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Oct 31

Woodley’s Disappearing Acts Need to End

WoodleyYou probably already know LaMarr Woodley’s stat line from Sunday’s loss out in Oakland.

In case you missed it, it read zero tackles, zero tackles for loss and zero sacks. There was a little one scratched in there somewhere for ‘QB pressure’ but little that did huh?

LaMarr Woodley is one of the highest paid Pittsburgh Steelers. He is signed through 2017 and at the current age of 28 years old, he makes over $10 million per season.

Not a bad gig if you can get it huh?

Woodley has been hampered by injuries that came on almost immediately after he signed his new deal. This year however has been different in one regard. Woodley’s health has apparently been just fine.

Despite that, Woodley has been for the most part a ghost. How fitting during this Halloween season huh?

I read some pieces and comments defending Woodley’s long line of goose eggs from Sunday with interest. “The opening play wasn’t his fault because he didn’t have QB responsibility on that play.” Fine, fair enough. Woodley was sucked inside so far he wouldn’t have known the difference anyway.

“They ran behind the guards most of the game so Woodley had fewer opportunities for tackles,” I read. Give me a freaking break. The guy was paid to be a difference-maker not hold up blockers on the edge as if they were drunks stumbling home for the evening.

Twice in the first quarter Woodley had his hands directly on Raiders’ QB Terrelle Pryor and twice Pryor shrugged him off as if he were nothing more than an annoying gnat. This is what $61 million dollar deals apparently gets you today in the NFL.

Yesterday, Woodley met with the media and was asked by Will Graves of the AP if he had reached out to Jarvis Jones after his benching in favor of Jason Worilds this week. Woodley replied, ”No. You’ve got to be self motivated.”

Still wondering why there is a leadership problem on this team are you?

Graves later reported that he saw Woodley talking to Jones before he departed the locker room. That’s a positive sign but for all we know he was reminding the rookie to bring donuts for the morning.

Woodley is sadly turning into another failed long-term solution. A young man that showed so much ability and a knack for making the big play is becoming but a shell of himself.

When you’re paid that kind of money you’re expected to make plays whether the ball is directly coming at you or not. Maybe Woodley will pick it up this week knowing Tom Brady is the target but what evidence do I have to support that?

I have none to be honest. I just hope Woodley’s disappearing act comes to an end on Sunday.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

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1 comment

  1. Tim

    Totally agree. Woodley has definitely lost a step and that is just enough to keep him from getting around the blockers like he used to. Honestly was Woodley ever that fantastic? Early in his career he played behind or beside Aaron Smith. Smith did not get or want the spotlight, but he was rock solid and very undervalued. Losing Smith to injury and retirement was crushing to the Steelers defense. Replacing him was a task that justified a first rounder, but Ziggy Hood doesn’t measure up. Smith probably occupied two blockers every play to better free up Woodley. Not to mention, James Harrison was rushing from the other side- not only keeping the QB from running away from Woodley but pushing the QB towards Woodley. Jarvis Jones has a great speed rush and I think that helped Woodley get a couple of sacks earlier this year. But, Jarvis Jones lacks discipline and gets caught inside which prevents him from setting the corner and the running back or QB can break containment to his side. I’m happy to see Worilds as a starter because I think he is better against the run although I still want to see Jones get some snaps. As for Sean Spence, I know he looked awesome in preseason last year before his injury but we are deep at linebacker. If he is healthy, lets get him in the game and give him a chance to show whether or not he is able to replace Larry Foote or should the job remain with Vince Williams. Since all Woodley seems to really do is rush the QB, maybe Jarvis Jones can switch sides and get some speed opposite of a Worilds.

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