Willie Wants Dan In Front

This picture is not the reason why.

Yesterday, in my Bettis book critique, I touched on Bettis’ anger over the team cutting Tim Lester in 1999.

Bill Parker has a similar opinion in 2007. He wants Dan Kreider, not some Tight End, blocking for him when the season opens.

I prefer to have a fullback,” said Parker, who was third in the American Football Conference last season with 1,494 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. “You always want a lead blocker and someone who takes it in there. And a fullback, they just go and take it in there and block somebody to clear a path. Dan Kreider is a good fullback.”

Bruce Arians’ new offense calls for an assload of TEs. Tuman will make the team. ’06 and ’07 draft picks Miller and Spaeth will make the team. There is even a chance that either Jonathan Dekker or Cody Boyd also make the roster. That leaves nary a spot for 5 year starter Dan Kreider. Arians would prefer to have TEs line up all over the field, as wideouts, linemen, or even in the backfield as blockers for Fast Bill.

However, no one has asked Bill, and he apparently wants #35.

Dan’s paid his dues. He’s had his ups and downs, and is a more-than-suitable lead blocker. If he doesn’t make the team, I don’t see other teams waiting long to snatch him up. Besides, Willie is the first Pittsburgh RB to record back to back 1000 yard seasons since Bettis, and is a threat to take it to the house on every touch. Much of his success depends on the reliability of Dan Kreider, and discarding him for a Tight End doesn’t bode well.

So yeah, there were a lot of Bettis’ comments I didn’t agree with, but his feelings toward the team cutting Lester ring true today. Bettis had a HOF career with or without Tim Lester, but the consistency issue is a major point. If the fans and organization want to see Bill Parker continue to develop into a consistent Pro Bowler, he’s going to need Kreider, the only fullback in his career, up in front.