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mesaSteeler
01-07-2009, 06:09 PM
Steelers 'other' LBs also having big seasons
1/7/2009, 6:39 p.m. ET
By ALAN ROBINSON
The Associated Press
http://www.mlive.com/sportsflash/michigan/index.ssf?/base/sports-32/1231371843188850.xml&storylist=michigansports

PITTSBURGH (AP) Call them the other guys.

James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are the name players, the award winners in the Pittsburgh Steelers' NFL-leading defense. Harrison is the AP Defensive Player of the Year and the team MVP, setting a club record with 16 sacks. Polamalu is going to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time after tying for second in the NFL with seven interceptions.

Their big years somewhat obscured the equally strong seasons by outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who has 11 1/2 sacks in his first season as a starter, and inside linebacker James Farrior, the leading tackler on a defense that gave up the NFL's fewest points, yards and passing yards.

In another locker room, Harrison and Polamalu could be resented for taking away attention from players who might be the singular star on another defense. In Pittsburgh, Farrior said, nothing like is an issue.

"That's what make us special," Farrior said. "We all relate to each other well and nobody is looking for that attention like other teams do. Nobody cares who gets the awards, the accolades. We feel like a group, a unit together, and that's how we play and approach every game."

The Steelers, largely because of Farrior and Woodley, will go into Sunday's AFC divisional game against San Diego hoping this adage is true: The offense wins games in September and October, but the defense wins them in January.

No NFL defense came within 23 yards of the Steelers' 237.2 yards per game allowed or within 22 yards of their 156.9 yards passing allowed. The Steelers also were the only team to allow an average of fewer than two touchdowns per game.

"There's no question it's the best defense we faced all year," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said Wednesday. "When you throw that defense up there and look at all those categories and see a No. 1 by almost every one of them, first in the league, you know what kind of challenge you're against."

Rivers found out during an 11-10 loss in Pittsburgh on Nov. 16 what a challenge opposing this defense can be. His 105.5 passer rating led the league and he was fifth with 4,009 yards passing, but Rivers threw for only 164 yards with two interceptions and his 44.4 passer rating was his lowest all season.

Farrior (4 tackles), Woodley (3 tackles) and Harrison (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception) had much to do with his rough day.

Farrior, one of only three Steelers chosen for the Pro Bowl, is quietly having another of the all-around seasons he's had so often since signing with Pittsburgh in 2006. He turned 34 on Tuesday, but the Steelers gave him an $18 million, five-year contract in August, something they almost never do with a player of his age.

Farrior was second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2004, yet his statistics this season (146 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks) are equal or better in nearly every category.

"But I wouldn't be going to the Pro Bowl and none of us would be going without the whole defense," Farrior said. "I feel like any of the guys on this defense could go."

A second-round pick from Michigan in 2007, Woodley was among the sacks leaders with 9 1/2 through eight games before offenses began paying more attention to him. He has had two sacks since midseason.

"I lot of people feel like I've hit a wall or something, but I don't feel like I've hit a wall," he said. "I just haven't been able to get in there and get the sacks I've been getting all season. But when you look around, are we still winning? Yeah, we're still winning. Am I getting sacks? No. But am I going in there doing what I'm supposed to do, putting pressure on the quarterbacks and helping stop the run? I've go to say yes to that."

Quarterbacks are being forced to adjust to the Steelers' defensive playmakers by taking shorter pass drops and getting rid of the ball quicker, thus cutting down on the number of deep passes they attempt.

"They're not holding the ball that long," Woodley said. "They're not really getting back as far. You're not going to get as much pressure when they're doing that."

Larry Foote, Pittsburgh's other starting linebacker, said Woodley not just Harrison is making offenses adjust because he got to the quarterback so often so early.

"If I'm not drawing attention now, something's wrong," Woodley said. "If you want to sleep on me and think I can't get to the quarterback, that's going to be your fault."

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
2009 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

tony hipchest
01-07-2009, 06:14 PM
they didnt even mention the great year timmons is having, playing in a similar role that woodley did last year.

i bet none of our charger guests even read this thread, let alone post in it. :popcorn:

JackHammer
01-07-2009, 06:38 PM
they didnt even mention the great year timmons is having, playing in a similar role that woodley did last year.

i bet none of our charger guests even read this thread, let alone post in it. :popcorn:

That's ok. It'll be fun to hear how surprised they are when we hold them under 10 points. I can hear it now, "We didn't see that coming at all. We never thought that a great defensive team, that's been stingy all year, would play great defense." :noidea:

stlrtruck
01-07-2009, 09:14 PM
Sounds to me like a few other men have something to prove to the world on Sunday.

markymarc
01-08-2009, 06:26 AM
they didnt even mention the great year timmons is having, playing in a similar role that woodley did last year.

i bet none of our charger guests even read this thread, let alone post in it. :popcorn:

Exactly. Timmons has been a big contributor as well this season. Actually I would not be surprised to see Timmons get more playing time on Sunday. But either way I see the entire defense rested and playing very aggressive come Sunday. It will be fun to witness.

The Duke
01-08-2009, 08:35 AM
There was no doubt in my mind that farrior's extension was an excellent move

I just hope davis adds himself to this list next year....

DACEB
01-08-2009, 09:02 AM
Farrior, one of only three Steelers chosen for the Pro Bowl, is quietly having another of the all-around seasons he's had so often since signing with Pittsburgh in 2006.

???

lilyoder6
01-08-2009, 09:14 AM
i also think that with aaron smith in the line-up is a huge dif as well.. the man makes our def go to another lvl

KeiselPower99
01-08-2009, 09:36 AM
As far as our LB group its second to none. Woodley hasnt had a sack in a few games and I feel thats cause you can only double team 1 guy at a time. The one guy really not getting any love in the unit is Larry Foote. He is holding Timmons to certain packages. Hemight not be getting the headlines the other 4 are but he is just as important. As for Timmons I think he matches against Gate very well and thatll be his job Sunday.