View Full Version : Steelers' McFadden waiting in the wings

06-03-2007, 12:57 AM

Steelers' McFadden waiting in the wings

By John Harris (jharris@tribweb.com)
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deshea Townsend is the Steelers' starting right cornerback until further notice.
If 2007 is going to be season that Bryant McFadden finally replaces Townsend in the lineup, McFadden's going to have to prove he's equally stout against the pass and run. McFadden also needs to influence his coaches, who consider Townsend to be another coach on the field.
McFadden is a second-round draft pick entering his third season, which means he should be right on schedule to become a starter. Teams don't draft players in the second round to stand on the sideline. "Since Day 1, that was my first initiative -- to improve and show everybody that I'm capable of being that guy, being that starter," McFadden said.

McFadden played in all 16 games last season, making nine starts. He filled in for an injured Townsend and also climbed the depth chart when former coach Bill Cowher played musical chairs in the secondary and didn't start left cornerback Ike Taylor for five games.

McFadden, known as B-Mac to teammates and coaches, led the Steelers with three interceptions and had 12 passes defended last season.
He left enough of an impression that defensive backs coach Ray Horton promised an open competition during training camp.
But McFadden seems solidly behind Townsend on the depth chart, with Ricardo Colclough, a second-round draft pick in 2004, also in the mix at right cornerback.
"Nothing's etched in stone. Every year, I approach it like I'm a new guy trying to win a job," said Townsend, who's been a full-time starter since the middle of the 2003 season.
Horton appreciates McFadden because of his youth and upside. He's six years younger than Townsend, and his body has endured less wear and tear. Plus, he's shown that he's a capable player.
"B-Mac's done a fantastic job since his rookie year," Horton said. "He's an up-and-coming player who's big and strong and fast."
Conversely, Horton speaks of Townsend with respect.
The Steelers like that there are no surprises with Townsend, who had two interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles and 13 passes defended last season.
"He understands how to play. He knows every position," Horton said of Townsend, who turns 32 the day before the Steelers' opener at Cleveland. "Teams say they're going to attack this guy, but at the end of the day, he's going to win more than he loses."
During voluntary workouts at the team's South Side facility, Townsend's experience apparently has left a bigger impression with coaches than McFadden's potential.
However, that doesn't mean McFadden can't or won't change those impressions if he continues to follow the learning curve from his rookie season.
"B-Mac's been coming off the bench, but he has the talent of a starter," agent Roosevelt Barnes said of his client. "It's just a matter of them putting him in the starting lineup. When he plays, he makes plays." When McFadden doesn't play, it's usually because of Townsend, who's still standing as the Steelers' starting right cornerback.

K Train
06-03-2007, 01:06 AM
i think hes gonna be great

06-03-2007, 01:13 AM
i think hes gonna be great

I agree K. He has shown a ton of talent.

BlacknGold Bleeder
06-03-2007, 01:18 AM
I agree, once Townsend is put out to pasture, he's a keeper!!

Iron City South
06-03-2007, 09:46 AM
Townsend won't be put to pasture just yet, however I do see him losing his seat this year in our base set and being religated to nickle and/or dime packages only.

K Train
06-03-2007, 09:53 AM
Townsend would be a VERY good nickle/dime guy, he can handle those guys with ease...i like mcfaddens skills to cover those #2 guys better than deshea

06-03-2007, 10:54 AM
Ive always liked Townsend, he's a reliable guy who is definitely a leader in the secondary among so many young players. I think Towsend is the solid Nickle back guy we need and he'll eventually end up there because he is getting a bit older. I don't know that McFadden grabs the starting job before the season starts but I think the more he gets a chance to play he'll be phased into the starting role and Townsend will be moved down but still in a prominent role.

McFadden and Taylor are the future for us, it's time for them both to step up.

Iron City South
06-03-2007, 02:24 PM
Townsend is proof that starting corners in this league need to be 6' or taller to be extremely effective in man coverage. WR's are just getting too damn big and physical.

06-03-2007, 02:59 PM
Up until last year Townsend was doing very well for us, but he fell prey to the horrible year our entire team had. I think he's still got a few good years left in the tank but at this point we do need to utilize the young talent we have and let Deshea move to a Nickle or Dime package.

06-03-2007, 04:08 PM
I agree with ICS--he just doesn't have the height to go against those taller receivers and be successful in knockin the ball away, since they can outreach him by several inches.

But even after sayin that--I still think Deshea's a HECK of a good player, and I like all the rest of the stuff he brings to the team. He's still got a lot of good play in him, that's for sure, and I'm never unhappy to know he's takin the field.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-03-2007, 04:38 PM
Well last year McFadden was our most consistent corner thats for sure....He is a good player and I think he will be a very solid number two corner in the NFL...I think he should be the starter at RCB....But I understand to give him competition...As for DeShea Townsend....He will be very solid as a nickel/dimeback....He can still be very good in that role...especially since he is very good at blitzing....Interesting note on DeShea he is approaching 20 career INTs and 20 career sacks...He currently has 16 INTs and 15.5 sacks...Only one player in NFL history currently has over 20 career sacks/INTs...That is Ronde Barber of the Bucs...So DeShea has a chance to join that club in the next few years...