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Could Steelers Cornerback William Gay Really Make A Move To Safety?


Bob Labriola had an interesting tweet this morning in which he threw out the notion that he always thought cornerback William Gay could transition to safety. He wonders whether he will now that we know that Will Allen will not be back in 2013 after signing with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday.

While I suppose it could be a possibility in the case of an emergency, I can\'t see that happening at this stage of Gay\'s career. This is not Rod Woodson that we are talking about here.

Now that Keenan Lewis has been allowed to leave for the New Orleans Saints uncontested, the Steelers will need Gay to hold down the nickel and backup cornerback spots until someone else can rip that job from him.

While Gay has generally been regarded as a reliable tackler over the course of his career, his build is not one of a safety that could be relied upon consistently to offer run support the way that Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark have done over the course of their careers.

Ask yourself this question: When was the last time that you remember Gay making a highlight worthy hit? Does anyone remember what Adrian Peterson did to Gay in Week 7 of the 2009 season? I realize that was just one play, but the last thing that you want is an undersized safety consistently being put into a situation such as that.

Gay is smart and understands the game better than most give him credit for, but with that being said, it would take quite a bit of practice time for him to transition to safety. He would also likely need to spend extra time in the weight room as well. That\'s time the Steelers simply don\'t have right now.

While I respect Labriola\'s opinion, I would be shocked if we ever saw Gay make the move to safety. He\'s just not built for it, and it\'s not what he does.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Gay is a capable tackler and can play nickel and dime, but he is in no way a Safety. He weighs around 190lbs, no way he could put on the weight necessary to play Safety without losing quickness

    I remember a few yrs ago Colbert or Tomlin referring to Gay as a CB that plays and moves around ‘like’ a Safety, but that was only in reference to his style of play.

    As Bryan mentioned, with K.Lewis gone, we need Gay at CB

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    Gay can TACKLE he’s not a HITTER..but I am concerned about the back up Situation. They must have a plan letting Will Allen go.

  • gamba13

    what about Curtis Brown at safety?

  • steeltown

    I fully expect them to spend a high draft on SS

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Labriola has made idiotic statements in the past about Steeler players, that is just his latest baloney. Labriola has been a shill for the Steelers. Long ago players who stunk, Labriola used to write that they were great, just to suck up to continue getting interviews from Steelers. The truthfulness dropoff from Bouchette to Labriola is like night & day. For any honest insight about Steelers players, Bouchette is who to go to.

    Might as well suggest move Gay to nose tackle while at it, since obvious mismatch doesnt matter.

  • Garrett Hunt

    That was an amazing play by Peterson. Sad to think that would be flagged now.

  • kakello34

    I think they go with Golden as one backup and draft a safety in the 3rd round or so.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    One injury = Golden? Two = Golden and DC Smith? Could Gay be any worse?

  • redneckmuslim

    Earlier this year, Labriola wrote an interesting story about Carnell switching positions. So maybe it’s just on his mind:

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Combine-of-value-to-Lake-then-and-now/4925f7f0-8b7b-49ae-ba67-85ce7468fdcf

    However, as Dave points out, it seems silly to bring Gay back just to have him spend the whole offseason switching positions. If we wanted a safety, I think we would have brought in a safety. Besides, switching from one skill position to another in the NFL appears to be reserved for major talents that you want to keep on the field no matter what. That ain’t Gay.

  • walter mason

    Why not? He cant play CB.

  • dgh57

    Dumb idea by Labriola!!! That’s where the draft and free agency come in handy to solve problems with your roster!!

  • Marky Zeigler

    I always though Gay was at his best when moving forward.. (blitzing) or playing off coverage, and keeping his guy in front of him… Safety would provide that asset with him, however, he isn’t nearly big or strong enough to stop most running backs coming full steam up the middle.

  • walter mason

    If Gay made the tackle, Gay would probably have been flagged for helmet to helmet Sometimes you cant win with the new rules and offensive players rarely get called.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Defensive players are not often called on running backs. Gay just got blown up. The NFL doesn’t care about the players health, they care about the money they are being sued for. But I don’t blame them really, I guess something had to be done.

  • chris dimarino

    I agree, considering Gay as a Safety is a backup plan for position flexibility at best. Cortez Allen has demonstrated that he excels at guarding the slot in the nickel, but now that he will start on the flank, he will likely swap back to the slot in the nickel and let Curtis Brown take the outside, This is a role that Gay also excelled at. For that reason, Gay seems poised to be the Doug Legursky of the secondary if he can cover safety in a pinch as well as all corner positions. I don’t think he makes a whole sale change to safety and challenges for a future spot, I think he just gets acclimated to the position.

  • dgh57

    C. Brown doesn’t have the body type or the skill set to play Safety.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    Sounds good Ed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wilkes420 Christopher Wilkes

    Yeah, this ain’t happenin! He’s the nickel corner.

  • Cody Younkin

    I think Spence is a better option if were gonns move someone to saftey(hypotheticly) he would just need to cut 15 lbs or so, he can hit, and he was the fastest LB in the Draft last year.

  • Chris92021

    I think Gay would be comparable to Will Allen at safety. As long as he can play nickel and isn’t asked to start, I am ok.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    We do need a veteran presence at S as a back up. Even if we feel both Golden and Smith are good enough to make the team, they do not have that game exp.

  • Ahmad

    Well when the Steelers went to their 1 S 4 CB package, gay was lined up in the safety spot so he technically has played safety for us before. Just my two cents.

  • SteelersDepot

    I dare you to name when that was.

  • LucasY59

    The only way a young S can get game experiance is by playing, the 2 starters have more than enough exp. I would rather them have youth/talent behind them instead of an older vet. min. FA that has no upside and is just hoping to make a roster for 1 or 2 more years

  • LucasY59

    now Spence has 1 leg so not the best S option, I dont remember his 40 time being all that impressive. his playmaking and on the field quickness were good, but he was a tweener type player that isnt built to be a ILB or S and with the injury he looks to be a unfortunate dissapointment of last years draft

  • http://twitter.com/rectorj39 JDR

    as the league turns more and more to the pass you need another cover guy at safety the days of big hitters are being erased everytime goodell opens his stupid pussy mouth.

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