Tag Archives: Willie Parker

Willie Parker visiting the Redskins

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the former Pittsburgh Steelers tailback is scheduled to visit with the Washington Redskins on Monday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to not resign Willie Parker and letting him test the free agency market. Parker has struggled with injuries the past 3 seasons including a broken leg and turf toe injuries.

During the 2009-2010 season, Parker lost his starting RB position to up-and-comer Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers 1st round pick from Illinois.

Steelers Free Agency 2010

Now that the NFL is in the complete offseason, it's time to look at how the 9-7 Pittsburgh Steelers can improve their team.  In typical Steelers fashion, don't expect the Rooneys to make a big splash in free agency. Instead, they will operate as usual and build their team through the draft.

Although the NFL looks geared up to enter the 2010-2011 as an uncapped season due to the laboring agreement, the Rooneys, Kevin Colbert and the Steelers front office indicated that they will manage this season as if it were capped.

The following is a look at current Steelers players of interest for this offseason:

Willie Parker - Unrestricted free agent (UFA).  Parker is unlikely to get resigned unless he comes back very cheap.  Parker is looking for a starting role but isn't going to see that in Pittsburgh.

Deshea Townsend - The Steelers won't sign Townsend long-term but would like to bring him back for cheap.  Although, he's towards the end of his career, Townsend replaced William Gay late in the season.  Towsend provides depth and experience in the secondary.

Casey Hampton - Hampton must be the Steelers top offseason priority.  Although Hampton warned the Steelers not to use the franchise tag, the notion is that the Steelers are likey to tag Hampton regardless unless the two can agree on a fair 3 year deal.  The Steelers don't have a replacement for Hampton.  Chris Hoke is older than Hampton and is on the downside of his career.  It's doubtfut that Hoke can holdup for an entire season.

Josh Reed - Reed is very consistent at Heinz Field which is considered one of the most difficult stadiums in the NFL for kickers.  The Steelers would like to bring Reed back for a decent price despite his off the field troubles.  Reed does struggle with kickoffs which has consistently put special teams coverage in bad situations.

Ryan Clark - Another priority for the Steelers.  Clark is aging at 30 years old but is consistent and plays well with Troy Polamalu.  The downside is once Polamalu got injured, Ryan Clark was exposed and really struggled.  I see the Steelers signing Clark or Hampton but not both.  The Steelers could be looking to draft Clark's replacement in Texas' Earl Thomas or University of Southern California's (USC), Taylor Mays.

Willie Colon - Like it or not, the Steelers feel that Willie Colon is one of the better right tackles in the league.  He has been consistent and has played in every game the past 3 years.  Due to the labor agreement, Colon is setup to be a restricted free agent again and likey won't get a long-term offer until next offseason.

Tyrone Carter - The Steelers will most likely not offer the UFA, Tyrone Carter a contract.  Carter struggled in filling in for the injured Polamalu and his time is likely over in Pittsburgh.

More Steelers Draft and Free Agency (FA) information coming soon.... stay tuned!

Fantasy Focus: Steelers vs Browns

This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog.  Steelers face off against the 1-4 Cleveland

Heath Miller

Heath Miller

Browns today at 1pm at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.  The Steelers have the opportunity to win its 3rd straight game against a struggling Cleveland Browns team.  Last week, the Browns somehow pulled out a 6-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills which was one of the most painful games I had to watch in a long time.  Starting Browns quarterback, Derek Anderson went a miserable 2-17 in passing, but somehow the Browns were victorious.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a 28-20 win against the Detroit Lions.  The Steelers offense looked impressive again with Rashard Mendenhall averaging over 5 yards a carry and Ben Roethlisberger distributing the ball nicely to a wide range of his weapons including Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and rookie, Mike Wallace.

Purchase Pittsburgh Steelers Gear at the Planet Steelers Shop

Not so impressive was the Steelers defense.  Again, the defense allowed an inferior team to come back in the first quarter until a streak of sacks by LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison ended the game.  From the defensivie perspective, the good news is that all-pro safety, Troy Polamalu is returning to action for the first time since the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.  The bad news is standout defensive end, Aaron Smith, who is critical to the Steelers 3-4 is out for the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff.

And now for our Predictions:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger - Big Ben is off to one of his best starts in his already very successful career from a statistical perspective.  Roethlisberger is 1st in the league in completion percentage and second in total yards only behind Peyton Manning. Roethlisberger is being considered a league Most Valuable Player (MVP) by most and I expect his numbers to only get better especially against a struggling Browns team.  Big Ben is a strong pickup this week amongst fantasy owners.

Heath Miller - Miller is on pace for his first Pro Bowl appearance and has been exceptional for the Steelers passing game so far this season.  Miller is second on the team with 29 receptions and 235 yards. He also leads the receiving corps with 3 TD's.  Expect about 60 yards receiving and another touchdown for Heath Miller this week.

Hines Ward - Ward is the Steelers leading receiver thus far this season with 33 receptions and 440 yards receiving.  With Holmes wrist injury continuing to be a nagging problem, Ward will see more balls thrown his way.  However, it's concerning to fantasy owners that Ward only has 1 touchdown so far this season.  With all things considering Ward is still a good play this week against the Browns.

Rashard Mendenhall - Mendenall has looked real impressive the past couple of weeks with Willie Parker being out due to a turf toe injury.  In two games, Mendenhall is averaging over 5 yards a carry and has 3 touchdowns.  Against the league's worst running defense Mendenhall is expected to start and will see the majority of all carries with Fast Willie being the change of pace back as he recovers from his injury.

Ben Roethlisberger Jersey
Hines Ward Jersey
Rashard Mendenhall Jersey
Heath Miller Jersey
Santonio Holmes Jersey

Cleveland Browns

Joshua Cribbs - Unfortunately for the Browns, based on their play thus far this season, Cribbs is the only guy I would consider as a fantasy owner this week.  With Braylon Edwards being traded to the Jets, Cribbs should see some increased action as a 3rd WR.  Aside from that, Cribbs is well known to be an extremely dangerous kick-off returner and has had prior success against the Steelers special teams unit.

The Steelers 2008 Bust Class

Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed continue to disappoint Steeler Nation as well as their coaches.  Let's start with

Rashard Mendenhall

Rashard Mendenhall

the 2008 1st round pick standout from Illinois, Rashard Mendenhall.  Last season, Mendenhall's rookie season was cut short when Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis laid a crushing hit on the rookie, fracturing his should and ending his season in the process. This year, Mendenhall has seen very limited playing time with Willie Parker as the primary back and Mewelde Moore seeing the majority of 3rd down duties.  To top matters off, Mendenhall was basically benched by head coach Mike Tomlin because he wasn't satisfied with the running back's preparation going into Sunday's division showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals.  It was reported that Tomlin requires his players to take a written test leading up to each game to determine how well each player knows their assignments.  Likewise, it's an indicator of how well each player prepares for an upcoming game.  Shame on Mendenhall.  He should be embarrassed to let his more veteran teammates down.  What type of work ethic does this show about Mendenhall?  With the amount of money that 1st round picks are making, and knowing he's probably the future running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you would think he would make more of a conscience effort to help his team win.

Rashard Mendenhall Jersey

Now for the 2008 2nd round pick from Texas, Limas Sweed.  Also a great athlete and standout during his college days,

Limas Sweed

Limas Sweed

the 6-4 220 pound receiver has a great combination of size and speed and a rare ability to beat defenses and get open down the field.  So, what's the problem you may ask?  The guy can't catch the ball.  He reminds me of Nate Washington in the early part of his career but worse.  He dropped a touchdown pass during the AFC Championship Game (AFCCG) which would have clinched the game.  Now, he drops a touchdown pass that inevitably costs the Steelers the game in their second straight loss of the year against the Bengals.  In Sweed's defense, his drop wasn't the primary reason for the Steelers losing against the Bengals (it was actually poor defense and coaching) but still.  When is this guy going to learn to hold onto the ball?  Coach Mike Tomlin threatened him this week by saying that he better catch the next pass thrown his way or he'll be demoted to the 5th wide receiver.  What a disappointment he has been this year.  It was thought that Sweed would fill in nicely as the number 3 wide receiver with the departure of Nate Washington.  With Sweed's combination of size and speed, fans were hoping to see that "big target" that Big Ben has been wishing for.  Instead, we see a guy that was already replaced by rookie Mike Wallace as the number 3 wide receiver.  Regardless if Sweed keeps his number 4 wide receiver spot, he won't see many passes thrown his way at all this season unless he regains that number 3 spot.

Limas Sweed Jersey

The 2008 Steelers draft class is looking like the poorest caliber of players in recent memory.   Let's hope that changes in the very near future.

Discuss at the Planet Steelers Forum

Fantasy Focus: Steelers vs Bengals

This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog.  The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals.  This may be a more difficult game than what most Steelers fans are anticipating.  The Bengals have 3 straight division games starting with the Steelers so expect them to try to set the tone against the Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger - Big Ben will rebound just fine against the Bengals defense.  The offense struggled last week to put points up on the board but they were able to move the ball against a solid Bears defense.  I see Big Ben and company putting up 27 points against the Bengals this week.

Santonio Holmes Fantasy Football Pick of the Day

Santonio Holmes Fantasy Football Pick of the Day

Hines Ward - Historically a Cincinnati killer (just ask Keith Rivers).  Ward is closing in on his 10,000 yards receiving mark and it very well could happen this week against the Bengals.

Santonio Holmes - Holmes had one of his worst performances in recent memory last week.  3 dropped balls including a tough but catchable winning TD catch capped off a disappointing day for Holmes.  Even though the weather was less than desirable and the field was messy, Holmes dropped several catchable balls that ended up as "drive killers".  I expect Holmes to rebound and post a solid overall performance with over 100 yards and a TD.

Buy Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

Parker / Mendenhall - Parker has been the most disappointing player on the team so far this season.  He's not running the ball with any authority and he's been "tip toeing" to the line of scrimmage.  Mendenhall might steal some of Parker's opportunities and rightfully so.  It's time for one of these two to step up and provide some sort of rushing attack.  The Bengals run defense has struggled so this might be a good game to get this offense going.

Heath Miller - Miller continues to be one of Roethlisberger's favorite targets.  He's consistent, has great hands, and picks up first downs.  With the offensive line struggling, Miller is a nice safety net for Big Ben.

Steelers Defense - Although the Steelers defense hasn't necessarily struggled, they do have some flaws.  For one, the Steelers outside linebackers including Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY), James Harrison and emerging star LaMarr Woodley only have a combined 2 sacks on the year.  Lawrence Timmons appears to be healthy which should hopefully add to the pass rush this week.  This is a shocking statistic that no one would have guessed going into the 2009-2010 season.  With the loss of Polamalu, Tyrone Carter was exposed by Jay Cutler last week being responsible for 2 touchdowns.

Cincinnati Bengals

Carson Palmer - If last game was any indication, Palmer appears to be healthy.  Palmer has one of the best deep balls in the game and is typically very accurate.  If the Steelers defense doesn't get a pass rush against Palmer, it will be a long day for the Steelers and their fans.

Chad Ochocinco - Ochocinco has had just one 100-yard game and three touchdowns against the Steelers since Ike Taylor's rookie season in 2003 so don't expect much out of him today.   He talks a good game and is being outspoken against Steelers cornerbacks William Gay and Ike Taylor but until he produces on the field against the Steelers, I would steer away from picking Ochocinco.

Cedric Benson - Benson has been one of the bigger surprises this year for Cincinnati.  However, like most other running backs, expect Benson to struggle against the Steelers stellar run defense.  Don't start Benson this week on your fantasy team.

Fantasy Football Pick of the Day: Santonio Holmes (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)

Max Starks Interview (Radio)

STEEL CURTAIN RADIO #4: MAX STARKS INTERVIEWMax Starks

Check out the 1 on 1 Interview with Max Starks

Click Link to Listen

Show Topics:

1.  Max Starks talks About Free Agency and his Long Term Plans
2.  Max talks about what makes Big Ben so Special?
3.  Max gives his thought son Albert Haynesworthss Deal
4.  Max speaks on the media’s focus on contracts?
5.  Max gives his thoughts on Demarcus Ware
6.  Max gives his thoughts on the differences between Tomlin and Cowher

Interview Provided by: whatchatalkinbout.com

Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 Salaries

Steelers 2008 Salaries
Rk Player Salary (US$)    
1 Ben Roethlisberger $27,701,920    
2 Max Starks $6,899,800    
3 James Farrior $6,802,400    
4 Hines Ward $5,453,840    
5 Ike Taylor $4,643,360    
6 Troy Polamalu $4,625,000    
7 Marvel Smith $4,551,440    
8 Casey Hampton $4,100,960    
9 Brett Keisel $3,903,840    
10 Willie Parker $3,903,840    
11 Kendall Simmons $3,601,920    
12 Aaron Smith $3,255,760    
13 Charlie Batch $3,036,720    
14 Rashard Mendenhall $2,815,000    
15 Larry Foote $2,542,880    
16 Lawrence Timmons $2,199,760    
17 Santonio Holmes $2,176,920    
18 Mewelde Moore $2,005,760    
19 Justin Hartwig $1,980,760    
20 Limas Sweed $1,861,000    
21 James Harrison $1,806,720    
22 Ryan Clark $1,505,280    
23 Deshea Townsend $1,434,320    
24 Jeff Reed $1,430,280    
25 Chris Kemoeatu $1,423,240    
26 Nate Washington $1,419,880    
27 Heath Miller $1,347,260    
28 Travis Kirschke $1,133,360    
29 Chris Hoke $1,106,240    
30 Greg Warren $1,055,280    
31 Tyrone Carter $1,001,920    
32 Trai Essex $932,280    
33 Nick Eason $874,800    
34 Mitch Berger $870,000    
35 Orpheus Roye $870,000    
36 LaMarr Woodley $839,800    
37 Bruce Davis $800,626    
38 Andre Frazier $765,280    
39 Keyaron Fox $649,800    
40 Byron Leftwich $645,000    
41 Bryant McFadden $623,360    
42 Sean McHugh $605,000    
43 Tony Hills $599,500    
44 Willie Colon $451,720    
45 Anthony Madison $450,760    
46 Arnold Harrison $449,800    
47 Anthony Smith $448,840    
48 Dennis Dixon $425,000    
49 Jon Dekker $376,240    
50 Matt Spaeth $376,240    
51 Darnell Stapleton $376,240    
52 Carey Davis $375,760    
53 Daniel Sepulveda $375,760    
54 William Gay $374,800    
55 Gary Russell $370,000    
56 Mike Humpal $366,575    
57 Dallas Baker $301,720    
58 Donovan Woods $298,500    
59 Scott Paxson $295,000    

O-line Final Challenge

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has one more big challenge for the 2008-2009 NFL season.  And what a challenge it is, for the Pittsburgh Steelers 6th Super Bowl victory.  Truth be told, I think the Steelers offensive line issues have not received enough publicity this week. 

The NFL analysts have been more interested in Larry Fitzgerald and the Steelers defense more than anything else.  But the game could and probably will be decided up front on both sides of the ball.  The Steelers offensive line will have their hands full to say the least.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm are very familiar with the Steelers sub-par offensive line.  They know their strengths and weakness and you can expect that both have been relaying their knowledge to the defensive staff of the Arizona Cardinals. 

The Steelers have the advantage in run blocking against the Cardinals.  The Cardinals are an undersized front and are not nearly aggressive up-front as teams the Steelers are used too and have played against.  The New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, etc are all bigger and more aggressive defensive fronts that the Steelers have faced.  I would expect that the Steelers should be able to run on the Cardinals.  And make no mistake about it; we need Parker, Moore, and Russell to have a huge game which will in turn, open up the passing game. 

However, the Steelers have a disadvantage against the pass rushers of the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cardinals defensive front, while undersized, has very quick pass rushers coming off the corner.  This is by far the Steelers biggest weakness and could potentially win the game for the Arizona Cardinals and is a huge matchup for the Steelers.  Willie Colon will have his hands full and better not jump offsides to try to compensate for the speed rush.  Max Starks is the slowest footed left tackle in the league.  Ben Roethlisberger must get rid of the ball quickly, he must hit his quick hot reads, and must punish the Cardinals for sending blitzes his way (i.e. get the ball in Heath Miller’s and Mewelde Moore’s hands!)

While the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been better later in the season, they must put together a good performance Sunday in order for the Steelers to hoist their sixth Lombardi trophy. 

Steelers vs Browns Fantasy Focus

Cleveland Browns

Braylon Edwards

Expect Edwards to put up a better performance than last week in which he had 2 receptions for only 14 yards. Edwards also dropped 3 passes. Edwards will probably be matched up with the Steelers top corner, Ike Taylor all day. Free Safety, Ryan Clark will provide over-the-top help for Ike. Also expect Troy Polamalu to be a presence in the Steelers secondary which should also help contain Edwards.

Kellen Winslow

Last week, Winslow grabbed five balls for 47 yards and a touchdown. Expect similar numbers (or more) from Winslow this week. I expect Winslow to see more balls thrown his way due to the Steelers very active pass rush. Derek Anderson won't have much time to look down field which should mean that Winslow will see more action. I expect Lawrence Timmons to see significant playing time this week and matched up against Winslow. Winslow will be given the slight edge as he has more experience, but Timmons has the size, speed, and agility to match up well with Winslow. Remember, the Steelers drafted Timmons because they were intrigued with his athleticism and his ability to match up one on one with tight ends such as Winslow.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Willie Parker

Willie Parker should have another good week for fantasy owners. While I don't think he'll have the same type of success as last week, I still expect at least 100 yards and a TD from Parker. Parker may be less successful due to the large defensive line of the Cleveland Browns. In the past, our offensive line has had trouble with larger defensive lines. The Browns boast a large defensive line especially with free agent pickup Shaun Rogers.

Santonio Holmes

Holmes had a quiet week 1 with only 2 receptions for 19 yards. I expect Holmes to bounce back with a big week against the Browns. The Browns secondary is depleted with injuries and Holmes is too good to contain. Both Roethlisberger and Holmes seem to play well in there college alumni states. (Miami (OH) and OSU respectively).

Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben was 13 of 14 with 137 yards and two touchdowns in week 1 versus the Houston Texans. With a depleted Browns secondary, Roethlisberger should be able to throw at will versus the Browns. The only cause for concern is Roethlisberger's sore shoulder that he suffered from a hit by Mario Williams. If the offensive line can keep Roethlisberger clean, expect big things from #7.

Steelers vs. Bills – Preview

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills

7:30 pm est

(Replays on NFL Network)

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Steelers plan to kick-off their second preseason game in Toronto against the AFC East Buffalo Bills. Mike Tomlin suggested that the starters are expected to see significantly more playing time in tonight’s game. Below are some players to keep an eye on:

Justin Hartwig – One of the very few Steelers free agent pickups is expected to see his first start tonight, Justin Hartwig at center in place of last year’s starter, Sean Mahan. Hartwig is expected to gain the starting role after Mahan struggled last year with the larger nose tackles in the AFC North. Hartwig is bigger and stronger than Mahan and tonight he could prove to everyone that he belongs to start.

Lawrence Timmons – LT was very impressive in his last preseason game against the Eagles. Timmon’s showcased why Tomlin & Co spent their #15 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He displayed his speed and his explosiveness to close quickly on the ball. Let’s hope he can put together back-to-back impressive games. It is expected that Foote will start alongside of Farrior but Timmons will play on 3rd downs\. However, if Timmons continues to impress, expect LT to unseat Foote for the starting role.

LaMarr Woodley – Woodley was not able to get a sack against the Eagles but he did display good penetration. I look for Woodley to have at least one sack against the Bills. It’s just a matter of time until he registers his first one. Overall, I think the Steelers pass rush needs to improve. I did not see the pocket collapse quickly against the Eagles and that is a little worrisome.

Rashard Mendenhall / Willie Parker – Both of these guys looked really good against the Eagles. Parker looked as explosive and fast as always and looks to be over his broken leg. I’m really excited to see more of Mendenhall. Against the Eagles, Mendenhall averaged just about 5 yards/carry and looked impressive doing so. He has a great combination of vision, size, power, and speed to really excel in this league.

Offensive Line – The OL looked adequate in its first preseason game. However, it’s way to early to determine if this OL will give up another 47 sacks this year. The jury is still out on these guys. Until they can show consistency, I can’t label this group as improved. On a side note, Starks looked terrible as usual in a backup role. Can someone please explain Colbert’s logic for paying Max Starks, a backup, 7 million dollars this year? By the way, that is the most of any left tackle in the league. YIKES.

Defensive Line – The DL really did not impress me in the last game. I thought the Eagles had some success running right up the middle of the Steelers defense. Now that Casey “I don’t weigh 365 pounds anymore” Hampon has returned to the lineup, I expect this unit to improve in this area.

Limes Sweed – Even though Sweed didn’t have many opportunities, he did make some very nice catches. I had heard Sweed had “suspect hands”. Based on the Eagles game alone, he looks to have great hands. I like what I see so far, and I think he’ll only improve from here.

Other Notables:

Ben Roethlisberger / Santonio Holmes / Hines Ward - I just want to see these guys in action a little more. The “hot read” with Ben and Holmes that resulted in a touchdown against the Eagles was a thing of beauty. This should keep defenses honest and improve on the amount of sacks given up. This offense has the potential to be one of the most explosive units in the NFL as long as the OL can hold its ground.

Check our the Planet Steelers forum for up-to-the-minute updates on ALL Steelers Games!

Powered by WordPress