We here at NPC like to take some shots at Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley. His weight, injuries, and average performance have garnered him a reputation that paints somewhat of a ‘fat’ bullseye on our chunky pass rusher. Our rhetoric may need to change soon as Woodley has entered camp looking better than average – some may even say ‘in shape.’
His arms are as big as they have ever been, but Woodley’s mid section appears to have trimmed down a bit since the last time we saw him at the end of the 2012 losing campaign. According to Mark Kaboly of the Trib-Review, linebackers coach Keith Butler is pretty happy with Woodley’s physique.
Right now, Wood is where we need to have him. He looks good. He looks real good.
That’s pretty significant for someone like Butler, who is one of Woodley’s most outspoken critics, to come out and say this early in camp. You’ll remember Butler quipped that Woodley needed to ‘get his big butt into shape’ during the offseason going into training camp last season. Woodley didn’t heed those words, or never heard them to begin with, and came into the 2012 season much like the 2011 campaign – over weight, out of shape, and injury prone. Looks like Butler was able to turn the dial up to ’11′ on his amp the last few months and get through Woodley’s thick head.
We talked about it. 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.
If Woodley can translate his new pageant type looks into a pageantry of hard hitting and a career best in sacks, then the Steelers can breathe a little easier when it comes to their pass rushing. With James Harrison gone to Cincy and the battle on the other side of OLB coming down to Jason Worilds and rookie Jarvis Jones, the Steelers will need another season from Woodley that got him that ‘fat’ contract extension in the first place.