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Parker to Play 1st, 2nd – and 3rd Downs


From the words of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, it sounds like he has found his back to get him the tough yards on Sundays this 2007 season. It’s the same back that will get him the rest of the Steelers yards on the ground as well – Willie Parker. As far as taking Parker out of the game on third downs, or in short yardage situation, Tomlin made it known that he is willing to keep Willie in there. “I think he’s been very impressive as a guy who is capable of competing for us on third down,” Tomlin said. “I think some of the running back versus linebacker drills that we had in camp were very beneficial to him. I know, personally, he’s asked that those continue a little bit throughout the regular season.

The Steelers have been looking for that third down or short-yardage back since the retirement of Jerome Bettis after Super Bowl XL. They have been unable to find it, and now will simply turn back to Parker, who last season went over 200+ yards rushing twice. “I love that about Willie. He’s got desire to be a complete football player and every-down back. We’re open to that because of that. Whether or not he’s the third-down back or short-yardage guy really depends on what we’re trying to do week to week from a game-plan standpoint. We’re open to it, but we’ll let those things sort themselves out as we progress.”

Will deserves a shot at those situations, as he has been tough when he needs to be, and of course fast and able to break into the open field on other plays as well. Let him do what he does best, continue to run and keep him in the game until he runs out of gas. Once he does, get him a breather, and then get him back in the game again.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

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