TIOPS TOP FIVE
1. CLARK THE ANONYMOUS TEAMMATE?
An anonymous teammate a few days ago ripping LaMarr Woodley to the Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook, has created a stir.
The teammate told Cook that Woodley was out of shape and “awful” last season.
“He was awful,” one teammate said of Woodley’s performance last season.”He tells us he works out, but we didn’t see it. He wasn’t in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt.”
A teammate or coach believing Woodley has been overweight or out of shape the last two years is not a new revelation. Since the NFL lockout when Woodley came to camp pushing 300 pounds in July 2011, the coaching staff has been furious behind the scenes about Woodley’s inability to take care of his body the right way.
Teammates have also been rubbed the wrong way with some believing Woodley has been too involved with things off the field and such.
To no surprise the first Steeler to publicly comment on Woodley following Cook’s article was big mouth Ryan Clark who went onto the national airwaves to say that the comment ripping Woodley shows the Steelers locker room is fractured and also claiming the comment likely came from somebody on defense.
“I would say it had to be defense, that’s what I would think,” Clark told Dave Dameshek of NFLNetwork. “I think it’s someone that plays defense. I would say they felt personally let down by it, ‘I wish he was out there with us’ type of situation.”
Anyone who thinks Ryan Clark is the anonymous teammate ripping Woodley, raise your hand. Clark is a snake like that and it wouldn’t surprise people if it actually was Clark.
It’s also possible this quote came from a coach, which Larry Foote seemed to think when appearing on The Fan Morning Show today.
The concerns moving forward with Woodley is the lack of explosiveness for a linebacker who turns 29 in November. A heavier linebacker like Woodley wouldn’t be the first linebacker to be on the downside of his career in his upper 20’s.
Woodley has just 4 sacks in his last 15 games dating back to 2011 season but the big concern with Steelers coaches was the lack of “pressures” not the lack of sacks.
Woodley signed through the 2016 season, is due a $9 million base salary in 2013 carrying a $13,240,000 cap hit. He’s due salaries of $8 million in 2014, $8.5 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016.
2. SHOULD STEELERS EXPLORE WOODLEY’S TRADE VALUE TO OPEN UP MONEY FOR WALLACE?
What Bill Belichick would do with LaMarr Woodley, an overpaid, unperforming player, is ship him out of town for a high pick before his value is shot.
If the Steelers intended to explore LaMarr Woodley’s trade value, we would have likely heard some leaks by now and they would be making it known to teams at the combine this week.
It’s not going to happen based on the money upfront they have already paid Woodley but it’s something the Steelers should consider were there to be a 3-4 team willing to move a second round pick for Woodley.
The reason would be to free up money for Mike Wallace who unlike Woodley has several impact seasons left in him. For all the bashing Wallace took this season, his loss is going to be significant.
3. HURDLE ON A LONGER LEASH THAN FRONT OFFICE
Clint Hurdle’s one year extension has been expected and all indications out of the organization is that Hurdle’s fate is not tied to the front office. He’s on a much longer leash as Bob Nutting continues to be a huge supporter of Hurdle’s. Don’t be surprised were Neal Huntington to get fired this season that Nutting would make the new GM keep Hurdle as manager.
4. MCDONALD TO BE ON SHORT-LEASH
Speaking of short leashes in the Pirates organization, on the field it’s going to be James McDonald. As Francisco Liriano gets healthy and Gerrit Cole pushes for a rotation spot, which could come as early as June, the Pirates patience with McDonald is expected to be very thin.
5. LACK OF IDENTITY FOR PITT
It’s time to hold off on talk of Pitt being a No. 2, No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was a little bit ridiculous from the start and while Pitt can compete with anyone in the Big East and they’ve shown that, the lack of offensive identity is their downfall and will be in the NCAA tournament.