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83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 07:49 AM
McFadden waits and waits
But turn to start nowhere in sight
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If there is a competition to be the starter at right cornerback in the Steelers' defense, perhaps someone should tell Bryant McFadden.

While other positions have rotated starters in training camp and preseason games, including in the secondary, McFadden wonders when he will get his turn.

While players such as center Sean Mahan, offensive tackle Willie Colon and safety Anthony Smith have received at least one week to work with their respective first-team units, McFadden is going through another week at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe as the backup to veteran Deshea Townsend at cornerback.

Just as he has every week since the start of training camp.

"That's how it's been since day one," McFadden said. "It's pretty much been that same kind of deal."

And that is not likely to change this week, either, when the Steelers play their third preseason game Saturday night against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md.

McFadden and Townsend were expected to be among the featured combatants in one of the battles at training camp, along with Smith and Ryan Clark at free safety, Colon and Max Starks at right tackle and Mahan and Chukky Okobi at center. The gauntlet was thrown down by coach Mike Tomlin in the offseason, when he cited right cornerback as one of the positions open for competition.

Instead, Townsend has started both games at right cornerback and continues to work with the first-team defense in practice this week.

"It's my job to go play," Townsend said. "The coaches will make a decision. As long as you see it like that, then you don't worry about the speculation."

Nonetheless, it has caused McFadden, a No. 2 draft choice in 2005, to wonder what happened to the competition.

"I was thinking the same thing," he said. "I really didn't ask any questions. I just come out here and play my best and do what I do. I don't know how it's going to go the rest of camp, but I'm still with the second team."

And it appears it might remain that way for a while.

Tomlin was noncommittal yesterday when asked if McFadden will eventually get a turn with the first-team defense.

"I kind of like the way it's going right now," Tomlin said. "But we'll remain open-minded about that."

Just last week, Tomlin appeared to boost McFadden's chances when he said, "Bryant McFadden is a young guy that's on the rise. He's got starter skills. The other guys, of course, have had solid camps. We're just going to continue to watch that situation develop."

For now, though, McFadden is the team's nickel back, which means he is the extra player in the secondary when the Steelers use five defensive backs. In that scheme, he lines up at right cornerback, and Townsend, a 10-year veteran, moves to the slot to take advantage of his blitzing ability.

Townsend is accustomed to the role: He was the team's nickel back before he became a starter in the second half of the 2003 season.

"When I first came in, that's what I always played, so I'm comfortable at it," Townsend said. "You got to do a lot of talking and you have to get guys lined up in the right spots."

McFadden started nine games last season, including the final seven when Townsend missed two games with an injury and Ike Taylor was benched by former coach Bill Cowher. McFadden also started two other games when Townsend was injured but still played as an extra back in the nickel and dime defense.

McFadden finished tied for the team lead with three interceptions and had a big game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making 12 tackles and doing something the Steelers had a difficult time performing last season -- stopping a fade pass in the end zone with an interception.

"I didn't come here to always be second-fiddle," McFadden said. "My goal was to learn and get myself prepared to make that next step, which is to be a starter. It's going to happen. That's the way I feel. I'm not really waiting for it. I'm just trying to progress. Whatever happens, happens."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07227/809480-66.stm

SCSTILLER
08-15-2007, 08:01 AM
IMO McFadden deserves his chance to compete for the starting position. Townsend is decent, but McFadden would be a big upgrade at the position. He is younger, faster, and plays smart also. McFadden and Ike starting at the CB positions would give us one of the best secondary's in the league.

RoethlisBURGHer
08-15-2007, 08:55 AM
IMO McFadden deserves his chance to compete for the starting position. Townsend is decent, but McFadden would be a big upgrade at the position. He is younger, faster, and plays smart also. McFadden and Ike starting at the CB positions would give us one of the best secondary's in the league.

I agree and I think McFadden will get his chance to start in the final two preseason games.

Atlanta Dan
08-15-2007, 08:57 AM
Since it is not exactly Mel Blount who is starting ahead of him, maybe McFadden simply is not as good as we hope him to be.

The coaches presumably would like to upgrade from Deshea if someone would step up.

fansince'76
08-15-2007, 09:00 AM
Since it is not exactly Mel Blount who is starting ahead of him, maybe McFadden simply is not as good as we hope him to be.

The coaches presumably would like to upgrade from Deshea if someone would step up.

:iagree: I also think this is nothing more than a case of "not cutting the mustard."

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 09:05 AM
From what I've heard, Townsend is looking pretty damn good up in camp and actually looks better this year in camp than years past. If Deshea is at the level reported, then I guess he has earned the start. It's not as if we are dealing with a coach who will automatically choose the veteran over the younger guy. Those days are long gone.

In a perfect world, I would have liked to have seen McFadden take over this year and see Deshea play more nickel back. I feel he is better suited playing nickel back at this point in his career and let the younger and faster McFadden line up across from a #1 WR.

But as Dan stated and going by reports out of camp, they must see something in Townsend at this point in the season that they are not seeing in McFadden. I could easily see that changing before the season is over, but at this point it looks as if Deshea will be the starter come 9/9.

Jman
08-15-2007, 09:11 AM
Ah the Steelers secondary. My secondary concern behind special teams. I don't worry about Ike, because coach has him doing well, and I think he is an above average player.

Last year, I think McFadden did well when he played. He beats Deshea in stats last year. I think he is a solid cornerback; besides, Champ Bailey had only 3 picks when he left Washington, and now look at him (10 last year). I'm not saying McFadden is champ, but I'd say it's a good time for change.

Parker4.1
08-15-2007, 09:54 AM
I like McFadden

The Duke
08-15-2007, 11:35 AM
Well, as long as we got Ike as #1 CB I'm happy, the rest CB positions are up for grabs. Maybe not this year but next, but Bryant has got to start. He's really proved himself last season and in this year's preseason. Someone who should be starting is Anthony Smith though :thumbsup:

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-15-2007, 12:21 PM
I havn't been impressed with Deshea in years....he is good off the blitz but has awful reaction times to the pass. I was truly hoping that McFadden would step up and be our #2 CB. I wonder if this is more of a matter of McFadden not stepping up to the plate...than it is of Deshea showing us something more that the last two years?

Hines0wnz
08-15-2007, 03:57 PM
This has been a sore spot for me for as long as I can remember. DeShea is a great corner blitzer but he has never been anything but average at coverage. McFadden looked great at times when he played last season so there must be some unknown factor that is keeping him out of the mix for RCB. Hopefully McFadden will stay hungry and not get discouraged.

jjpro11
08-15-2007, 04:35 PM
it sounds like he is getting a chance now.

http://news.steelers.com/article/79976/

STEELERS NOTES: CB Bryant McFadden and WR Santonio Holmes both have been working with the first team this week and will get a chance to make their cases for starting jobs. When asked if the moves were permanent, Tomlin said, "We're still shopping. We're defined by what we do in stadiums on Sundays" ? Ben Roethlisberger was in uniform for the afternoon session, but it was a regularly scheduled day off for him in terms of throwing. Tomlin said Charlie Batch will not throw on Thursday ? Najeh Davenport had some discomfort in his foot and did not complete the afternoon practice. Tomlin said a decision on him will be made on Thursday ? Lawrence Timmons took part in 11-on-11 for the first time.

MasterOfPuppets
08-15-2007, 05:18 PM
somehow i don't think crying to the media is helping his cause.....:coffee:

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 06:05 PM
somehow i don't think crying to the media is helping his cause.....:coffee:

You really think he was crying MOP? I'm just asking. It seemed to me that the media asked him what was up and he gave a "it is what it is" type answer. Maybe that's just the way I interpreted it. Then again, I'm used to hearing Ward, Faneca and Roethlisberger complain about one thing or another so far this season so I guess B-Mac's comments were mild in comparison. :wink02:

Preacher
08-15-2007, 06:17 PM
somehow i don't think crying to the media is helping his cause.....:coffee:

Why not? It seemed to help Ced's cause.

SteelFist
08-15-2007, 07:05 PM
it sounds like he is getting a chance now.

http://news.steelers.com/article/79976/

STEELERS NOTES: CB Bryant McFadden and WR Santonio Holmes both have been working with the first team this week and will get a chance to make their cases for starting jobs. When asked if the moves were permanent, Tomlin said, "We're still shopping. We're defined by what we do in stadiums on Sundays" ? Ben Roethlisberger was in uniform for the afternoon session, but it was a regularly scheduled day off for him in terms of throwing. Tomlin said Charlie Batch will not throw on Thursday ? Najeh Davenport had some discomfort in his foot and did not complete the afternoon practice. Tomlin said a decision on him will be made on Thursday ? Lawrence Timmons took part in 11-on-11 for the first time.

I don't understand how the Postgazette article comes out today stating McFadden hasn't practiced with the 1st team. But then this afternoon, Steelers.com reports he's been practicing with the 1st team this week....:confused:

MasterOfPuppets
08-15-2007, 07:08 PM
You really think he was crying MOP? I'm just asking. It seemed to me that the media asked him what was up and he gave a "it is what it is" type answer. Maybe that's just the way I interpreted it. Then again, I'm used to hearing Ward, Faneca and Roethlisberger complain about one thing or another so far this season so I guess B-Mac's comments were mild in comparison. :wink02:
here i'm assumming they asked about the first team
"That's how it's been since day one," McFadden said. "It's pretty much been that same kind of deal."

here he's complaining about not getting reps with the first team.....
Nonetheless, it has caused McFadden, a No. 2 draft choice in 2005, to wonder what happened to the competition.
"I was thinking the same thing,"

and here's the big (semi threat ,semi whine) finish....
"I didn't come here to always be second-fiddle,"

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 07:14 PM
and here's the big (semi threat ,semi whine) finish....
"I didn't come here to always be second-fiddle,"

Good point. The last comment he could have passed on. Like I said, I guess I'm just used to the other "more straight to the point, people who are not even here anymore" complaints/shots. :smile:

Well, he's getting his chance now. It's up to McFadden to step up. Like AtlantaDan stated, it's not as if he's going up against a Mel Blount type gifted DB.

Jman
08-15-2007, 07:18 PM
I havn't been impressed with Deshea in years....he is good off the blitz but has awful reaction times to the pass.

:iagree:

SteelFist
08-15-2007, 07:26 PM
here i'm assumming they asked about the first team
"That's how it's been since day one," McFadden said. "It's pretty much been that same kind of deal."

here he's complaining about not getting reps with the first team.....
Nonetheless, it has caused McFadden, a No. 2 draft choice in 2005, to wonder what happened to the competition.
"I was thinking the same thing,"

and here's the big (semi threat ,semi whine) finish....
"I didn't come here to always be second-fiddle,"

I didn't mind his 1st two comments.....I don't like the last one though.

tony hipchest
08-15-2007, 07:32 PM
and here's the big (semi threat ,semi whine) finish....
"I didn't come here to always be second-fiddle,"

is that a threat or a promise? its definitely not a whine.

heres the deal. we already know clark and townsend arent going anywhere this year. if they were cut, they would quickly be snatched up for a starting job on half the teams.

if all things are equal, the start is going to go to the more veteran and higher paid player. we have a good problem of having 6 solid players to fill 6 slots. we may just get our moneys worth out of townsend and clark as we continue to develop smith and mcfadden and allow them more time to learn the complex system. its not like a. samuel became a gamebreaker with the patriots overnight.

the benefit of this is we can sign smith and mcfadden to a long term extension after this season at a more favorable price. its obvious they are the future and the contracts (price and duration) of townsend and clark dictate as much.

with alot of teams running a nickelback in about 30% of plays nowadays, you can almost consider the 3rd cb as a starter. it has already been said that in these situations that townsend w2ill shift to the slot and mcfadden will cover the #2. its not like he is being slighted. he has an important role.

unfortunately last year seemed to show teams isolating their 3rd (usually tall) wr on townsend in 1 on 1 coverage. while he was usually glued to the receivers back, he would get physically out jumped for perfectly thrown balls.

Welcome To Smashmouth
08-15-2007, 09:16 PM
Someone just point out McFadden's lack of production for the small amount of time he's gotten...please. He has done nothing but impressed me, and as we took him in the 2nd round the year after taking Colclough in the 2nd (and seen how badly Colclough bust) don't you at least get fed up w/ the fact that two years back-to-back we've got our 2nd round picks as 3rd and 4th-5th strings?? Not that if the two ahead of them were standout players you should bench them just cuz McFadden went in the 2nd and needs his time to shine,
but WE DO NOT HAVE A SHUTDOWN CORNER. WE DO NOT HAVE A #1 CORNER. WE HAVE THREE #2 CORNERS AND OF THE THREE MCFADDEN HAS BEEN THE ONLY ONE SHAFED. GIVE THE KID A DAMN CHANCE FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!!!

Haiku_Dirtt
08-15-2007, 09:40 PM
while he was usually glued to the receivers back, he would get physically out jumped for perfectly thrown balls.

That happened! Deshea isn't growing any taller. Wouldn't it be nice if perfect coverage were enough?

First and foremost. McFadden didn't come here to be 'first fiddle' either. He was drafted to do what he is told to do. And if that means playing 'second fiddle' then just play the freakin' music. But since Ike's rise from self-promoter to the Cowher doghouse it doesn't shock me that McFadden is making noise.

It would help his cause if he didn't play so damn loose in front of the first down marker.

SteelFist
08-15-2007, 09:44 PM
It would help his cause if he didn't play so damn loose in front of the first down marker.

Sometimes I think its by design that they play "off man" coverage.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-15-2007, 10:24 PM
Sometimes I think its by design that they play "off man" coverage.

And I get that. It's a question of versatility. Does he always know where he is when the field is stretched? I dunno. I used to think he wasn't getting enough playing time.

I've always liked McFadden. Can he be the complete player before his contract expires is a question I'd like an answer for this season?

Crushzilla
08-15-2007, 10:32 PM
First and foremost. McFadden didn't come here to be 'first fiddle' either. He was drafted to do what he is told to do. And if that means playing 'second fiddle' then just play the freakin' music. But since Ike's rise from self-promoter to the Cowher doghouse it doesn't shock me that McFadden is making noise.

McFadden's statement that he didn't come here to play second fiddle is only appropriate, in my opinion, when its a FREE AGENT who signed with a team who has basically guaranteed him a starting role.

For example, if Nate Clements were not getting a chance in Niners camp to compete for a starting role. Which would be ridiculous...

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-18-2007, 05:27 AM
unfortunately last year seemed to show teams isolating their 3rd (usually tall) wr on townsend in 1 on 1 coverage. while he was usually glued to the receivers back, he would get physically out jumped for perfectly thrown balls.

Excellent point Tony....I have said in other threads that Teams with legit 2nd and 3rd recievers seem to hand Deshea his lunch...Say what you will about Ike...but he has virtually shut down Chad Johnson over the last two years....But look at the production from T.J. and Chris Henry..and you begin to see that Deshea cant handle tall athletic revievers.