy practice because Rashard Mendenhall was home in bed with the flu.

So maybe Mendenhall will get his third straight. Or maybe Parker will start again now that his turf toe injury has healed to the point where he can play again.

“I don’t know how they’re going to do it,” said Parker, who hasn’t played since the Sept. 27 loss in Cincinnati. “Whatever Coach (Mike Tomlin) decides.”

Regardless of who starts at running back, the Steelers should be able to run the ball effectively. The Browns rank last in the NFL in rushing defense (170.4 yards per game).


Steelers fans and even the media have been prone to criticize Arians for his playing calling the past three years. But don’t include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger among the Arians bashers.

“I’m blessed to have him,” Roethlisberger said. “We work well together."

Arians came to Pittsburgh in 2004 as Bill Cowher’s wide receiver coach. When Cowher resigned after the ’06 season and the Steelers hired Tomlin, Arians stayed on and was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In 2007, Roethlisberger set franchise single-season records with 32 TD passes and a 104.1 passer rating. Last year, Roethlisberger played on the winning Super Bowl team for the second time.

This year, Roethlisberger ranks second in the NFL with 1,470 passing yards and first with a 73.8 completion percentage.

“I don’t think (Bruce) views his role or his job as telling me what to do," Roethlisberger said. “We both look at each other in terms of helping each other. He’s made me a lot better quarterback.”


Tomlin is not ready to give up on wide receiver Limas Sweed, who dropped another pass in last Sunday’s win in Detroit.

After Sweed dropped what should have been a 34-yard touchdown pass in Cincinnati, he was demoted a week later. He didn’t dress for the next game against San Diego.

Sweed was back in uniform in Detroit. But Tomlin isn’t sure if Sweed or sure-handed Shaun McDonald will sit up Sunday as the No. 4 receiver.

“Shaun McDonald is a veteran who is capable of potentially freeing himself up and getting open against people that are going to play in his face, Tomlin said. “We’re going to put together a formula that puts us in the best position to win, so we’re watching those two guys work this week and determine who gets the hat.

“It’s really going to be week-to-week as we proceed with those two from here on out. Last week, Limas provided us a little more assistance in special teams. He’s a bigger bodied guy. He’s a legitimate special teams player. He’s a wide receiver, he plays tackle on kickoff return teams, he does some work on the punt-return team for us. That adds value to him when you determine who plays for you.

“We subscribe to the philosophy ‘the more that you can do.’ So those are options that we weigh as we prepare, and we’ll make those decisions as we get closer to game time.”

10-16-2009, 07:05 PM
Looks like Mendy will start and get the bulk of the carries, per PFT...

Mendenhall expected to start vs. Browns
Posted by Tom Curran on October 16, 2009 2:59 PM ET

Despite being laid low Thursday by "flu-like symptoms" running back Rashard Mendenhall is now expected to start and get the bulk of the carries for the Steelers Sunday against Cleveland.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mendenhall was back at practice Friday and looked "just as he did in the previous two games against the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions when he rushed for 242 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry."

Willie Parker, who's missed the last two games with turf toe, has practiced all week. So too has safety Troy Polamalu who's been out the past four games with that MCL injury.

:tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2

Discipline of Steel
10-16-2009, 08:22 PM
Esto es una breva buena! :tt1

10-16-2009, 09:57 PM
It was announced this evening that Mendenhall would get the start- PPG and NFLN.

Mister Pittsburgh
10-17-2009, 12:53 AM
So if Mendenhall is the starter, will he get 2 series to Parker's one?

10-17-2009, 01:00 AM
So if Mendenhall is the starter, will he get 2 series to Parker's one?

Sounds like a reasonable split to me. 60% of the carries to Mendenhall, 30% of the carries to Parker, and 10% of the carries to Moore (who should also get a chance to catch a few balls out of the backfield in his role as the 3rd down and no huddle RB...of course, Rocket RushHard should also catch a few within the regular offense as well).

Mister Pittsburgh
10-17-2009, 01:19 AM
Yeah I agree man. I think Mendenhall gives us the ability that if we catch a team off guard loading up to stop the run, then go no huddle against their big guys.