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.
Will Allen to Dallas. I always thought William Gay could transition nicely to safety. Maybe 2013 is the year for that.
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) March 28, 2013
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.