Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed safety Robert Golden to a three year, $4.95 million contract prior to the start of free agency, the organization still decided to draft another young safety in late April in the form of Sean Davis, who played his college football at Maryland. Regardless, Golden is still looking forward to finally entering a season as a starter and the confidence he has in his ability to keep that job is high.
“When you look at it, the more reps I got, the better I played,” Golden said Friday, according to Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “It’s going to continue to get better the more live action I get. I always want to be on the rise, so I’m never going to settle. I don’t really look at competition. Ever since I’ve been here, they’ve gotten somebody in the draft or in free agency. At the end of the day, I’m still here. I think that shows what the coaches think of me and it shows what I can do.”
Golden is right. While the former undrafted free agent only played 390 defensive snaps last season, he played well for the most part and ended the regular season with 40 total tackles, 4 passes defensed and an interception, which was the first of his professional career. While Golden has long been an asset for the Steelers on special teams, that role could be reduced some in 2016 should he wind up being the starter opposite veteran Mike Mitchell.
As for Davis, who also played some cornerback in college in addition to safety, he knows his path to what he hopes will ultimately be a starting job will include a few bumps along the way that he hopes to keep to a minimum.
“I’m not focused on (starting), I’m trying not to make many mistakes, and trying to play fast,” Davis told the media. “I’m not putting any stress on myself to be a starter. Right now, I’m second string and working my way up. (Golden) knows I’m coming for his spot, but everyone knows that. It’s the competitor in me who wants to play, but the coaches have to trust me.”
While it might take Davis a little longer than just the summer in order to wrestle away the starting job from Golden, he still has an outside shot to play quite a bit in the slot in the team’s dime defensive personnel grouping at the start of the season. The Steelers started using the three safety look late last season and continued the use of it in the playoffs.
Davis is currently running with the Steelers second-team defense at the start of training camp and as along as he stays healthy for the entire preseason, he should be able to close the gap between Golden and himself some in the process.