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Insider Only Steelers – Thursday: Woodley’s play likely to dictate if coaching staff goes through with a regular OLB rotation

joe-flacco-lamarr-woodley STEELERS – THURSDAY

By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Among the many tidbits from Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference this week were his plan to start Jason Worilds at right outside linebacker, but substitute rookie Jarvis Jones for him and some point and rotate Worilds with left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
Worilds was happy to be starting, but he didn’t seem to be thrilled with Tomlin’s game plan for the outside linebackers.
“Who wants to come out? Nobody wants to come out, you know?” Worilds said.
Woodley wouldn’t discuss the rotation situation.

“I guess you’ve got to wait until Sunday,” Woodley said. “We’ll see whatever the plan is on Sunday. … I watched Jason Worilds the past few years. He’s been coming in and starting since I went down and James Harrison went down in the past couple of years.
“We’ve seen him go in and get plenty of sacks. The biggest thing is the addition of Jarvis Jones, and we saw in this preseason that he can come in and make plays. He’s definitely around the ball a lot.”
Jones said it didn’t matter that he wasn’t starting this week.
“Everybody has role,” Jones said. “My role is not to start this week. So, I just have to come in and just make things happen when I can. I think I will get my chances, and I just have to take care of those opportunities and do what my coaches and teammates ask me to. It’s time to go to work. No other question about it. You get the experience in the preseason.
“The good part about making those mistakes is correcting yourself and you work on them. Sunday is all for the marbles. Now, those wins and losses count. We definitely aren’t trying to get a loss. We just have to come out there and execute and make plays and take advantage of our opportunities.”
With the deeper linebacking corps, healthy secondary and quicker line, Woodley believed the Steelers defense has a chance to be better than last season when it was ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL.
“I feel that we can be a better defense this year, as long as we can keep everybody out on the field and doing what they’re supposed to do,” Woodley said. “If we can do that, I think we’ll be back to playing the way we’re supposed to play, putting a lot of pressure on the opposing offenses.
“Just this year in training camp, I think we went out there and played pretty well. During the preseason, we caused some turnovers and got the ball back. So, we showed it out there. That’s what leads me to believe we can be a better defense overall this season.”
Woodley was quite succinct when asked what an injury-free season would mean to him.
“A lot of sacks,” Woodley said.

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

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