We can all admit that the recent retirement of Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu has affected the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two were the face of Steelers defense. They were voted the best safety combination in the entire NFL. Their retirement left the team’s defense floundering. This is certainly evidenced by the outcome of this past football season – the Steelers finished 30th against the pass, falling woefully short of their goals. Now, they are faced with the task of replacing the aforementioned safety duo with an equally unmatched team. This will, of course, not be easy.
The one spot on the safety team that is solidified, and has been for at least a couple seasons, is already filled by former California Panthers player Mike Mitchell. Mitchell used to be a free agent, and his performance suffered in 2014 due to a pretty serious groin injury. However, he made a remarkable comeback last season. He finished the season strong at 80 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Mitchell is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Now, he needs another such force to be on safety alongside him. The Steelers tested a few players this past season. Interestingly enough, the one player that caught their eye was Robert Golden.
Golden has been a free agent for the Steelers since 2012. He has been in professional football for five years, and is known for his kick and punt coverage. He even became Pittsburgh’s special teams captain. Golden’s experience and titles speak for themselves. However, he is facing off against Sean Davis for the safety spot. To those who do not know the habits of the Steelers, this may seem like no competition at all. Golden has so much more experience than Davis in all fields. However, the Steelers are known for being blind to titles and awards when choosing who gets to play on the team.
While Golden is a consistent player with good performance, he certainly did not wow the Steelers with his abilities last season. He is the safer option between the two. However, a safe option for a safety spot may not be what the Steelers are looking for. In order to come back next season stronger than ever, they need a safety duo that will blow the NFL away. Davis, on the other hand, is new to the pro leagues, but he has proven himself to be competent in all areas that a good safety needs. He is the right height, strength and build. However, he is also a very aggressive player, which has not worked so well for him in the past.
The most logical thing for the Steelers to do would be to put Golden out on the field until Davis is trained to his full potential. Perhaps then the team will be back on top.