Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker has just one carry through two preseason games but will get his opportunity to be the Redskins featured back Friday night, Jason Reid of the Washington Post Reports.
According to Reid, Clinton Portis got the start against the Buffalo, Larry Johnson had his shot last week versus Baltimore, and Parker will now try to impress the Redskins coaching staff Friday at the New York Jets.
Parker has fallen to 4th on the depth chart but Larry Johnson has been ineffective, rushing for four yards on eight carries against the Ravens last weekend, opening the door for Parker to make a late push at earning a roster spot.
Parker told the Washington media today that he’s motivated to prove his doubters wrong.
“Everything I hear, ‘Willie Parker is in the back,’ ‘he’s the backburner,’ he’s this, he’s that,” Parker said Tuesday in the locker room. “What you all don’t know: That just motivates me. … I’ve been in situations before, and I always come out on top. Not saying I’m going to come out on top here, but I’m definitely gonna give it a fight. And I’m ready for any challenge and every challenge that’s in my way.”
“I’m definitely excited to go out and show everybody what I can do,” Parker said. “I guess I’m the running back, the so-called running back, that’s been counted out. So I’m definitely ready, ” Parker added.
Parker through faces long odds at making the team.
The former pro bowl back has seen his skills diminish over the past couple seasons and it may take a spectacular performance from Parker Friday night just to get back into the mix. However, that’s an unlikely scenario to happen against the Jets No. 1 rated defense from 2009.
As Reid points out in a post from a few days ago, running backs who repeatedly fail in blitz pick-ups will not play under Coach Mike Shanahan. “No coach protects quarterbacks better than Shanahan, and backs play a huge role in his blocking scheme, both in making reads in the zone-running game and in pass protection”
Those are areas that Parker struggles mightily at.
Parker also has to hold off fast rising young backs Ryan Torain and Keiland William. Torian has surpassed Parker on the depth chart.