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State of the Running game...

It would be disingenous to say that the Steelers NEEDED Jerome Bettis in 2006-2007 to maintain their stature as one of the premier running teams in the NFL.  The guy's old, has tons of miles on the odometer, and has limited breakaway speed.  That said, I sure would love to have him back for insurance purposes.  I simply don't trust Duce Staley to stay injury-free and productive for starters.  I know he's capable of being a better than average back, but I've yet to see it from him as a Steeler.  Verron Haynes will be his usualy reliable self.  The X-factor is obviously Willy Parker and whether he'll be able to follow-up his breakthrough season.  While I'm confident that Willy will undoubtedly have several big games, I'm nevertheless worried about his durability.  Beacuse he's slightly undersized and will be asked to carry a large chunk of the running load, there's always the threat of him wearing down come December and January.  I guess I'm worried about the prospect of Staley being out and Parker getting beaten up late in the season.  With no Bettis to save the day, where would the Steelers turn to?  Maybe Cedric Humes, the Steelers 7th round pick out of Virginia Tech, will be better than advertised.  I sure hope it doesn't come to that.

Go Steelers!