By Teresa Varley
It's back to work at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex for the Steelers where they will prepare for the final two preseason games and then on to the regular season.
One player who is happy that he is back in the flow is running back Willie Parker. Parker did not play in the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals but started against the Washington Redskins on Saturday night.
"I feel good," said Parker. "I still don't think that I'm in playing mode. I still need to get hit a little bit. Next game hopefully I'll take it to another level and get hit a little bit more and make a couple more plays in the open field and I'll be ready."
Parker had four carries for 13 yards and scored the team's only touchdown on a three-yard run. But it wasn't the statistics that mattered to him. It was getting on the field that counted.
"It felt great, I mean the first time back on the field and the offense looked great,' said Parker of the scoring drive. "It definitely feels great to get back out there."
Parker hopes that getting into the end zone is something that becomes a habit for him as he wants to be the one called upon in the red zone.
"Of course I want to keep getting into the end zone," said Parker. "I want to make that a habit. I want to keep doing it, keep doing it and keep doing it so the coaches don't have any other goal line set and I'll be the goal line guy."
The defense got an early test against the Redskins and passed with flying colors. After initially forcing a three-and-out, the Redskins ran a fake punt with Rock Cartwright getting a first down on a 15-yard carry. The Redskins drove down the field, but when push came to shove, it was the defense that stepped up big.
Clinton Portis got the Redskins in scoring position with an eight-yard run to the three-yard line. On second down running back Ladell Betts was held to a one-yard gain and on third down he was knocked for a one-yard loss, forcing a field goal.
"It's great for the team," said safety Ryan Clark of the goal line stand. "Anytime the guys get down there we want to keep them out of the paint. The front did a very good job and they ended up going for the field goal. I was hoping they would go for the fourth down so we could get them off the field without scoring any points."
The 2009 Steelers Kickoff Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, September 2 at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel. For tickets or more information, click here.