Bryant McFadden in 2009 What Went Wrong?

Steelers Nation regarded Bryant McFadden’s defection to the Arizona Cardinals after Super Bowl XLIII with mixed feelings.

Some saw it difficult to see the 2005 second round pick depart just when it seemed like he’d finally developed into a quality starter.

Others took a different view, holding a player who truly merited second round pick status should have become a full-time starter before his first year.

Regardless, there was always William Gay, whose play in relief of McFadden in 2008 impressed even Dick LeBeau.

Gay and McFadden in 2009

William Gay, of course failed to meet expectations in 2009. He struggled so badly that Mike Tomlin publicly entertained the notion of replacing him, although that only amounted to Joe Burnett getting a few snaps here and there during the Cleveland debacle and the other remaining games of the season.

Bryant McFadden is more difficult to discern.

Writing on PG Plus, Gerry Dulac commented on his poor performance in the playoffs, but beyond that McFadden’s play in Arizona drew little attention in Pittsburgh.

So McFadden’s return along with a sixth round pick on day three of the 2010 NFL draft, at the cost of a third round pick, drew cheers from Steelers Nation and Steel Curtain Rising was part of the chorus.

None of the cheering obviated the question, “why was Arizona so willing to let him go for so little?”

For that, I can offer no explanation. Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton asserted to reporters that the Steelers remained confident that McFadden could contribute in the Steelers system.

Horton reassured, but offered little in the way of analysis.

Fortunately Behind the Steel Curtain has done that for us. Their writer, “Johnny_S” posted an thorough, in depth analysis of McFadden’s abilities as a corner relative to the Steelers and Cardinals’ respective defensive systems.

Steel Curtain Rising’s policy is to grant the work of others the glory they earn, and we will do so here. But I highly recommend you invest the time to read what Johnny_S has to say as he has put a lot of thought, time and research into this and he’s also humble enough to acknowledge the limits of his own analysis. (Click here to read.)

What About the Pros?

This is not the first time, and certainly will not be the last time that Steel Curtain Rising has recognized Behind the Steel Curtain. I am amazed that the depth and breath of the articles they publish.

Which begs the question, why haven’t we seen this from the professional writers?

Regular readers know that Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower praises the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review writers as often (or almost as often) as it has criticized them.

But ealier this week on PG Plus Ed Bouchette lamented, perhaps tongue and cheek, about the difficulties of writing a football blog in May.

On balance, Bouchette has been providing good value and thus far PG Plus has been worth the four dollar (or sixteen Argentine pesos in my case) subscription fee

True, writing about football in May does have its challenges. But articles like Johnny_S’s show that there are interesting Steelers stories out there waiting to be told, and a writer like Bouchette has time and access to sources that no fan could ever hope to have.

Just a thought.

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2 thoughts on “Bryant McFadden in 2009 What Went Wrong?

  1. The stat I like with McFadden is Passes Defended. In 2009, he had 15 PDef. That puts him tied at #35 out of 259 according to That’s in the top portion of the league. He’s pretty good at defending passes and he’ll do fine in Lebeau’s defense. Also, McFadden was injured part of 2009 and that affected his performance.

    To put his stat in perspective, Darrelle Revis at #1 defended 37 passes, Champ Bailey 18, Ike Taylor, 14 and at #70 William Gay, 10 PDef.

    I look for McFadden to do good things in Pittsburgh’s defense.

    The other thing that was not mentioned was that McFadden was due a salary increase that would pay him far more than he is worth. The Steelers were able to negotiate a much lower but reasonable salary and gave up a 5th round pick for a 6th round pick. Unless McFadden suddenly grows horns, I say the Steelers got a steal here.

  2. The passed defensed number is always a good stat for a corner.

    I tend to agree. The balance of McFadden’s work in 4 years with the Steelers should count more than one rough year in Arizona.

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