Parker gets his shot, but Johnson shines
Heading into the preseason, the cluster of running backs on the Washington Redskins roster was something the coaches said they had to evaluate.
Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, two veterans brought in during the offseason, were held out of the preseason opener against Buffalo. Coach Mike Shanahan's plan was to give the two ample playing time and starts in each of the next two games. Johnson got the start last week against Baltimore and rushed eight times for just four yards
Friday night was Parker's audition. The former Steeler, who sits third on the depth chart, received the majority of the carries in the first half, rushing eight times for 16 yards. Nine of the 16 yards came on his final two carries, including his longest gain of seven. The team finished with 82 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Parker said the sporadic carries have made it difficult to get into a rhythm.
"When I started getting my groove and started feeling myself and whatever, my time was up," Parker said. "That's real tough. We all think the same and we all talk about it but at the same time, it's a competition, so you got to make the best of what you got."
Parker, who had only one carry heading into Friday's contest, said he wants to play as much as possible in the preseason finale next week -- a game he would have sat out of as a starter in Pittsburgh.
"I'd rather run the ball no matter what. Even if it's the preseason, I still want to get out there and show [what I can do]," Parker said. Johnson received the majority of carries down the stretch Friday, finishing with 42 yards on nine attempts. He broke free for an 18-yard run before scoring on a 15-yard reception out of the backfield with 2 minutes 13 seconds remaining in the game. Johnson said he was grateful for the opportunity to get the playing time -- even if it was in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
"I thank Coach [Shanahan] because he let me stay in as long as possible," Johnson said. "Being able to work hard in practice and begging him to let me keep playing 'cause it's tough 'cause they got guys they want to look at and I just thank him for letting me come in."
August 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Larry Johnson , Running backs , Willie Parker | Tags: Larry Johnson, Willie Parker
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