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Thread: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

  1. #1
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    McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    Healthy McFadden seeks Steelers' starting spot
    By Scott Brown
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Coach Mike Tomlin has taken a simple approach to the OTA practices the Steelers are holding this month and in June: players nursing injuries, including minor ones, will watch more than they will participate.

    "Have to," Tomlin said after practice Wednesday at the team's South Side facility. "The purpose of this is to get better, not get worse, so we'll have to exercise caution."

    The Steelers have not had to handle Bryant McFadden with care during offseason practices, and that is telling of how good the cornerback feels physically after playing at times on two bad ankles in 2007.

    If staying healthy is McFadden's top priority for the 2008 season, then supplanting veteran Deshea Townsend in the starting lineup has to rank No. 1A on his list of goals.

    And time is particularly of the essence for McFadden, 26, since he is entering the final year of his contract.

    The 6-foot, 190-pounder started nine games in 2006, but he played as a reserve/nickel back in all 14 games he dressed for last season.

    McFadden suffered a high-ankle sprain in the fourth game of the season at Arizona. The injury forced him to miss three games, and when he returned to the field, he did so at less than full strength. He sprained his other ankle in the Steelers' 19-16 loss to the Jets in mid-November, and that proved to be another setback in what turned out to be a frustrating season.

    "A lot of people probably didn't understand the pain I was going through playing with two sprained ankles," said McFadden, a second-round pick by the Steelers in the 2005 NFL Draft, "especially playing cornerback."

    McFadden has the size and athleticism to excel as a cornerback, and he has shown flashes during his first three NFL seasons.

    He had one of the more celebrated pass break-ups in recent Steelers history in January 2006, when he made a season-saving play in the end zone near the end of the Steelers' 21-18 upset of the Colts in an AFC Divisional playoff game.

    The following season, McFadden tied for the team lead in interceptions (three) while getting a chance to start in place of the struggling Ike Taylor.

    Taylor, however, is firmly entrenched at one cornerback spot, and the 32-year-old Townsend is the man to beat out opposite Taylor.

    That means McFadden, who made just one interception in 2007, has to do more than just stay healthy to finally crack the starting lineup.

    "I guess just be a difference-maker, make plays, do things that stand out and be consistent," McFadden said on what he needs to go to take the next step in his career. "Last year was kind of tough for me. I wasn't able to be myself like I usually am. I'm blessed to be out here every day running around with my teammates and having fun."

  2. #2
    Hall of Famer AngryAsian's Avatar
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    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    I hope Gay comes from nowhere and becomes the next Asante Samuel for us. I think Gay's quickness is a notch higher than BMac's. The whole injury bug thing always has put a question mark in my brain regarding his durability on a squad that has been historically labelled as bruising and physical. I think we've been very weak in the CB position over the last couple of years. But then again our pass rush has been non-existent. We apply more pressure on opposing qbs then maybe we'll see a rise in our CBs takeaway numbers. We need all the help we can get, considering that we have Ike "hands of stone" Taylor.

  3. #3
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    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    While I like what little I saw of Gay last year, McFadden has the experience and probably the edge for a starting spot if given the opportunity...

  4. #4

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    McFadden is ready to be a starter. He was in the top 10 last year in giving up
    the fewest yards per pass of all corners.

  5. #5

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    I fully expect McFadden to have a career year. I also think Gay will turn heads this season. He has shown flashes of brillance.

  6. #6
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    If he can't move DeShea to the nickle, bench or backup FS then there's no reason to renew that contract next year. He either can do it or he can't.

    DeShea is getting long in the tooth and at some point physical skills deteriorate to the point that experience won't make up for it, DeShea is getting close.

    Pappy


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

  7. #7

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    Quote Originally Posted by papillon
    If he can't move DeShea to the nickle, bench or backup FS then there's no reason to renew that contract next year. He either can do it or he can't.

    DeShea is getting long in the tooth and at some point physical skills deteriorate to the point that experience won't make up for it, DeShea is getting close.

    Pappy
    Most definitely, Pappi. You define the situation exactly, if he is not starting by the end of the year, no contract.
    Quote Originally Posted by asiansteel
    I hope Gay comes from nowhere and becomes the next Asante Samuel for us. I think Gay's quickness is a notch higher than BMac's.
    I would really like to see Gay and BMac as the eventual starters, they both have much better ball skills than Ike, but most of the posters on this board have better hands.
    He who forgets, will be destined to remember.

  8. #8

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    Deshea is a "good" corner, but not the type of player who should be keeping young studs on the bench at this point of his career. If BMac cannot beat him out for a starting spot this year, then he will officially be a disappointment in my book.

  9. #9

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    I think Townsend will lose his starting spot this season...which should make him more signable. I'll tell ya...I would like to have Townsend for a few more years if he would accept a reasonable contract. In the current NFL environment where teams are sporting 4-5 wr sets more often you need to have 4 solid corners. Ike, McFadden, Townsend and Gay would be a very solid crew. Despite popular belief our secondary IMO is top 5. We dont have any stars except Troy but they all can play. Give them some support with a pass rush and watch them shine.

  10. #10

    Re: McFadden Seeks Starting Position

    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnMedGuy
    I think Townsend will lose his starting spot this season...which should make him more signable. I'll tell ya...I would like to have Townsend for a few more years if he would accept a reasonable contract. In the current NFL environment where teams are sporting 4-5 wr sets more often you need to have 4 solid corners. Ike, McFadden, Townsend and Gay would be a very solid crew. Despite popular belief our secondary IMO is top 5. We dont have any stars except Troy but they all can play. Give them some support with a pass rush and watch them shine.
    I agree Shawn about how underated out secondary is. I was totally against the suggestion that we should have drafted a CB early. IMO the biggest question, by far, is the health of Clark. I have been a big fan since he got here, and think that when healthy he is light years ahead of whoever his backup will be.

    I think that Ike bounced back nicely from the ego deconstruction that Cowher served him, and think that he steps his game up even further this year. If one or both of BMac or Gay is ready to start, then having Deshea as your third or fourth CB is a huge luxury.

    Of course the wild card is always Troy. If he can stay healthy, and is utilized properly, this secondary will be a strength of this team. Add to that an improved pass rush - which Woodley alone should provide, and you have the potential to be a dominating D.

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