The stars of this great post-millenial Pittsburgh Steelers defense are getting old extremely fast while others, like Casey Hampton, aren’t even in the mix any longer. Basically, this is the exact wrong time for a player who should be hitting his prime to instead slump.
A mix of injuries and poor play have seen two consecutive down years out of Steelers left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. With James Harrison no longer taking attention on the other side, he must reverse this trend.
On the bright side, the coaches believe the 28-year-old edge force has hit training camp in much better shape than last year.
“Right now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler said, via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Gazette. “He looks good. He looks real good.”
Woodley started his career on fire by notching four sacks in a reserve role during his rookie year, before then averaging 12 between 2008 and 2010. However, over the past two seasons he’s combined for 13 total.
“We talked about it,” Butler said. “You think about the logistics of the NFL: A team is paying you $7-8 million dollars and they aren’t paying you to watch from the sidelines. I am a coach and they don’t pay me $7-8 million to stand on the sidelines and that’s what he’s been doing. If you are not on the field, you can’t earn your money. They might pay for one year, but they aren’t going to pay for the next year. That is the matter-of-fact of the NFL.”