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fordfixer
12-24-2009, 02:14 AM
Steelers Notebook: Gay no longer starting at corner
Thursday, December 24, 2009
By Chuck Finder and Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09358/1023340-66.stm

Coach Mike Tomlin has stirred -- if not shaken -- up a Steelers secondary carved recently as if it were a holiday dinner entree.

Tomlin yesterday informed starting cornerback William Gay that his role would change for this week against Baltimore, at least.

Gay was demoted to nickel-package duty at cornerback while longtime starting left cornerback Deshea Townsend was elevated to the first team. Townsend will continue to cover the slot receiver in the nickel.

"That was the decision Coach gave me. That's the game plan, I guess," Gay said after yesterday's practice. "You got to always go with the head coach. He makes the best decisions to suit the situation. I just got to go in and do my best. The season isn't over yet. And you're always one play away [from an injury to a regular player]. You definitely want to stay ready."

Townsend remains a trivia question poignant to the secondary's current woes: Who is the last Steelers cornerback to intercept a pass in a regular-season or playoff game?

"Probably would be me," Townsend answered correctly, in reference to his pick against Baltimore in the AFC championship game -- 15 such games ago. "Let's see if we can get it done this week."

The Steelers have allowed 308 and 383 yards passing in their past two home games, against the Raiders and Packers, and three touchdowns apiece. They rank second-to-last in the NFL with just eight interceptions, none by cornerbacks.
Polamalu a no-go

Safety Troy Polamalu said the results of a magnetic resonance imaging on his injured knee were "encouraging," but added that it is unlikely he will return to practice this week, meaning he will not play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Polamalu has missed the past six games with a strain to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, an injury that can take up to six weeks to heal.
Infirm starters absent

Missing practice yesterday because of injuries were: defensive end Brett Keisel (neck), reserve cornerback Anthony Madison (illness), backup halfback Willie Parker (knee) and receiver Hines Ward (hamstring), who usually sits out Wednesdays along with linebacker James Farrior, a healthy scratch from practice.

Limited in practice were: halfback Rashard Mendenhall (hip), receiver Mike Wallace (knee) and reserve cornerback Keenan Lewis (back).

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu, who sat out all of last week to rest an ailing wrist, returned to practice and considered himself healthy enough to start.
Welcome the new guys

Graybeard receiver Joey Galloway, who really does have a gray-flecked beard, was gleeful about donning black and gold. Long snapper Jared Retkofsky felt a tad bittersweet over the situation that placed him back in those colors.

So went the first official day of work for those signed Tuesday to replace Limas Sweed (illness/personal) and Greg Warren (successful surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament yesterday), who were put on injured reserve.

"You always dream of those opportunities," said Galloway, a 15-year vet who grew up a Steelers fan in Bellaire, Ohio.

He was cut Oct. 20 by New England, returned to his Columbus, Ohio, home to prepare for the holidays and got the call from the Steelers while Christmas shopping.

Retkofsky had workouts with Washington, Atlanta and Houston while selling real estate in Fort Worth, Texas, where he admittedly wore to work the Super Bowl XLIII ring he won while filling in last year when Warren tore the ACL in his other leg. He actually got the call from Warren, who told him of the opening.
Quick hits

The Ravens signed cornerback Corey Ivy, who spent the week before the Nov. 29 Baltimore game as a member of the Steelers. ... The Steelers submitted their ballots yesterday for the Pro Bowl a week before the Super Bowl in Miami. They weren't allowed to vote for teammates, however.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09358/10 ... z0aaHsfjGt (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09358/1023340-66.stm#ixzz0aaHsfjGt)

Oviedo
12-24-2009, 09:25 AM
Long overdue move. Gay's confidence was probably destroyed weeks ago. Poor decision by LeBeau to let him keep bleeding.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-24-2009, 09:37 AM
They signed Ivey? That sucks. Now they know EXACTLY what is in our heads.

stlrz d
12-24-2009, 09:50 AM
They signed Ivey? That sucks. Now they know EXACTLY what is in our heads.

Ask any Ravens fan and they'll tell you Ivy doesn't know what's in his own head.

NorthCoast
12-24-2009, 09:54 AM
Long overdue move. Gay's confidence was probably destroyed weeks ago. Poor decision by LeBeau to let him keep bleeding.

I disagree. It must be a very difficult decision when to bench a player. Sometimes you are rewarded more by letting the guy work through his own difficulties which inspires even greater confidence. Sometimes yanking him too soon can destroy his psyche just as badly. The coach has to known the personality he is dealing with to determine the right path.

papillon
12-24-2009, 09:56 AM
Lebeau is still going to have to find a way to hide DeShea his physical skills just aren't where they used to be. I do believe that this will be an upgrade over Willie Gay. On the other hand, I hope that Gay can get his confidence back and play well as the nickel like last year. That may be where he stays in the future, he did well there last year.

Pappy

NorthCoast
12-24-2009, 09:59 AM
Oh, and I wanted to comment on Deshea starting. I don't necessarily think this is a good thing but I understand it may be the best of the few not very attractive options. Deshea is sloooow. I guess the only bright spot is he should not be out of position on any plays, just might be trailing them by 10 yds. Also wondering what this says about Burnett's development? This secondary needs 911.

RuthlessBurgher
12-24-2009, 10:02 AM
And you're always one play away [from an injury to a regular player].

Not so fast, my friend!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3584/3914034139_e18c18daac.jpg

I think if Deshea were to get hurt, they would insert Burnett as a starter and still keep Gay as a nickel corner at this point.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-24-2009, 10:07 AM
It was time because he clearly couldn't work himself out of the hole. I like the move...I just don't like the choice. I feel Burnett working with the first team all week would be a good situation for him. Burnett will get better with more live rounds he sees. It is time. If not Burnett, than Lewis. How can any coach seriously think the rookies would be a liability in comparison. Townsend is fine in the nickel role. Townsend "CAN'T" play an entire game as the starter. It would really surprise me to see him continue to be effective in the later part of the game. They better get Burnett & Lewis significant practice time this week. Someone needs to step up...Fast.

SidSmythe
12-24-2009, 11:06 AM
At least Tomlin is seeing what we are seeing . . . I love me some D.T.!!!

now can he take a long hard look at Arians and say, "this isn't Madden on XBoX"

frankthetank1
12-24-2009, 01:00 PM
Long overdue move. Gay's confidence was probably destroyed weeks ago. Poor decision by LeBeau to let him keep bleeding.

I disagree. It must be a very difficult decision when to bench a player. Sometimes you are rewarded more by letting the guy work through his own difficulties which inspires even greater confidence. Sometimes yanking him too soon can destroy his psyche just as badly. The coach has to known the personality he is dealing with to determine the right path.

too soon would have been after 3 or 4 bad games. not after 14 or 15 bad games. tomlin should have sat him down mid season. he has been horendous

Oviedo
12-24-2009, 01:04 PM
It was time because he clearly couldn't work himself out of the hole. I like the move...I just don't like the choice. I feel Burnett working with the first team all week would be a good situation for him. Burnett will get better with more live rounds he sees. It is time. If not Burnett, than Lewis. How can any coach seriously think the rookies would be a liability in comparison. Townsend is fine in the nickel role. Townsend "CAN'T" play an entire game as the starter. It would really surprise me to see him continue to be effective in the later part of the game. They better get Burnett & Lewis significant practice time this week. Someone needs to step up...Fast.

I would have gone with Burnett as first option too. I think the fact that Lewis has not been in the mix indicates as other posters have said he is ticketed for safety duty next year. I do think we will see a healthy dose of Burnett on Sunday.

RuthlessBurgher
12-24-2009, 01:16 PM
It was time because he clearly couldn't work himself out of the hole. I like the move...I just don't like the choice. I feel Burnett working with the first team all week would be a good situation for him. Burnett will get better with more live rounds he sees. It is time. If not Burnett, than Lewis. How can any coach seriously think the rookies would be a liability in comparison. Townsend is fine in the nickel role. Townsend "CAN'T" play an entire game as the starter. It would really surprise me to see him continue to be effective in the later part of the game. They better get Burnett & Lewis significant practice time this week. Someone needs to step up...Fast.

I would have gone with Burnett as first option too. I think the fact that Lewis has not been in the mix indicates as other posters have said he is ticketed for safety duty next year. I do think we will see a healthy dose of Burnett on Sunday.

We saw a decent amount of Burnett last week, which is why I'm surprised they elevated Townsend instead of Burnett for this game. Our first defensive series against the Packers had Ike and Gay out there. Then the next defensive series had Ike and Burnett out there. Then the third defensive series had Gay and Burnett out there. Deshea seemed to be rotating in among the safeties more than corners.

Shoe
12-24-2009, 01:45 PM
Oh, and I wanted to comment on Deshea starting. I don't necessarily think this is a good thing but I understand it may be the best of the few not very attractive options. Deshea is sloooow. I guess the only bright spot is he should not be out of position on any plays, just might be trailing them by 10 yds. Also wondering what this says about Burnett's development? This secondary needs 911.

The worst thing has happened to Gay: that he has a memory (CB's aren't supposed to), and that he lost his confidence.

As for the move, I agree 100% with the above. I think the move does nothing really: Deshea is probably as exploitable as Gay at this point. I think the move itself is a positive though, because it might help focus in the short-term. Players might concentrate a bit more, wrap up a bit harder, have their eyes open a bit more (for the big-play)...

I like the move!

Steeler Shades
12-24-2009, 01:57 PM
I think the Steelers have known for a couple of seasons that Deshea is getting to old and slow. McFadden was his replacement. Gay is supposed to replace McFadden. At this point it is very possible that Gay was a bad decision and Townsend is the only guy they have with enough experience to step in immediately and "attempt" to handle the job. As desperate as the Steelers are for wins, I don't know if they can depend on an inexperienced Burnett not making a couple of big mistakes while he is learning the job. 8)

Shoe
12-24-2009, 03:50 PM
What we need is a Troy Brown-like move to the other side of the ball... put Santonio or Mike Wallace out there! :)

fordfixer
12-25-2009, 01:26 AM
They need Sweed in the back field, he can catch the ball as well as the rest of them :(