Fast Willie Perspective
I always thought Willie Parker received less credit than he deserved -- and when Mendenhall was drafted I remember people posting that the position would be "greatly" improved. Granted (on paper) Mendenhall certainly looks like he has/had all the tools -- Big guy, with some speed, and good hands.....but his production certainly hasn't been worth a 1st round pick -- and after reviewing the numbers I wonder if those same folks who thought Mendenhall would be a great improvement --- shouldn't either consider Mendenhall a bust or Parker much better than previously credited.
Willie Parker's last 5 seasons:
29 Total TD's
*Best rushing season - 1,494 yards
Rashard Mendenhall's last 5 seasons
3,480 Rushing Yards (he would need 1,712 yards to "equal" Parker)
660 Receiving yards
30 Total TD's
*Best rushing season - 1,273 yards.
Mendenhall is still a fairly young guy (26 next season) --- however how many people think they "haven't" seen enough, and that he still has plenty of potential?
I was never happy that people critisized Parker for being a "less-than" Running Back....he certainly wasn't going to be a Hall of Famer like Jerome, but compare him to our recent first rounder -- he looks pretty solid to me!
Parker ended up being what he was always thought of: A super fast back but lacking vision and fairly one-dimensional. But, that being said, I would agree that he was a better over all back than RM has ever proven to be. But also, I think RM had more seasons with really crap OL than did Willie. But, naaaawwwwww, that isn't that much of a factor. We have seen RM come back and make the OL look bad, because he never creates plays like Dwyer has proven to be capable of. RM makes the OL look worse than it is. For instance, there were at least two plays where JD ran into a wall, but bounced off and made big plays out of it even though it was originally well defensed by the Ravens. One was a TD rush the other a nice long run to the right. For whatever reason, RM just doesn't create plays like that. He will spin and then just fall down if there aren't obvious holes. JD makes something out of nothing. Not every play, of course. But at least he can do that a few times a game. RM never does this.
RM has never lived up to the billing. Regardless of the comparison with FWP, the flashes we saw from RM have been way too rare. We have seen him behind a sub par OL for years, but he still did not show enough when he did get an opening. He might just be shell-shocked, but it doesn't really matter now, he just never lived up.
I think the problem with RM and FWP is they always went down at first contact. Our offensive line isn't good enough to open big holes. RM and FWP were very good when they hit the second level but they just didn't hit that level often enough. Guys like Dwyer and Redman almost never go down at first contact. When they get to the second level they are still looking for guys to hit. Those types of runners work better with the line we have now.
FWP was an undrafted free agent, and hence, a tremendous value. He had his limitations and weaknesses, but he was a very good and important member of this team. After he lost a bit of speed due to injury, he became expendable.
RM was a first-round draft pick, so he had a lot higher expectations coming in. He did a pretty good job for a couple of years, but, especially the past couple of years, hasn't lived up to expectations. With other (cheaper) runners on the roster, who seem to run just as well as (or better than) RM behind the current OL, he has become expendable.
It's business, and it's life in the NFL, especially at the RB position.
I was a fan of RM at Illinois and I was very happy when we drafted him. Someone on the board (or maybe it was the Trib) bashed FWP so bad and trumped up RM so much I became less of a fan and even became a little skeptical of RM....
He fumbled a ton in preseason and earned the name fumblehall... then he tweeted a friend on the Ravens talking a little smack about how he would do in his first start. Ray Ray ended his season on the 2nd or 3rd carry and I think that damaged him mentally. I remember hearing how he was avoiding the team during rehab.
He ran better and had a great game vs the Bears a year or 2 later and then Tomlin benched him the next game. Obviously Tomlin soured on sweetness... and really, how good will you be with a name like sweetness? Is there more to the story? I know he liked to dance naked in the locker room. WTF was that about?
As far as FWP was concerned... the guy had ZERO vision.. but that was also a plus. There weren't too many lost yards because FWP couldn't move laterally... just lead and he followed... really fast too.
In the end I think RM just isn't that guy.... sometimes we miss and these days you can't take a chance on a RB early unless it's a Peterson or Barry Sanders type.
and really, how good will you be with a name like sweetness? Is there more to the story? I know he liked to dance naked in the locker room. WTF was that about?
Could just be my perception but I always felt as if Nate Washington got a ton more leeway when it came to criticism for mediocre play (which was most of the time) than FWP ever did. Nate was somehow a "great story" but Willie didn't get that love and I never understood it. I really liked him, espeically when he was ripping off a 75 yard TD run in the Super Bowl.
We kid around a lot on this board about using the term bust. I think it applies here given his draft round. Looking at the above comparision against an undrafted FA and now being beat out by a 6th round guy; it's hard not to use the term. He's 26 and I don't think anyone would think the team was hurt in any way if he walked at the end of the season.
Mendenhall blows. There are half a dozen equal backs that could be had in rounds 3 through 7 this year and a few that will be better than him.
[QUOTE=feltdizz;536258]I was a fan of RM at Illinois and I was very happy when we drafted him. Someone on the board (or maybe it was the Trib) bashed FWP so bad and trumped up RM so much I became less of a fan and even became a little skeptical of RM....[/QUOTE]
Glad to see I have that affect on you. ;) If we were opponents on the field I guess you could say I own you. I certainly rent a ton of space in your head, that is for sure.