Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin was not happy with comments made by two-time Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker, saying they could be misinterpreted as uninformed and selfish, and said he told Parker and all the players about it today in a team meeting.
"The issue for us has been, is and hopefully will continue to be winning -- that's my interpretation of Steelers football," Tomlin said. "Every morning I come to work I walk past five Lombardis, not five rushing titles. The issue is winning."
Parker said yesterday that the offense, which ranks 20th in the NFL in rushing, has gotten away from "Steelers football" and that the two-tight end offense used by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is not effective for running the ball.
Parker, who carried 12 times for 25 yards against the Dallas Cowboys, said opposing teams even know when and where the Steelers are going to run the ball.
"He needs to be a little more careful with things he says and how he says it because it can be misinterpreted as uninformed or selfish, of which he is neither," Tomlin said.
Asked how the two-tight end offense, which rarely employs a fullback, is performing, Tomlin said, "It was working pretty good last year when he was leading the league in rushing before he was hurt. It's not working as well right now. But we're in a better position than we were a year ago."
Parker was leading the NFL in rushing with 1,316 yards last season when he broke his leg in Week 15 in St. Louis. He also began this season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances before spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Week 3 in Philadelphia -- an injury that caused him to miss four games and still limits his effectiveness.
"Do we need to get better in terms of running the football? Absolutely," Tomlin said. "And the reason is this -- because it increases our chances of winning.
"I talked to the football team. We're a 10-3 team trying to be an 11-3 team, and the issue and singular focus we should have is on winning."