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Thread: Woodley in great position to break out in 2008

          
   
   
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  1. #1
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    Woodley in great position to break out in 2008

    With a quietly impressive rookie year behind him, the Pittsburgh Steelers' LaMarr Woodley is ready to step into a marquee role next season -- especially with former starter Clark Haggans still a free agent.
    And he has every reason to carry the same chip on his shoulder that Steelers MVP James Harrison did before the 2007 season. Harrison, an undrafted LB from Kent State in 2004, was cut multiple times before earning a roster spot behind former Steeler Joey Porter. Harrison got a smaller extension to stay in Pittsburgh before the 2006 season, mostly with the idea in mind that he would replace Porter when he left.
    Porter signed a $20 million guaranteed contract with Miami last offseason, and he proceeded to do next to nothing in 2007. Harrison, a Pro Bowl starter, was paid considerably less than Porter but fared far better.
    Woodley's start is similar to that.
    The Steelers chose Woodley in the second round last April after they took Florida State's Lawrence Timmons, a projected OLB, in the first round. That injection of youth in the position clearly indicated Haggans was going to be shown the door at the end of this past season. The question became: Would Woodley or Timmons replace him?
    Woodley grabbed the limelight as Haggans faded away quietly. Timmons spent nearly all of training camp with a groin injury, and he played only on special teams and as the roving linebacker in nickel packages. Woodley exploded immediately, picking up sacks in two of his first three games.
    That start didn't increase his playing time, though.
    With Steelers coach Mike Tomlin seemingly giving the edge to the veteran in any inkling of a position battle, Haggans was not in the team's future plans going into 2007, but he barely left the field all year.
    Woodley was more productive on a per-play basis, yet he was a situational player at most. The Steelers' nickel package included a look that had only two down linemen (usually NT Travis Kirschke and DE Aaron Smith) with DE Brett Keisel standing up, showing blitz. Haggans stayed in there, even though Woodley was instant chaos off the bench. He finished the regular season with four sacks and several pressures. Woodley even sacked Jaguars QB David Garrard twice in Jacksonville's 31-29 win over Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
    Now, with a year of experience behind him, Woodley will go into camp in 2008 as the starter at LOLB, and with Harrison - who led the team with 8.5 sacks - drawing all the pass-rushing attention, Woodley will have every opportunity to help the Steelers improve on an uncharacteristically low 36 sacks as a team in '07.
    Haggans, still teamless, has been dubbed by some as a product of the system in Pittsburgh. Even if the Steelers seriously entertained the idea of bringing him back (and barring the restructuring of a few contracts, they won't have the cap room), he would likely be on the second team behind Woodley; and it's far more likely the Steelers simply fill the depth at that position in the draft.
    First it was Porter, then Harrison. Now it's Woodley's turn to be the newest Steelers OLB to lead the team in sacks.
    Woodley is going to be a beast.....
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
    -unknown

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    Starter steelcitysfinestXL's Avatar
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    He is a big reason why i cant wait til this season starts!!!!

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    I wish Wood have gotten the nod mid way through the season last year when it was apparent he was really going to be something special on the field. I can't wait to see what this kid is capable of and maybe we're beginning to see the dawn of the new Quiver & Quake !

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    BIG FAT ARKIESTEEL
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    We do need to put the Blitz back in Blitzburgh

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    i liked this pick from day one that's why i brought my 75th jersey with number 56 0n it last year, he will b an beast i just hope timmons catches up with woodley we need fresh young talent at the lb's position

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    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    woodley is gonna tear it up this year!
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

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    i love tht hes a big LB, but atletic enough to do it all, a nasty bull rusher, but hes also a "small" DE and quick/powerful enough to play a freeney style DE

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Wood is ready to stake his claim as to why he should have been the first round draft choice. There were some that had him rated higher than the 2nd round but his size made him so much of a tweener that teams weren't sure he was worthy of a 1st round pick but the way he played last year he definitely would have been. He really plays with good leverage and power; he's the same height that Greg Lloyd was but he's a good 30 lbs heavier and ripped as all get out. Im excited to see him really develop this year.

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    2nd String MDSteel15's Avatar
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    I say my boy "Da Wood" avg's a sack a game next season!

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