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With Preseason Over; Will McFadden Be Ready to Go for the Opener?

While the Steelers wrapped up the preseason 3-1 after Thursday’s 33-17 win over the Panthers in Charlotte on Thursday, all focus now turns to getting the roster ready for the Baltimore Ravens and opening day.

Starting cornerback Bryant McFadden has yet to play in 2011 due to what coach Mike Tomlin said is a hamstring/groin injury. That has raised concerns about how healthy McFadden will be for the start of the regular season.

Tomlin said he has been cautious about playing McFadden because he “wants to get him right,” but McFadden’s lack of playing time could make him an even bigger liability in coverage.

The team should get back starting corner Ike Taylor after he had surgery to repair a broken thumb. But if McFadden doesn’t play, he will be replaced by nickel back William Gay. When the team uses five defensive backs, Gay will move to the slot and Keenan Lewis will line up on an outside receiver.

One has to wonder if McFadden indeed can’t go, if the team is going to take a hard look at players released over the next 48 hours to bring in someone for depth or even to play in the secondary.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls

    September 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Your headline: Good question. Another question may be whether McFadden becomes a Cap Casualty (possible, but unlikely).

    Keenan Lewis upped his game and played well this pre-season, so he would be the likely starter if McFadden isn’t ready. William Gay appears to be the designated nickel back to cover slot receivers. Curtis Brown looks like a keeper and a potential starter, perhaps sooner than later. Crezdon Butler and Cortez Allen looked good, too, at times this season. That would make for VERY green secondary, but it is time for an infusion of youth in the secondary and, with the veterans at safety, the Steelers’ coaching staff may be willing to roll the dice on these guys. My bet is McFadden stays on the roster but will not be ready to play on Sept. 11.

    • Daddeeekip

      September 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

      IMHO feel Tomlin has dropped the ball with BMac don’t understand how you make a team from the tub. The word is Donovan Warren didn’t have a upside but how can you give a argument like that when you have Gay and BMac in the secondary. IJS

  2. DrGeorge

    September 3, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Frankly, I was surprised to see D. Warren and Cromartie-Smith on the cut list. Both looked capable in preseason, and I suspect we will see them opposing us in the not too distant future. As for McFadden, ready or not, he is simply not a good cover corner. Our alternatives are not good. K. Lewis is smallish and apparently injury-prone. Wm. Gay is better at nickel. If our young CBs are not good enough to replace McFadden, why were we not more aggressive in free agency? With the new rule change, NFL football is going to look like ICBM warfare this season, with missiles and wideouts flying everywhere. The Steelers D is simply not designed for all out aerial combat, with coverage weaknesses at CB and at S. We will be fine against poor and average NFL teams. But the elite teams have tall, speedy receivers and QBs who can get them the ball. We will have match-up problems against those contending teams.

    If that weren’t bad enough, our O-line continues to suffer worrisome injuries. One way of protecting a weak Defense is to control clock and roll up big scores on offense. Our ability to do that, however, depends on the O-line’s ability to protect Ben and to open holes for the RBs. Sean Kugler has done a masterful job with the O-line, but it’s asking a lot from a patch-work line to dominate top defenses and control clock week in and week out. Against top teams, our Defense is going to have to stand on its own, and right now, the secondary doesn’t look up to the challenge.

  3. 504boy

    September 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Open your eyes, Keenan Lewis IS the answer at LCB. At 6’1″ 209 to call him small is ridiculous. Ever see anyone beat him deep? His completion percentage is great (about 30%). After back surgery in his rookie year he’s had nothing but minor knicks and burises, injury prone? not hardly. True, he had some untimely penalties that landed him in Tomlin’s dog house, but for much too long…they were all over agressiveness, due to a lack of snaps and immaturity. It takes time to become a great coner in this league, I really like where he is at this point in a very young career.

  4. reese

    September 4, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Donovan warren should have made the roster and butler,to me they played better then our lousy corners that do know the playbook front to back,both will be on our active roster if the steelers our able to retain doing the season

  5. reese

    September 4, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Typo->retain them,donovan warren was 1 interception away from making the roster,butler was about 10 tackles away from making the team,I just believe it was a poor evalution of there performance,with the corners 22 and mcfadden there’s no ceiling with them,they play very average week in and week out

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