Big Lead Sports Bar



Mark Madden mentioned on his Wednesday radio show that there were rumors of Steeler interest in plus-sized RB T.J. Duckett, and I hope that this is merely that - a rumor. Believe it or not, we are going on our eighth year of Duckett-to-the-Steelers rumors. In fact, I wrote about this very topic three years ago when John Clayton was pushing it so hard I thought he might secretly be Duckett's agent. Keep in mind that while this talk was swirling around in 2006, Parker was in the midst of a season that would end with 1,716 yards of offense and 16 touchdowns. Bah. He's not big enough. We're the blue-collar Steelers. We'll get our best 11, you get your best 11, and we'll punch you in the mouth. And so on.

Back then, I heard the tired cliche of stereotypical "Steeler football" one time too often. In fact, here's exactly what I wrote in response:
The absurdity of hearing "The Steeler Way" in reference to this team is like saying "the Atlanta Falcons must always have a mobile quarterback" or "the Green Bay Packers must always have a gunslinger at QB". Bettis, Michael Vick, and Brett Favre are (or were) all special players. They were who you thought of when a person mentioned the Steelers, the Falcons, and Packers...true faces of their franchises. But the team must adapt at the time those players move on.
Since then, the Falcons drafted a new quarterback, and I think we can all say that it's worked out well for them so far. Matt Ryan trusts his arm more than his legs, a style that completely contrasts that of Vick's. As for the Packers also moved on, and I think it's safe to say Aaron Rodgers' style is a bit more conservative than Brett Favre's. If you don't believe me, look no further than his 28 to 13 touchdown to INT ratio last season.

The Falcons have moved on. The Packers have moved on. But Steeler Nation remains trapped in the vortex of the jumbo back. Please, black and gold bleeders, it's time to move on. The problem with the running game will not be solved with a bigger, slower back who peaked in 2003. T.J. Duckett is not the answer. Jim Brown in his prime would not be the answer to this dilemma. When there aren't holes, the back makes less and less of an impact. Love it or hate it, the Steelers' strength right now is as a passing team. They have one of the game's top quarterbacks, two Super Bowl MVP wide receivers, and one of the league's best tight ends. In fact, the formula works well enough to win a Super Bowl with a running game ranked 23rd just last year. The quicker we get over this fixation, the better we'll feel.

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Nate said...

Agreed about the current identity of the team being defense & Roethlisberger. And actually, our o-line does a pretty decent job of pass-blocking...a lot of the sacks are Ben's fault, which is fine as long as he retains the big-play ability.

However, it would be nice to have a line that could run block when we need them to. I know TJ Duckett wouldn't help with that goal, but something's got to give with the run-blocking on this team. We have a tandem of RB that I feel are among the best in the NFL based on talent alone, but you would never know it because there's never anything for them to run through or behind.

okel dokel said...

Not so sure about the talent aspect of our running backs; Willie spends entirely too much time trying to "dance around." He misses having a full back like Kreider and is not the kind of back that can take it into the line when he is the only one in the backfield.

Hard to judge with Mendehall, but he has shown flashes. Moore is good, but too small to play that role on an everydown basis.

That said Duckett is not the answer.

Steve said...

Well then, if running the ball is no longer an option and the Steelers are now a passing team, then why try to sugar coat it at all? Let's put Moore in the backfield and go west coast already. Everyone comfortable with some Pittsburgh Eagles football?

No? Well then they either have to get a RB who can move the pile, or an O-line who can create room for our current collection of backs to run. Seeing as how an overhaul of the offensive line is not going to happen overnight, I say getting a big punishing back who's good for more than 1.6 yards a carry even with 8 in the box is our only option if we want to even remotely use the run as a threat anymore.

Chip said...

Um, Franco Harris, Frank Pollard, Barry Foster, Bam Morris... Do you know who any of those guys are?

Acting like Jerome Bettis was the first and only big power RB the Steelers ever had is pretty laughable. There is such a thing as "Steelers Football" although you'd need some historical perspective in order to know that.

As for Duckett, I don't think he's the answer either. But I don't know what's difficult to understand about the concept of a 205 pound RB vs a 240 pound back as far as short yardage situations are concerned.

Parker and Moore are too small and Mendenhall is too stupid to find the holes. Also our blocking schemes suck. Until those things are changed, we'll continue to be the 2003 New England Patriots.

Scott said...

Short yardage running is more about the quickness of the back to the hole, not the mass of the back hitting the hole. If there is no hole to hit, you could have a 300lb back and it's going nowhere. Parker's problem isn't his size, it's indecisiveness. Also, having a awful O-line is a factor as well.

I'm pretty sure when Ladainian Tomlinson, Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk and Emmitt Smith were breaking TD records none of them were over 230 lbs. I suppose they weren't able to pick up a third and 1 either. They were way too small...