Woodley says he's fine with move to right side despite numbers
The stat sheet suggests that LaMarr Woodley wasn't comfortable shifting from left outside linebacker to the right during Sunday's 34-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.
Woodley, who has manned the left side of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's defense for seven years, had only one tackle and two assists. Woodley, though, insisted the numbers are misleading, in part, because the Dolphins didn't necessarily challenge him.
That also may have been the case in Oakland, where the Raiders denied him a single tackle in the Steelers' 21-18 defeat.
With a few exceptions, Woodley appeared to hold up at right outside linebacker. Predictably, there were a few lapses, including Daniel Thomas' 55-yard run that set up the game-winning touchdown from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to tight end Charles Clay with 2:53 to go.
Woodley, who missed the previous three games with a calf injury, couldn't disengage Clay and was hemmed inside, allowing Thomas to find a seam behind the blocks of Mike Pouncey and Sam Breener. Cornerback William Gay finally chased down Thomas at the Steelers' 16-yard line.
Woodley said he wasn't affected by unfamiliarity or a still-tender calf. Admittedly, he was out of position to make the play.
“The right side is the right side,” Woodley said. “I was just out there playing football. Jason was playing good the way he's been doing and pressuring the quarterback. I don't have a problem with the switch at all.”
On Friday, Worilds seemed somewhat disappointed that he might have to move back to the right side when asked about Woodley's return. Woodley said Sunday he knew would get the start at right outside linebacker ahead of rookie Jarvis Jones.
It would have been difficult for LeBeau to move Worilds, considering he had strung together the most productive minutes of his career while playing Woodley's position.
“I knew I was starting on the right, so that would have been like giving away the game plan if I had admitted that,” Woodley said. “I knew I would be on the right side because Jason has been productive on the left side.
“Why take a guy who has been productive away from the left side? It wouldn't have been right. It would have been a selfish move by me.
“I can make the adjustment. We need to let (Worilds) continue playing the way he's been playing. I can stay on the right. Jason has been doing a great job the last couple of years, but now, he's getting noticed more on the left.
“We can both play both sides, which will give offensive tackles a different look. I wish we could have done this earlier in the year, but it's something to look forward to these next few games.”
It will be a new look for AFC North rival Cincinnati (9-4), which will be looking to lock up at least a share of the division title when it faces the Steelers on Sunday night at Heinz Field.
Worilds began the season as the starter at right outside linebacker. Jones started against Cincinnati on Sept. 16, but Worilds has been a starter since a 19-16 win over Baltimore, including the last four games at left outside linebacker.
“We definitely have something we can grow from, but it's something we have to mend together,” inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “There's definitely an upside to having two guys willing to change their games to help the team.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Steelers notebook: Harrison return complicated by LeBeau, Titans
- Steelers re-sign WR Heyward-Bey to 1-year deal
- Steelers notebook: Team seek ease on West Coast travel
- Ex-Steeler Worilds makes ‘faith-based’ decision to move on from football
- Tomlin eyes Steelers’ return to defensive success this season
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell could move to replace Polamalu
- Tomlin expects Steelers offense to grow