Pittsburgh Steelers: Bryant McFadden and William Gay Should Have to Earn Spots
I wrote about it a few weeks ago; in terms of talent and depth, the Pittsburgh Steelers' biggest weakness is their secondary. Troy Polamalu is the best safety, and arguably the best defensive player, in the NFL, Ryan Clark is good enough to start for almost any team and Ike Taylor is a shut-down corner.
After that, the Steelers don't have much. William Gay has made zero progress since his rookie year. Gay gets picked on all day like he's a wimpy school-yard boy and the opposing receiver-quarterback tandem is the school-yard bully.
If you watch the Steelers losses last year to the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, you will see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady immediately look Gay's way to make a throw. Of course, Gay got torched.
Bryant McFadden is better than Gay, but not by much. McFadden, who turns 30 this November, often struggled in coverage last year. Right now he's hurt, and has yet to play at all this preseason.
After the 2008 season, the Steelers let McFadden walk. McFadden signed with the Arizona Cardinals, but struggled and was then traded back to the Steelers during the 2010 draft.
Young cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Donovan Warren have both looked very good this preseason, especially Lewis, who got to start alongside Gay this past Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Lewis broke up a Mike Vick deep ball and later picked Vick off.
Warren has shown to be very good in zone coverage, which the Steelers play a lot of, and has been a very good tackler, which the Steelers ask their corners to do a lot.
I think Lewis has shown enough to get more playing time this year. I don't think Gay has shown anywhere near the same level of improvement, which begs me to question why he was given a brand new contract.
Gay sucks. There, I said it.
McFadden's best days are behind him. I know the Steelers' scheme doesn't ask for the cornerbacks to be All-Pro. It's as if the Steelers are almost content with average and/or mediocre cornerbacks, with the exception of Ike Taylor.
Personally, I would cut either Gay or McFadden and sign a free-agent offensive lineman, either a guard or a tackle. Maybe bring Max Starks back? Anything to improve the team.
Honestly, can Lewis really be any worse then Gay or McFadden? I don't think so.
This article also appears on the very popular Pittsburgh blog 412sportstalk
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