Due to LaMarr Woodley’s injured calf, Jason Worilds was forced to start at the left outside linebacker position against the Detroit Lions last Sunday. To his credit, the fourth-year outside linebacker did a terrific job for the Steelers in Woodley’s place. The former Virginia Tech Hokie racked up eight tackles and almost caused a safety when he sacked Matt Stafford near Detroit’s goal line in the second half.
Worilds’ solid outing was noticed by Pittsburgh’s head coach, and Mike Tomlin stated the following regarding his starting outside linebacker according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com:
He has had success from the left side, … I am open to all possibilities in terms of moving players around to maximize our rush.
Personally, I would love to see the Steelers mixing it up with their pass rushers in terms of where they are lining up in defensive schemes. Remember readers, Worilds was Woodley’s backup at the left outside linebacker spot during his first three years in the league. Moreover, Worilds gained a measure of experience filling in for Woodley when the veteran battled injuries during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
As far as Woodley lining up at the right outside linebacker spot is concerned, it might serve him well too since he could deal with fewer double-teams while rushing from the blind-side. While opponents could slide their protection or employ side-cars to stop the former Michigan Wolverine, Pittsburgh’s interior pass-rushers and whomever is lined up at the other outside linebacker spot such as Worilds or Jarvis Jones would likely have favorable matchups to deal with instead.
Creating doubt, indecision, and matchup problems for their upcoming opponents is definitely something which could benefit Pittsburgh’s pass rush during the coming weeks. With versatility at their disposal, giving different looks to opposing offenses in passing situations could ultimately serve to help the Steelers’ best pass rushers manufacture pocket-collapse down the stretch.
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