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Old 07-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #1
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Default Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, July 21, 2010



Video is on the link

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/pitt.../s_691276.html
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

I just can't see Gay competing as the starter unless he has stepped up his play since last year.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

In all honesty, I think folks read too deep into our secondary problems last year sometimes.

Some think it was because Polamalu got hurt. That DID contribute, but I point out-- we had the #1 defense AND the #1 pass defense in 2007 when Troy was out for half the season.

Some think that William Gay "sux". He may not be the best CB in the league, but I recall him sharing starting time with McFadden in 2008, and that defense was lights out.

I think our defensive woes last season can be summed up in one word: HANGOVER. Sure, there were other contributing factors-- we played a first place schedule, and being SB champs, you come into the next year with a big bullseye on your back. Teams spend the whole offseason studying tape and trying to find holes in your armor, which they usually succeed in doing, given enough months in the film room. And with the demonicaly possessed defense we had in 2008, you can bet teams wanted to "beat them" more than anything.

That is why I get a laugh out of Jets homers right now. They think they have the #1 defense this year again-- no chance. A couple teams boosted the Jets' numbers by laying down and resting starters to get ready for the playoffs. The HANGOVER has already hit them-- Revis thinks he doesn't have to practice or go to camp, Cromartie is ****y and talking, and teams have been studying them in the film room for the last 6 months. They are a one-hit wonder destined to slide back into obscurity this year when the Steel Curtain v2.0 takes that #1 ranking back...
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

Honestly, our defense got gashed and gouged last season.

We have had an issue for a few years now with getting off the field on 3rd and long. Third an 12-15 for the opposing offense is a bad situation for our defense. Third and 20 is even worse.

Nothing gets under the skin of our players on defense worse than giving up a new 1st down on 3rd and forever. And last year it happened time and again.

I saw the meltdown coming last summer in camp ... Isaac Redman had the starting defensive front 7 slamming their helmets to the ground after he continually gouged them for TD runs in the goalline drills. That defensive unit carried that negativity and failure into the season with them. There was a leadership problem there last year!

We need our defense to get that nasty chip back on their collective shoulder! Pittsburgh Steelers defense (especially at home games) was the meanest nastiest defense in the NFL for years and years! ... we need THAT edge back again!
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

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Originally Posted by The Lakelander View Post
Honestly, our defense got gashed and gouged last season.

We have had an issue for a few years now with getting off the field on 3rd and long. Third an 12-15 for the opposing offense is a bad situation for our defense. Third and 20 is even worse.

Nothing gets under the skin of our players on defense worse than giving up a new 1st down on 3rd and forever. And last year it happened time and again.

I saw the meltdown coming last summer in camp ... Isaac Redman had the starting defensive front 7 slamming their helmets to the ground after he continually gouged them for TD runs in the goalline drills. That defensive unit carried that negativity and failure into the season with them. There was a leadership problem there last year!

We need our defense to get that nasty chip back on their collective shoulder! Pittsburgh Steelers defense (especially at home games) was the meanest nastiest defense in the NFL for years and years! ... we need THAT edge back again!
I so agree with your thought process. Those 3rd downs that our defense is normally known for holding on was not there and we continually gave up big yardage 3rd downs not the 1 & 2 yard ones. Also who do we have on defense now that has that nasty edge or chip on his shoulders that will get in the face of other players and demand better of them. That's one thing I miss about Joey Porter.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

And then there are those of us who hope that Burnette and Lewis are in the mix as well, and that one of them improves enough to beat out McFadden and Gay both.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

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And then there are those of us who hope that Burnette and Lewis are in the mix as well, and that one of them improves enough to beat out McFadden and Gay both.
Yes that would be great but Mcfadden & Gay have the edge by already being very familiar with the play book which gives them an edge. Unless Burnette & Lewis are that much more talented they will not win the starting job. Can't wait to see what happens.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

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. Also who do we have on defense now that has that nasty edge or chip on his shoulders that will get in the face of other players and demand better of them. That's one thing I miss about Joey Porter.
HUH???

Really? These dudes ain't nasty?
James "the hitman" Harrison reminds me of Greg Lloyd. The man is nastier and just as explosive as JP. Only without the mouth!
Woodley is a bad mutha****er...he loves to violently drive players into the groud.
Farrior is a step slow, but still brings his helmet through the hit.


Anyways Bmac deserves the job, gay will be a great nickel back. I will always remember what Bmac did against the Colts in the 05' divisional playoffs and how he held Reggie Wayne in check.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gay, McFadden competing for starting spot

I agree with you Steelerbum ... that we still have players with an "edge" out there on our defense ...

Troy brings an "edge" with his style of play moreso than with his mouth ... he is an intimidating player ...

Harrison and Woodley bring that "edge" too ...

But collectively the entire unit has gone somewhat soft ... it is just a casual observation from my rediculously unimportant fan's viewpoint.

Individual players may have attitudes and may be intimidating players ... that's great! ... but when the entire unit is playing on the same page and playing with an intimidating brand of swagger and effectiveness ... THAT's SPECIAL! ...

We need THAT form of defense back in the Burgh in 2010 ... the kind of defense that 65,000 screaming fans inside the stadium absoutely know will be getting off the football field on 3rd and 19 ... !!!!!!!!!!!
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