Steelers' Willie Parker likely to get short-yardage nod
The Steelers will enter the season without a designated short-yardage/goal-line back.
But a simple connecting of the dots makes it clear that Willie Parker will get most of the carries in those situations.
"I think we'll go with the guy that's in the ball game unless he's dead tired then we'll put a fresh body in," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Monday when asked who will be the goal-line back.
Parker is the starting running back and second-year man Rashard Mendenhall is No. 2 but the pair won't split carries. Coach Mike Tomlin said that last week and Arians reiterated it yesterday after practice.
"Willie's the man," Arians said.
Parker rushed for 11 touchdowns in 2006 but has just seven rushing touchdowns the last two seasons combined.
The two-time Pro Bowler will have a couple of new lead blockers this season.
Frank Summers will play the position Carey Davis held the previous two seasons. Fellow rookie David Johnson will serve as an H-back much like Sean McHugh did in 2008.
The Steelers don't have a traditional fullback on their roster but Arians didn't sound concerned about how the 5-10, 240-pound Summers, who played running back at UNLV, will do leading blocking in front of Parker.
"Take the ball out of his hand and you've got a fullback-type body, and he showed good explosion," Arians said of Summers, who rushed for over 1,600 yards in two seasons at UNLV. "He's actually showed more explosion without the ball than with it. He got lit up a couple of times running down the sidelines in training camp but take the ball out of his hands and everyone jumps out of the way."
The battle for the No. 3 wide receiver spot behind starters Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had not been resolved -- and probably won't be.
Arians said both Limas Sweed and rookie Mike Wallace will serve as the No. 3 wideout at times.
"There are different packages for both those guys so there's not really a third guy; it depends on the package that they're in right now," Arians said. "It gives us some flexibility that way."
The Steelers will likely open the season dressing just four wide receivers with teams only allowed to activate 45 players for games.
Arians said he "would doubt it right now" that veteran Shaun McDonald will dress for games.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Woodland Hills’ plan starts to come together
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- Film session: Long shots dotted Steelers’ passing game
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- 7 percent in Allegheny County able to carry concealed gun
- Eight Pitt players named to All-ACC team
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- No. 11 Purdue presents tall order for Pitt
- Steelers notebook: Bryant confident in backup Jones if Big Ben can’t play