View Full Version : Woodley hopes for another 'hit the wall' season

08-27-2009, 09:23 PM
Woodley hopes for another 'hit the wall' season
Aug. 27, 2009

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Flash back to the Super Bowl, and it may have seemed that the Steelers secured their sixth NFL championship when Santonio Holmes tiptoed along the sideline to catch Ben Roethlisberger's last-minute touchdown pass, a dramatic ending to a score-or-lose Pittsburgh drive.

They hadn't. Not then.

There was one more pivotal play to go - LaMarr Woodley's sack of Arizona's Kurt Warner that resulted in a fumble the Steelers recovered, allowing them to run out the clock.

The Woodley sack hasn't replayed nearly as many times over the last seven months as Holmes' catch, not that Woodley minds. All season, it seemed, he was repeatedly upstaged by someone on his own team.

Woodley had six sacks in three playoff games, yet it was James Harrison's record 100-yard interception return touchdown that likely will be remembered as long as the Super Bowl is played.

Woodley also would have led most teams with his 11 1/2 sacks, yet it was Harrison who won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award by making 16.

"Sometimes when it's you that's not getting it, it's somebody else out there who's getting sacks," Woodley said.

While Woodley hasn't quite reached the national recognition level of Harrison or safety Troy Polamalu, he has needed just two NFL seasons - only one as a starter - to become one of the league's best outside linebackers.

Woodley was a part-timer in 2007, yet only three other current-day NFL linebackers (Shawne Merriman, Terrell Suggs and DeMarcus Ware) had more sacks in their first two seasons than Woodley's 15 1/2. The Bears' Brian Urlacher, for example, probably is a better-known player than Woodley, yet he had fewer sacks (14) in more games (32, to Woodley's 28).

Again, not that Woodley cares that much. The former Michigan star already has a Super Bowl ring and is convinced that unless injuries or other unexpected difficulties intercede, there is enough talent on this Steelers defense to win multiple titles.

The Steelers, for example, lost former starting inside linebacker Larry Foote to free agency, yet they have former first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons ready to replace him. Timmons had five sacks as a part-time player - sound familiar? - last season.

Coach Mike Tomlin referred to that depth Thursday as having "starters, and starters in waiting."

There was little waiting around for the 6-foot-2, 265-pound Woodley, who had two sacks in the Steelers' only playoff game during the 2007 season. He started last season by getting 9 1/2 sacks in his first eight games.

Woodley slowed during the second half, when he missed a game to injury and had two sacks in seven games, and he began hearing that he was hitting the proverbial end-of-season wall. Because the NFL season is about 25 percent longer than any college season they played, many younger starters tend to slow up near the end of the four-month regular season grind.

"That hitting the wall stuff? That's kind of funny to me," Woodley said. "I didn't hit a wall."

As opposing offenses began to realize that he was a player "you might have to worry about a bit," as Woodley said, he didn't see as many open pass rushing lanes to the quarterback. But while his statistics declined, the Steelers still went 6-1 in their last seven games.

Woodley's production picked up again in the playoffs, when he became the first player to have multiple sacks in each of his first four postseason games. Counting the playoffs, he finished with 17 1/2 sacks in 18 games.

"People said you hit a wall when you're not out there continuing to get sacks," Woodley said. "We were still putting pressure on the quarterback, your team's still going out there winning, how can you say that you hit a wall? I was able to put pressure on and a few quarterbacks threw interceptions and we capitalized on that on defense."

If Timmons plays as a starter the same way he did as a backup, and 33-year-old inside linebacker James Farrior keeps performing at his usual level, the Steelers might again have the NFL's best defense. Woodley will be disappointed if they don't.

"That's one reason our defense is good, there are so many big-time players who can make big plays in big games," Woodley said.

Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Steel Head
08-27-2009, 10:49 PM
Woodley has multiple sacks in all 4 of his career playoff games

he is CLUTCH

08-28-2009, 02:29 AM
Yeah, Woodley is a beast. I've got a feeling he's going to make a name for himself this coming season with some plays that don't get overshadowed.

Galax Steeler
08-28-2009, 04:42 AM
I look for another big year from Woodley. He should be over ten sacks again this year barring any injuries. I hope him and Harrison can light them up again this year.

08-28-2009, 06:09 AM
:applaudit: Thanks for posting this article that highlights one of the most special plays of SB XLIII. I've watched that Woodley sack of Warner several times and never cease to be amazed by the tenacity he showed. What a play. :tt03:

08-28-2009, 09:11 AM
Dare I say 1 more lights out season and He should be called one of the top LBs in the NFL.

08-28-2009, 09:26 AM
We need to trade him now. His next contract will be too expensive for us. We need to get something for him...now, before we get nothing at all.



08-28-2009, 03:00 PM
We need to trade him now. His next contract will be too expensive for us. We need to get something for him...now, before we get nothing at all.




Well...he doesn't suck now, but he will suck....one day

Steel Head
08-28-2009, 03:22 PM
We need to trade him now. His next contract will be too expensive for us. We need to get something for him...now, before we get nothing at all.



shoulda kept Porter instead!!!

08-29-2009, 10:29 PM
Yeah get rid of Woodley now, he only looks like he could touch the HOF if he keeps this pace.

T Bradshaw
08-29-2009, 10:34 PM

08-30-2009, 05:59 AM
Woodley is a stud, I won't be surprised if he wins a Defensive MVP at some point.