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mesaSteeler
05-21-2010, 12:49 AM
http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8183b6d3&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true
Driven by disrespect, Steelers' Woodley emerging as an elite OLB
Jason La Canfora By Jason La Canfora | NFL.com


Pop quiz: Name the only two players in the NFL to post at least 11.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons.

Okay, so the headline here pretty much gives away at least one of the two, so I decided to ask Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley himself if he knew the answer.

"It's got to be me and (Cowboys OLB) DeMarcus Ware," declared Woodley, who took time to chat on the phone at halftime of Tuesday night's Celtics-Magic NBA playoff game.

So I told him that it was, in fact, Jared Allen who was the other player besides him to do so.

"Oh, damn," Woodley said. "Man, I should have known that! I should know that."

That mistake notwithstanding, Woodley is becoming acutely aware of his place in the game as he enters his fourth NFL season. Largely overshadowed by other ends and outside linebackers, Woodley has quietly been one of the league's most impactful defenders the past two years. He's a star just coming into his own as he continues to master the shuffle from college defensive end to outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's complex 3-4 defense.

While acclaim has followed others, like Woodley's teammate on the other side, James Harrison, or other pass rush specialists such as Terrell Suggs, Allen, and Ware, Woodley has toiled in relative anonymity since being selected 46th overall out of Michigan in 2007. If he puts up another season like he has the past two years, that will change.

"Personally, I don't feel like people have given me the respect that I deserve," Woodley said.

Woodley, 25, spent most of his rookie season as a reserve, trying to make the adjustment to his new position. Even so, as he pointed out, he still produced "four sacks in just 80 snaps" and also recorded two sacks in a playoff game against Jacksonville. In 2008, he busted out with 11.5 sacks, cracking the top 10 in the league, then notched six more in the postseason as the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. Woodley got off to a slow start last year but rallied to finish with 13.5 sacks, setting a franchise record with at least a half sack in eight straight games and compiling 11.5 sacks during the streak.

Woodley has started just 31 career games but already has 29 sacks (Julius Peppers, by comparison, had 30 sacks in 44 starts during his first three seasons). Over the past two seasons, only four players -- Ware (31), Allen (30), Joey Porter (26.5) and Harrison (26) -- have more sacks than Woodley, who has proven to be strong against the run, as well. He tied for the NFL lead with 19 tackles for loss in 2009.

Woodley has become accustomed to being overlooked, but by no means does he relish it.

"I'm definitely motivated, and in this game, with anybody, you get respect when it's earned," Woodley said. "And I feel like I've earned my respect, but people find a way to not give it to me. I wouldn't be talking about it if you didn't ask me, and not to come off as a ****y person, but it was the same thing coming out of college. I was drafted in the second round because I was too slow to play outside linebacker and too short to play end, but I won every award you could win coming out of Michigan ...

"Coming into my second year, people were worried about me moving to outside linebacker and taking (then Steelers OLB) Clark Haggans' spot, but ever since I got on the other side of James Harrison -- not to take anything away from Clark Haggans -- but he's been getting double-digit sacks."

Woodley also operates within a different version of the 3-4 than many other elite pass rushers. Besides run responsibilities, he also is thrust into coverage with much more regularity, covering speedy receivers at times in the zone-blitz scheme.

"People don't look at how many times I drop back in coverage," Woodley said, "and compare those numbers to Suggs, Ware, (Elvis) Dumervil, (Shawne) Merriman. Look at those outside linebackers and see how many times I drop back. I might be dropping back more than actually rushing. The numbers might be ridiculous if I only dropped back as much as they do."

Woodley says getting comfortable in coverage was his biggest challenge, but he believes he has progressed well in that regard. "I'm not nervous when I'm in coverage," Woodley said. "I'm confident. I'm like, 'I'm going to lock this guy down.'"

Eventually, the Steelers are going to have lock up Woodley long-term, as he is playing in the final year of his rookie contract, set to earn $550,000 in 2010. Traditionally, the Steelers would extend his deal with a year remaining, but the limitations of the 30-percent rule and uncertainty about the CBA make the situation unique.

With Ben Roethlisberger facing his issues, Santonio Holmes gone, Harrison now 32, and strong safety Troy Polamalu coming off a season basically lost to injury (he missed 11 games), Woodley could be emerging as a face-of-the-franchise-type player.

"I haven't played my best football yet, that's the thing," Woodley said." I know that I haven't played my best yet. What people see now, I've only been playing linebacker for three years. I played defensive end my whole life. When I really catch on to it, it's really going to be trouble."

scsteeler
05-21-2010, 12:58 AM
Nice ready and Woodley is only going to get better each year.

steelerjim58
05-21-2010, 01:13 AM
I for one think it's darn near criminal how much Woodley and Harrison drop into coverage.

Mags87
05-21-2010, 01:42 AM
http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8183b6d3&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true

"I haven't played my best football yet, that's the thing," Woodley said

:tt:

Galax Steeler
05-21-2010, 04:50 AM
Thanks for the read Mesa. Woodley is a beast and his best football is ahead of him that is scary for opposing quarterbacks.:chuckle:

pete74
05-21-2010, 05:32 AM
hopefully we cut harrison after this season so we can afford to pay woodley what he is going to want. i would love to see a 6 year deal

stillers4me
05-21-2010, 09:10 AM
hopefully we cut harrison after this season so we can afford to pay woodley what he is going to want. i would love to see a 6 year deal


Cut James Harrison????????????????

:smack:

Now that that's out of my system, I feel much better.

Besides, I think Santonio's exit makes getting Woodley's deal done when the situation is right much more do-able.

steelpride12
05-21-2010, 09:33 AM
Now let's get him the deal he deserves!

steelerchad
05-21-2010, 09:39 AM
Cut James Harrison????????????????

:smack:

Now that that's out of my system, I feel much better.

Besides, I think Santonio's exit makes getting Woodley's deal done when the situation is right much more do-able.


Don't be surprised if this happens.
Harrison is 32. If there is football in 2011, he will be 33. He'll still be a solid player, but if he shows any sign of decline he'll be gone. It's what the Steelers have been doing for years. You don't have to go any further than to look at the guy Harrison replaced 3 years ago for evidence of it. Porter has been one of the few guys the Steelers have released that has actually produced for another team after he left.

Lloyd, Kirkland, Greene, Haggans, Gildon, Foote, Porter. All released under contract with the Steelers who went on to play with other teams.

I'd bet more likely than not James is gone after this year. Especially with the draft class we just brought in.

SteelGhost
05-21-2010, 11:01 AM
http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8183b6d3&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true
Driven by disrespect, Steelers' Woodley emerging as an elite OLB
Jason La Canfora By Jason La Canfora | NFL.com


Pop quiz: Name the only two players in the NFL to post at least 11.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons.

Okay, so the headline here pretty much gives away at least one of the two, so I decided to ask Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley himself if he knew the answer.

"It's got to be me and (Cowboys OLB) DeMarcus Ware," declared Woodley, who took time to chat on the phone at halftime of Tuesday night's Celtics-Magic NBA playoff game.

So I told him that it was, in fact, Jared Allen who was the other player besides him to do so.

"Oh, damn," Woodley said. "Man, I should have known that! I should know that."

That mistake notwithstanding, Woodley is becoming acutely aware of his place in the game as he enters his fourth NFL season. Largely overshadowed by other ends and outside linebackers, Woodley has quietly been one of the league's most impactful defenders the past two years. He's a star just coming into his own as he continues to master the shuffle from college defensive end to outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's complex 3-4 defense.

While acclaim has followed others, like Woodley's teammate on the other side, James Harrison, or other pass rush specialists such as Terrell Suggs, Allen, and Ware, Woodley has toiled in relative anonymity since being selected 46th overall out of Michigan in 2007. If he puts up another season like he has the past two years, that will change.

"Personally, I don't feel like people have given me the respect that I deserve," Woodley said.

Woodley, 25, spent most of his rookie season as a reserve, trying to make the adjustment to his new position. Even so, as he pointed out, he still produced "four sacks in just 80 snaps" and also recorded two sacks in a playoff game against Jacksonville. In 2008, he busted out with 11.5 sacks, cracking the top 10 in the league, then notched six more in the postseason as the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. Woodley got off to a slow start last year but rallied to finish with 13.5 sacks, setting a franchise record with at least a half sack in eight straight games and compiling 11.5 sacks during the streak.

Woodley has started just 31 career games but already has 29 sacks (Julius Peppers, by comparison, had 30 sacks in 44 starts during his first three seasons). Over the past two seasons, only four players -- Ware (31), Allen (30), Joey Porter (26.5) and Harrison (26) -- have more sacks than Woodley, who has proven to be strong against the run, as well. He tied for the NFL lead with 19 tackles for loss in 2009.

Woodley has become accustomed to being overlooked, but by no means does he relish it.

"I'm definitely motivated, and in this game, with anybody, you get respect when it's earned," Woodley said. "And I feel like I've earned my respect, but people find a way to not give it to me. I wouldn't be talking about it if you didn't ask me, and not to come off as a ****y person, but it was the same thing coming out of college. I was drafted in the second round because I was too slow to play outside linebacker and too short to play end, but I won every award you could win coming out of Michigan ...

"Coming into my second year, people were worried about me moving to outside linebacker and taking (then Steelers OLB) Clark Haggans' spot, but ever since I got on the other side of James Harrison -- not to take anything away from Clark Haggans -- but he's been getting double-digit sacks."

Woodley also operates within a different version of the 3-4 than many other elite pass rushers. Besides run responsibilities, he also is thrust into coverage with much more regularity, covering speedy receivers at times in the zone-blitz scheme.

"People don't look at how many times I drop back in coverage," Woodley said, "and compare those numbers to Suggs, Ware, (Elvis) Dumervil, (Shawne) Merriman. Look at those outside linebackers and see how many times I drop back. I might be dropping back more than actually rushing. The numbers might be ridiculous if I only dropped back as much as they do."

Woodley says getting comfortable in coverage was his biggest challenge, but he believes he has progressed well in that regard. "I'm not nervous when I'm in coverage," Woodley said. "I'm confident. I'm like, 'I'm going to lock this guy down.'"

Eventually, the Steelers are going to have lock up Woodley long-term, as he is playing in the final year of his rookie contract, set to earn $550,000 in 2010. Traditionally, the Steelers would extend his deal with a year remaining, but the limitations of the 30-percent rule and uncertainty about the CBA make the situation unique.

With Ben Roethlisberger facing his issues, Santonio Holmes gone, Harrison now 32, and strong safety Troy Polamalu coming off a season basically lost to injury (he missed 11 games), Woodley could be emerging as a face-of-the-franchise-type player.

"I haven't played my best football yet, that's the thing," Woodley said." I know that I haven't played my best yet. What people see now, I've only been playing linebacker for three years. I played defensive end my whole life. When I really catch on to it, it's really going to be trouble."

:jawdrop: I hope the FO can extend him long term :hope:

Thanks for the read Mesa :thumbsup:

RoethlisBURGHer
05-21-2010, 11:34 AM
Don't be surprised if this happens.
Harrison is 32. If there is football in 2011, he will be 33. He'll still be a solid player, but if he shows any sign of decline he'll be gone. It's what the Steelers have been doing for years. You don't have to go any further than to look at the guy Harrison replaced 3 years ago for evidence of it. Porter has been one of the few guys the Steelers have released that has actually produced for another team after he left.

Lloyd, Kirkland, Greene, Haggans, Gildon, Foote, Porter. All released under contract with the Steelers who went on to play with other teams.

I'd bet more likely than not James is gone after this year. Especially with the draft class we just brought in.

While it wouldn't shock me if he were cut, I also don't see it happening. He hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Also, he was a backup for so long he doesn't have the wear and tear on his body most OLB's who have been starting for 8 or so years do have.

Sharkissle29
05-21-2010, 02:07 PM
Not even worried about re-signing Woodley, our FO aren't morons

pete74
05-21-2010, 02:28 PM
Cut James Harrison????????????????

:smack:

Now that that's out of my system, I feel much better.

Besides, I think Santonio's exit makes getting Woodley's deal done when the situation is right much more do-able.

he will only be a steeler for 2 more years tops. steelers do not pay mid-30 lb's over 10mil a season bro. you'll see, he will not be playing for the steelers in 2 years. they drafter 2 OLB's with the intent of replacing harrison

austinfrench76
05-21-2010, 03:18 PM
L-Wood is a beast BUT I still don't understand the disrespect card? He said this on NFL Live the other day. He is playing under a rookie deal in which he was paid like the 2nd round pick he is. He is going to GET PAID very soon by someone, even if its not Pittsburgh. Oh, and he was voted to the Pro Bowl!!! I do think Santo's departure makes the deal more likely for us though! I don't get where he is being disrespected?! Thats got to be a negotiating tactic.

wootawnee
05-21-2010, 07:07 PM
Cut James Harrison????????????????

:smack:

Now that that's out of my system, I feel much better.

Besides, I think Santonio's exit makes getting Woodley's deal done when the situation is right much more do-able.

Yea cut Ben and Mendy and Timmons too.......

wootawnee
05-21-2010, 07:11 PM
Some dudes can play till they are over 40......We call these guys ironman......Mike Webster, Rod Woodson, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre...........Iron worker work till they are over 60 sometimes.........The best big wave surfers in the world are 40+.........If James
stays healthy he could earn this title...........

DanRooney
05-21-2010, 07:29 PM
You don't cut a guy after you just signed him to a long term deal. Especially when he has shown no decline and is your best tackler and run stuffing LB on your team. :doh:

pete74
05-21-2010, 07:48 PM
are you guys for real? obviously you dont know steelers football. they will not pay harrison 12mil a season 3 seasons from now to play at 35. i will be sure to bump this thread when we cut him in 2 years or so. we didnt draft 2 OLB's with the intent of them riding the bench for the next 6-7 years

polamalubeast
05-21-2010, 08:27 PM
Not even worried about re-signing Woodley, our FO aren't morons

I hope

If it woodley not sign (or put the franchise tag) the steelers will be true idiot.:coffee:

I trust they will make the right decision, but I lost a little confidence in the front office since they let go Holmes ...So it is for his that I am a little nervous

polamalubeast
05-21-2010, 08:31 PM
Cut James Harrison????????????????

:smack:

Now that that's out of my system, I feel much better.

Besides, I think Santonio's exit makes getting Woodley's deal done when the situation is right much more do-able.

:thumbsup:

steelerchad
05-21-2010, 08:38 PM
You don't cut a guy after you just signed him to a long term deal. Especially when he has shown no decline and is your best tackler and run stuffing LB on your team. :doh:

The Steelers do and they've had a long history of doing so. I remember the whining that went on when Porter was released. In his Prime I might add. Nobody thought James Harrison could fill his shoes, but he's done exactly that. And when it's time for him to go, which I believe will be in 1 to 2 years, someone will be ready to step in and fill his shoes. It's the Steeler Way.

Our outside LB's are great, but they've always been great. And alot of it has to do with system and coaching. Our system is all about the Dline holding up blockers and our LB's getting all the stats.

Harrison may be one of the most unblockable LB's I've ever seen. The only way to stop him is to hold him and hope they don't call it. But there is virtually no chance he plays out his current contract.

Davison_K
05-23-2010, 08:41 AM
The Steelers do and they've had a long history of doing so. I remember the whining that went on when Porter was released. In his Prime I might add. Nobody thought James Harrison could fill his shoes, but he's done exactly that. And when it's time for him to go, which I believe will be in 1 to 2 years, someone will be ready to step in and fill his shoes. It's the Steeler Way.

Our outside LB's are great, but they've always been great. And alot of it has to do with system and coaching. Our system is all about the Dline holding up blockers and our LB's getting all the stats.

Harrison may be one of the most unblockable LB's I've ever seen. The only way to stop him is to hold him and hope they don't call it. But there is virtually no chance he plays out his current contract.

I agree. I find it hard to believe that he is on the team at the beginning of next season unless everyone of the 3 linebackers drafted is a bust. Which I also find hard to believe.