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Tag:Willie Parker
Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Michael Turner's best days could be behind him

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Running backs are fungible. We've been beating that drum for years now, and basically the theory goes something like this: Don't draft a running back with a top 15 pick unless you're certain he's the next Barry Sanders or Jim Brown.

There are exceptions, but the thinking is that teams can find productive backs in later rounds (and often among the undrafted), which frees them up to use early picks on positions that are tougher to fill -- like left tackle and cornerback. This applies to free agency, too. An example that immediately comes to mind: the Seahawks re-signing Shaun Alexander to an eight-year, $62 million deal in 2006, six years into his career. At the time, it was the largest contract ever signed by a running back.

Alexander, who had 370 carries for 1,880 yards (27 TDs) in '05, managed just 896 yards on 252 carries (7 TDs) in '06. He gained 716 yards a year later, and by 2008 he was out of the league
.

Meanwhile, success stories on the cheap are everywhere. Willie Parker and
Arian Foster were undrafted free agents. So were Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas. And if they should get hurt or become ineffective, there are other low-priced alternatives.

We bring this up because Michael Turner was originally just that: a low-priced alternative -- the former Chargers fifth-round pick who spent most of his career in San Diego behind LaDanian Tomlinson. Having seen glimpses of his potential, teams around the league were intrigued by Turner once he hit free agency. In 2008, the Falcons signed him to a six-year, $34.5 million contract with $15 million guaranteed.

Early on it looked like a good investment. Atlanta had then-rookie quarterback
Matt Ryan, and the offense relied heavily on the running game to make his job easier. Turner finished 2008 with 376 carries for 1,699 yards (17 TDs). And according to Football Outsiders, Turner ranked third in total RB value behind Thomas Jones and DeAngelo Williams.

But the productivity was short-lived. In '09, Turner played in just 11 games and had 871 yards on 178 carries (10 TDs). His Football Outsiders total value ranking fell to 16th, sandwiched between the likes of Ronnie Brown and Willis McGahee. Turner appeared to rebound last season (334 carries, 1,371 yards, 12 TDs), but his total value was still 16th.

Which brings us to Scout Inc.'s Matt Williamson,
who writes on ESPN.com that Turner's "best days might already be behind him and (he is) someone who will never be an asset in the passing game."

Williamson thinks that
Gartrell Johnson, a former fourth-rounder (coincidentally drafted by the Chargers), could step in for Turner if given the opportunity. "Johnson very well could end up not making this roster, but if he were to stick and be thrust into a prominent role, this hard-nosed power back might surprise."

The bottom line: the Falcons invested a lot of money in Turner, money that could have been better allocated. There's no denying that Turner was great during the '08 season, but he's been something less than that in the two years since. The NFL is full of running backs who are, on average, as productive as Turner but at a fraction of the cost.

Look no further than the guy on the cover of Madden 12 for proof.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Willie Parker rips the Redskins

Posted by Andy Benoit
W. Parker
Willie Parker’s tenure in Washington was uneventful and short-lived. (The 30-year-old running back was cut September 4 after battling a strained groin.)

The Redskins didn’t like Parker and, based on comments he made in an interview with Pittsburgh FM radio station KDKA, Parker didn’t like the Redskins.

"Being in Washington, they don't care about football. I didn't feel good from Day 1 there," Parker said. "They weren't about football. They were about partying.

"You appreciate Pittsburgh a little bit more after going somewhere else and seeing what another team has to offer."

Parker was asked about the contrasting ownerships of the two teams.

"You know, that's a big, that's a major difference,” he said. “You have an owner (Dan Snyder) that just tosses money everywhere, and you have an owner (Rooney family) that has a blueprint.

"When you compare and contrast, the Rooneys definitely know what they're doing when it comes to football."

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 12:00 pm
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Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:43 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Report: Willie Parker starting for Skins Thursday

Posted by Will Brinson

Willie Parker will start for the Washington Redskins on Thursday night during their final preseason game, according to multiple reports.

Both Mike Florio and Jason LaCanfora report that Parker will get the nod as the starting running back for Thursday's game -- although it may not necessarily be a good thing.

Parker will get starter reps in order to either a) win a late roster spot or b) audition for another team.

The latter seems more likely, and Parker will need a pretty strong performance in order to make sure there's someone else interested in him.

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Posted on: August 28, 2010 9:28 am
 

Hot Routes 8.28.10: Good News, Bad News

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) or send an email to will [dot] brinson [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

Fellow Blogger Fantasy Football League member (and Football Outsiders overlord as well as a really swell guy) Aaron Schatz got the hook-up from the NFL to show the official video of the NFL's rule changes . Check it.

Just how important is DeSean Jackson to the Eagles? Well, as the Eagletarian mentions , the offense went to a pile of mess when Jackson left with injury, so that should be a good clue. Of course, maybe it was just Kansas City's, um, vaunted defense? Not good times.

The Finsider points out that it's "good news-bad news" re: the Dolphins starting cornerbacks. Vontae Davis was "outstanding" while Jason Allen "proved … he is not an NFL starting cornerback." Harsh words, but it's important, especially if you're one of those idiots who picked the Dolphins to finish ahead of the Jets in the AFC East. /raises hand

One of my favorite interwebs spots, Cat Scratch Reader, notes that the third preseason game enerally provides a good indication as to how well the Panthers will do in the coming season.

The Rams have to be pleased with everything outside of the loss of Donnie Avery -- Turf Show Times says that the play of Jason Smith and Roger Saffold, for different reasons, is also encouraging, particularly in relation to how the combination of "Sam Bradford + Saffold" >>>>> "Russell Okung + Jimmy Clausen." Or something.

Some mildly tangential football news, in that Dan Steinberg discusses where Stephen Strasburg's injury stacks up against the all-time worst for DC Sports -- the chief comparison is that of Joe Theismann when Lawrence Taylor wrecked his life and forced us into bad football broadcasting and, eventually, a crappy movie rendition of a great Michael Lewis book.

Well, well, la-ti-da. Doesn't Chicago just have sooooo many trophies from professional sports teams ? Actually, as the only town to own all four major trophies over the past 25 years, all the owners got together and had a big party where they made fun of the Cubs and then cracked jokes about whether or not anyone would bother hiring Lovie Smith next season.

Our old pal SbB brings to light information that should totally remind everyone in Los Angeles: UR NOT GETTIN' OUR SOUTHERN FOOTBALL. Actually, Brooks ends the post optimistically, but let me tell you what, if they take football from Jacksonville, Thanksgivings are going to be REALLY awkward for my family. No offense, cousins and such.

Zerkle's rundown of Peyton Manning's issues with the umpire is worth it if only for the Madden '11 photoshop.

Haters gonna hate all they want, but Gregg Rosenthal still managed to work up a positive piece about LaDainian Tomlinson at PFT. It's logical too, because, well, as much we all suddenly want LdT to fail miserably, the good news is that he's not as awful as Willie Parker. Careers fade fast when you're from Clinton, NC, son.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:43 am
 

Buffalo, San Fran interested in Westbrook too?

Posted by Will Brinson

Brian Westbrook's been quite cautious with his free agency this offseason, which is rather rare for an aging running back with concussion issues. Theoretically, he'd like to jump on the first team that could offer him a good contract and some playing time, before the rest of the 2002 Pro Bowlers (Larry Johnson, Willie Parker) filled those spots.

Turns out, his patience was a smart move: yesterday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan mentioned Washington's renewed interest in the back , and now it appears that the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers would also be interested in inking the former Eagle.

That's via Chris Russell of the Reskins Radio Network , who says he talked to Westbrook's brother Byron at Redskins practice on Monday.

According to Byron, his brother has "some new possible opportunity's [sic] in SF and Buff as well as" St. Louis.

Buffalo and San Francisco adding themselves to the mix makes perfect sense: Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch could both miss extended time into the season , while San Fran just lost Glen Coffee to a very early retirement .

And of course, St. Louis would love to have Westbrook in order to compliment Steven Jackson.

So, now that it's clear that his patience has paid off, what should Westbrook do. Personally, I think the Niners provide the best possible fit for Westbrook.

They're a contending team (in a particularly weak division) with less personnel in the backfield -- Frank Gore and new-found bruiser Anthony Dixon are the only competition for carries out by the bay.

In Washington, Westbrook's talents would certainly be utilized and he would get to play with his old buddy Donovan McNabb, but as mentioned, their depth chart is pretty full with LJ, Parker, Clinton Portis, et al. That's not to say Westbrook couldn't be better than those guys or that those guys couldn't be cut, but the path to touches is much more difficult there.

St. Louis would provide touches and good money, but the odds of winning a Super Bowl there this year are roughly 200:1 (at least according to Sportsbook ... and that's being generous, really). The same thing applies for Buffalo, with the caveat that when Jackson and Lynch return, Westbrook could see his carries drop again.

Like every decision for veterans, it may come down to how much Westbrook values winning versus playing time versus money. San Francisco just seems to offer the best combination of the three.

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Posted on: August 15, 2010 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 8:19 pm
 

Redskins still interested in signing Westbrook

Posted by Will Brinson

On Saturday afternoon, it seemed all but guaranteed that Brian Westbrook would be a member of the St. Louis Rams. However, the Rams refuted the reported Westbrook signing, and the former Eagle remains a free agent.

Now, the Washington Redskins -- one of three teams along with the Rams and the Broncos that were initially interested in Westbrook -- have restated their interest in bringing Westbrook to the nation's capitol.

"Like I told you, I'm not sure what direction he's going," Mike Shanahan said. "But we've been entertaining that option. I'm not sure what direction he's going at this time."

In non-angry words, that means "We're interested, but we're not sure if we can overpay for an additional 2000 Pro Bowl running back."

The 'Skins already have Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams on their depth chart. Bringing in Westbrook would be good for them in terms of really boosting the backfield's pass-catching ability, but they'd probably have to admit a mistake on either Parker or Johnson and cut them loose, simply because there aren't enough carries to go around.

Of course, the upshot for Washington looking at Westbrook is that he already has an excellent repoire with starting quarterback Donovan McNabb, and plugging him into Shanahan's offense with an already comfortable situation would be fun to watch.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com