This is something I wrote before the Super Bowl and serves as a complimentary piece to an earlier post today, Super Bowl Just Another Bad Game for FWP. I keep hearing from Parker apologists that "he's been injured" and that's why his numbers were down. And that he makes up for all his minimal runs with the big ones.
So I looked at his career as a feature back and the numbers back up my assertion: we'd be a stronger team with a better back, which shouldn't be hard to find.
I expect Willie Parker is going to be a drag on the offense [in the Super Bowl] and I'm hoping Mewelde Moore (who was invisible and injured against the Ravens) will provide a spark.
Against the Ravens in the playoffs, Parker:
Lost one fumble, dropped a long pass he probably would have run into the endzone and averaged a whopping 2.0 yards per carry (23 carries, 47 yards, longest of 7).
In 2008:13 games he played: 8 times he averaged less than 4 yards a carry for the game. Ok, he was hurt this year so let's look at the other seasons he's been the feature back:
In 2007, he had six games where he averaged less than 4.0 yards a carry and only managed four runs of at least 12 yards. 321 carries, and only four runs of 12 yards or more. That's just super...
In 2006: eight games (out of sixteen) where he averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry, and only 5 runs of 15 yards or more.
In 2005 - Regular Season
Seven games out of 14 with less than 4.0 yards per carry. 4 runs of 14 yards or more.
And yes, the 75 yard TD run in the Super Bowl is a HUGE moment in Steelers history: I give him props for that. Big Ben was HORRIBLE and they lose without Parker's run (and Randle El's TD pass). But prior to that he forced Ben to carry the Steelers through the playoffs (BTW, Ben was superb in the three playoff games that year):
Cincy - 2.4 ypc
Indy - 3.5 ypc
Denver - 2.5 ypc
In the Super Bowl, excluding the 75 yard TD, he had 9 carries for 18 yards. 2.0 yards per carry.
Willie is not a posession back. He leaves the Steelers in second and third and long and he doesn't move the chains. And he isn't the home run hitter the brainwashed media potrays him as.
I kept hearing how the Steeler offense struggled because Parker was injured. No, Moore was outperforming Parker running and catching the ball. A very banged up Big Ben was playing horrible football for weeks.
Ben is a better QB than he was in the Seahawk Super Bowl. If he avoids throwing picks, he can carry the team to a win if Parker doesn't show up. It'd be nice to win because of our running game, not in spite of it.
Arizona is 16th out of 32 in rushing defense. Parker should be able to run consistently on them. This isn't the Ravens.
I think we're going to win. Especially if Big Ben dosen't turn the ball over and if Ike Taylor doesn't play like Harvey Shelton out there (which, I think he will..). But Parker could help keep it from being an uphill climb by either running well, or letting Moore do it for him.
Feast or Famine: I've been saying for several years now, it's almost all famine, and no feast. I hope I'm wrong and he plays like he did against the Chargers, but I'd like to see Mendenhall or somebody else be the every down back next year.