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Townsend to make 1st start of season; Parker to play in final home game @ Heinz Field?

Townsend earns 1st start of the season
In a move that should have been considered weeks ago, cornerback Deshea Townsend took first team reps at cornerback all week and will make his first start of the season Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Ravens.
Townsend will replace William Gay in the starting lineup.
However, in the nickel base defense, Townsend will slide back as the nickel back –position he has played all season.
Based on practice this week, Joe Burnett will see his playing time decrease a bit this week.
Steelers focus on Ray Rice
The Steelers focus this week is on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice exploited the Steelers in their week 12 matchup and the Steelers primary focus is limiting Rice in the passing game.
The Ravens found ways to get Rice matched up against James Farrior in key situations during the previous meeting and they will look to do the same again tomorrow afternoon.
Carter will see a significant amount of playing time
Tyrone Carter has a horrible game against Green Bay along with his counterpart Ryan Clark but the Steelers just don’t trust Ryan Mundy enough on the field.
Carter not Mundy is expected to start at strong safety.
Final home game for Parker?
Willie Parker’s career in a Steelers uniform is coming to an end as Sunday’s game will likely be Parker’s final home game at Heinz Field.
From 2005-2007, Parker established himself as one of the games top running backs.
In 2005, Parker rushed for 1,202 yards on 255 rushing attempts in just his second season in the league, while sharing carries with Jerome Bettis at times.
In 2006, Parker had his best season of his career, rushing for 1,494 yards and a career best 13 touchdowns.
Parker followed up the 2007 season with another banner season, rushing 1,316 yards while leading the league in rushing until he suffered a broken leg early in a game against St. Louis in week 16.
Parker’s broken leg ended his run as an elite running back as injuries have plagued Parker for the past two seasons.
After an injury riddled season in 2008, this season Parker lost his starting job to Rashard Mendenhall in week 4 and has only seen spot duty since as Mendenhall has ran with the starting job.
Parker will go down as the Steelers best running back of the decade, leading the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles.
The Steelers wouldn’t mind bringing Parker back as a complementary back at the right price but Parker has all indications of seeking a starting role elsewhere.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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