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hawaiiansteel
07-21-2010, 04:07 PM
Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, July 21, 2010



http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2010-07-20/corners-a.jpg

McFadden and Gay
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- William Gay acknowledges freely that things didn't go as planned during his first year as the Steelers' starting left cornerback.

"Being consistent week in and week out -- I had to learn that the hard way," Gay said Tuesday, following a workout at ESPN Wide World of Sports. "You've got to come to play. I hit some bumpy roads in those 16 weeks."

Given Gay's struggles as a first-time starter -- he didn't start the final two games last season -- the Steelers brought back Bryant McFadden in a draft-day trade and signed him to a three-year contract extension.

Ironically, one of the reasons McFadden joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2009 as a free agent is because Gay replaced him in the starting lineup. The tables have turned, with McFadden taking reps with the Steelers' first-team defense during offseason practices and Gay being featured at nickel back.

With the opening of training camp nine days away, McFadden and Gay have been training side-by-side with speed and conditioning coach Tom Shaw. There have been no outward signs of a rivalry between the players, who within the span of a year have discovered the euphoria and heartbreak that come with being a NFL starting cornerback.

Yesterday, McFadden and Gay lifted weights inside and ran themselves ragged outdoors while exchanging easy conversation with each other and teammates James Farrior and Ike Taylor.

"We're best of (friends) outside of the field and on the field," Gay said of his relationship with McFadden. "You're going to have people saying: 'They're battling for this job.' Being the competitor I am, that was competition coming back.

"(But) I focus on William Gay getting better and how I can do that. Before you can compete, you've got to make sure you're ready."

Said McFadden: "I enjoy working out with teammates and players that play the same position because it forces the issue for me to continue to get better."

The past couple of years reaffirmed for McFadden, a second-round draft pick in 2005, why it's important to take nothing for granted and to always expect the unexpected.

"Every year is a proving point, regardless if you're a 10-year veteran or a rookie," McFadden said. "You've always got to prove yourself over and over again in this league because nothing's guaranteed."

McFadden said signing a free-agent contract with Arizona and then being traded to the Steelers after one season taught him a valuable lesson about life in the NFL.

"Sometimes, it's good to see how things (are) done on the other side," McFadden said of his stint with the Cardinals. "I'm happy to be back."

Gay, meanwhile, said he was happy when he discovered McFadden had been traded to the Steelers, even though it may have cost him his starting job.

"When they brought him back, I was at his camp (in Hollywood, Fla.)," Gay said. "He came over and said, 'I'm back.' I said, 'cool.' I was happy for him, happy for the team.

"I wasn't worried about, 'he's coming back, do I still have my job?' I looked at it as a friend coming back. He never should have left."

Yesterday, McFadden folded his arms and leaned back when asked about his competition with Gay, who was sitting beside him.

Clearly, McFadden, who has 34 career starts, sees himself entrenched as the starter over Gay, a fifth-round pick in 2007 with 18 career starts.

"I can't afford to allow somebody to outwork me," McFadden said.

Still, McFadden focused on team goals rather than individual accomplishments when reflecting upon his return to the Steelers.

"It's the closest thing to a family that you can have outside of your real family," McFadden said. "A lot of teams don't (have) that, especially when you've got somebody you feel as though you might be competing with them. You might not talk with them outside the locker room.

"Here? Who cares?

"It's not one of those teams where you only see your teammates at work. For us to be successful, we've got to enjoy being with each other off the field and on."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 91276.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_691276.html)

Iron Shiek
07-21-2010, 04:10 PM
They are saying all the right things, and its nice to hear. Lets hope they bring the best out of each other.

I'm glad McFadden got to experience that the grass might not always be greener on the other side, and still had a chance to come back. Not many players get that opportunity. Step up and show you are worth all that effort now.

Shoe
07-22-2010, 02:03 PM
I don't think there can be much of a competition. Short of Jamarcus Russell, I can't think of a player who fell more flat on their face last year, in getting their shot, than Gay. I think Gay knows it, the FO knows it, McFadden knows it, and we all know it.

Ghost
07-22-2010, 02:57 PM
If McFadden can't beat out Gay, who was the worst player on the field for either team when he was out there, he should be cut.

feltdizz
07-22-2010, 03:00 PM
I don't think there can be much of a competition. Short of Jamarcus Russell, I can't think of a player who fell more flat on their face last year, in getting their shot, than Gay. I think Gay knows it, the FO knows it, McFadden knows it, and we all know it.

Gay was not that bad. He wasn't good last year but he wasn't that bad either. I think any player needs a second year in our system before evalutating him. Troy wasn't a superstar his first year.

Not comparing them... just sayin.

hawaiiansteel
07-22-2010, 03:18 PM
If McFadden can't beat out Gay, who was the worst player on the field for either team when he was out there, he should be cut.


I know the Steelers' defensive scheme and system suits McFadden much better, but he was outright terrible last season in Arizona. Go watch the Cardinals game against the Packers and you will find yourself wondering if BMac can handle a starting position in the NFL.

RuthlessBurgher
07-22-2010, 03:41 PM
If McFadden can't beat out Gay, who was the worst player on the field for either team when he was out there, he should be cut.


I know the Steelers' defensive scheme and system suits McFadden much better, but he was outright terrible last season in Arizona. Go watch the Cardinals game against the Packers and you will find yourself wondering if BMac can handle a starting position in the NFL.

You certainly have to wonder why Arizona was willing to part with him (and throw in a 6th round pick as well) for a mere 5th round pick. It's not like he was waking and baking and telling people on Twitter to kill urself.

cruzer8
07-22-2010, 03:54 PM
If McFadden can't beat out Gay, who was the worst player on the field for either team when he was out there, he should be cut.


I know the Steelers' defensive scheme and system suits McFadden much better, but he was outright terrible last season in Arizona. Go watch the Cardinals game against the Packers and you will find yourself wondering if BMac can handle a starting position in the NFL.

BMac is a great tackler and hence is a perfect corner in our system.

Dee Dub
07-22-2010, 05:32 PM
If the Steelers are saying that these two are competing for the position then that is a huge mistake on their part. How can you do that when you trade for a player, take on his salary, a salary that you thought was too much to take on before he jetted off into free agency, and then you go public this offseason claiming you need to upgrade that position?

There is no competition. This position is B-Mac's. There has to be some justification for bringing him back.

ANPSTEEL
07-22-2010, 11:00 PM
If the Steelers are saying that these two are competing for the position then that is a huge mistake on their part. How can you do that when you trade for a player, take on his salary, a salary that you thought was too much to take on before he jetted off into free agency, and then you go public this offseason claiming you need to upgrade that position?

There is no competition. This position is B-Mac's. There has to be some justification for bringing him back.


Maybe the "illusion" of competition is to minimize the glaring error made last season.

pepsyman1
07-22-2010, 11:24 PM
All I know is that I cringe every time I see Gay in pass coverage. I know we tend to have our corners play further off of receivers than some defenses, but Gay usually played so far off that whatever yardage was needed by the opposition for a first was a done deal by simply throwing to whoever Gay was covering. Consistently giving up 8-12 yard shots uncontested was painful to watch.

hawaiiansteel
07-23-2010, 12:44 AM
All I know is that I cringe every time I see Gay in pass coverage. I know we tend to have our corners play further off of receivers than some defenses, but Gay usually played so far off that whatever yardage was needed by the opposition for a first was a done deal by simply throwing to whoever Gay was covering. Consistently giving up 8-12 yard shots uncontested was painful to watch.



and Gay is such a good tackler as well... :roll:


http://fansided.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/purplegay.jpg

stlrz d
07-23-2010, 07:49 AM
If the Steelers are saying that these two are competing for the position then that is a huge mistake on their part. How can you do that when you trade for a player, take on his salary, a salary that you thought was too much to take on before he jetted off into free agency, and then you go public this offseason claiming you need to upgrade that position?

There is no competition. This position is B-Mac's. There has to be some justification for bringing him back.


Maybe the "illusion" of competition is to minimize the glaring error made last season.

BMac bolted for a big paycheck. How was that an error on the part of the Steelers?

Gay filled in nicely for him in '08 and all indications were that he was going to be a suitable replacement. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't.

As for the competition, why wouldn't the team want to keep these guys hungry by telling them it's a competition even if they know it isn't? What harm comes from pushing two players by telling them they are fighting for the same job?

frankthetank1
07-23-2010, 08:08 AM
If the Steelers are saying that these two are competing for the position then that is a huge mistake on their part. How can you do that when you trade for a player, take on his salary, a salary that you thought was too much to take on before he jetted off into free agency, and then you go public this offseason claiming you need to upgrade that position?

There is no competition. This position is B-Mac's. There has to be some justification for bringing him back.

why should the job be handed to bmac? his salary isnt that big and it isnt all that much more than what the steelers offered bmac originally. i think he only makes a few mill a year. its not like he makes so much money you cant sit him on the bench. i think you are right about the starting job being bmac's to lose. bmac is a lot better than gay. it would be foolish to just give him the starting job though. competition brings out the best performance.

Oviedo
07-23-2010, 09:34 AM
[quote="Dee Dub":104rlf0o]If the Steelers are saying that these two are competing for the position then that is a huge mistake on their part. How can you do that when you trade for a player, take on his salary, a salary that you thought was too much to take on before he jetted off into free agency, and then you go public this offseason claiming you need to upgrade that position?

There is no competition. This position is B-Mac's. There has to be some justification for bringing him back.


Maybe the "illusion" of competition is to minimize the glaring error made last season.

BMac bolted for a big paycheck. How was that an error on the part of the Steelers?

Gay filled in nicely for him in '08 and all indications were that he was going to be a suitable replacement. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't.

As for the competition, why wouldn't the team want to keep these guys hungry by telling them it's a competition even if they know it isn't? What harm comes from pushing two players by telling them they are fighting for the same job?[/quote:104rlf0o]

Correct. There was no error (again amatuer NFL front office experts making conclusions without knowing anything). The reason that Bmac left was that his agent was trying to play a game with a unusually short contract so he could get back into the open market faster after the new CBA which he was gambling would lead to a bigger payday since the market (and value) they expected for Bmac never developed. IIRC the Steelers actually offered an equivalent contract for Bmac except they insisted a longer deal.

BradshawsHairdresser
07-23-2010, 09:41 AM
Regardless of who wins the battle between Gay and McFadden, this will likely continue to be a weak spot for our defense. Hopefully one of the younger CBs on the roster will provide some major improvement.

Shoe
07-23-2010, 01:45 PM
I don't think there can be much of a competition. Short of Jamarcus Russell, I can't think of a player who fell more flat on their face last year, in getting their shot, than Gay. I think Gay knows it, the FO knows it, McFadden knows it, and we all know it.

Gay was not that bad. He wasn't good last year but he wasn't that bad either. I think any player needs a second year in our system before evalutating him. Troy wasn't a superstar his first year.

Not comparing them... just sayin.

Well, you are considering Jamarcus' draft status in the equation, and yeah... in the end, he was worse. But how can you say Gay was not that bad? He was so bad that they ended up benching him at the end of the year. And you say he needs a 2nd year in our system--it's his FOURTH year (in our system). I think you mean as a starter.

But still, you can't tell me that him being labeled "a starter" makes him any more/less accountable for last year's debacle of a season. I mean, he was on the field quite a bit in a nickel role in his first couple years.

I just think he doesn't have the physical ability to consistently match up with the #1' & #2 WR's in this league. As a nickel (vs. the #3's & 4's), I guess he still has value. But I mean, he flopped last year... I don't see how you can see it another way.

feltdizz
07-23-2010, 03:01 PM
I don't think there can be much of a competition. Short of Jamarcus Russell, I can't think of a player who fell more flat on their face last year, in getting their shot, than Gay. I think Gay knows it, the FO knows it, McFadden knows it, and we all know it.

Gay was not that bad. He wasn't good last year but he wasn't that bad either. I think any player needs a second year in our system before evalutating him. Troy wasn't a superstar his first year.

Not comparing them... just sayin.

Well, you are considering Jamarcus' draft status in the equation, and yeah... in the end, he was worse. But how can you say Gay was not that bad? He was so bad that they ended up benching him at the end of the year. And you say he needs a 2nd year in our system--it's his FOURTH year (in our system). I think you mean as a starter.

But still, you can't tell me that him being labeled "a starter" makes him any more/less accountable for last year's debacle of a season. I mean, he was on the field quite a bit in a nickel role in his first couple years.

I just think he doesn't have the physical ability to consistently match up with the #1' & #2 WR's in this league. As a nickel (vs. the #3's & 4's), I guess he still has value. But I mean, he flopped last year... I don't see how you can see it another way.

Yes, as a starter. He was on the field a lot as a nickel and he was impressive. Impressive enough to let Bmac walk.... both of these guys looked bad as starters last year.

cruzer8
07-23-2010, 04:42 PM
I don't think there can be much of a competition. Short of Jamarcus Russell, I can't think of a player who fell more flat on their face last year, in getting their shot, than Gay. I think Gay knows it, the FO knows it, McFadden knows it, and we all know it.

Gay was not that bad. He wasn't good last year but he wasn't that bad either. I think any player needs a second year in our system before evalutating him. Troy wasn't a superstar his first year.

Not comparing them... just sayin.

Well, you are considering Jamarcus' draft status in the equation, and yeah... in the end, he was worse. But how can you say Gay was not that bad? He was so bad that they ended up benching him at the end of the year. And you say he needs a 2nd year in our system--it's his FOURTH year (in our system). I think you mean as a starter.

But still, you can't tell me that him being labeled "a starter" makes him any more/less accountable for last year's debacle of a season. I mean, he was on the field quite a bit in a nickel role in his first couple years.

I just think he doesn't have the physical ability to consistently match up with the #1' & #2 WR's in this league. As a nickel (vs. the #3's & 4's), I guess he still has value. But I mean, he flopped last year... I don't see how you can see it another way.

Yes, as a starter. He was on the field a lot as a nickel and he was impressive. Impressive enough to let Bmac walk.... both of these guys looked bad as starters last year.

BMac was playing in a system that required him to play more press coverage, which is not his strength. That's why he looked bad in AZ.