Found January 09, 2013 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the season 8-8 which marked the first non-winning season under Head Coach Mike Tomlin. 2012 was a season full of disappointment, but a lot of the blame, from fans, analysts and now the Steelers President Art Rooney II, is falling on one person: outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. During the 2011 off-season the Steelers signed Woodley to a six year deal worth $61.5 million in hopes that he would be a disrupting force on their defense for years to come. He received his large contract based on his performances during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Here is a comparison of before and after his large contract via pro-football-reference stat page: 2009 and 2010 (before signing his long-term deal): All 32 games played: 86 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and two defensive touchdowns (one fumble return and one interception return) 2011 and 2012 (after signing his long-term contract): 23 games played (nine missed due to injury): 55 tackles, 13 sacks, 2 interceptions 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and zero defensive touchdowns.   Now many fans are willing to give Woodley a pass due to his injury issues during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. During both years Woodley missed time due to hamstring injuries. However, hamstring injuries are often considered preventable with proper strengthening of the area, stretching, and conditioning. Therefore, when Woodley shows up to training camp out of shape and pulls a hamstring during the season and misses time (which has happened in 2011 and 2012) it makes many question his work ethic and his heart. However, for those of us who follow Woodley on Twitter and FaceBook we know how much Woodley wants to be on the field (when he can’t play) and how important winning is too him. Even so Woodley’s social media presence has gotten him attacked by plenty of people who wonder if he is more concerned with being liked then being a stand-out football player. Dejan Kovacevic also called out Woodley after the season ended with his article: LaMarr’s lament? Who knows?. In the article Kovacevic says: No one, not any player or coach or executive, let down these 2012 Steelers more than one LaMarr Dewayne Woodley. And it might not be close. (Read more) Woodley’s game is pressuring the quarterback and getting sacks, but he only recorded 4 sacks during the 2012 season. Woodley started 13 games, but had to leave early or miss snaps during some of those games with injuries which adds to the reason why he finished so low in sack total. Jason Woirlds only started 3 games during the 2012 regular season and played in place of Woodley  multiple times during the season and finished second on the team in sacks with 5. When Worilds, who is considered by many to be a bust, out-sacks a player on a $61.5 million contract it should be alarming to anyone. Steelers President Art Rooney II had a press conference today and according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said that Woodley needs to be a difference maker, but wasn’t in 2012. One good thing about this is that the Steelers are taking notice of Woodley’s shortcomings and perhaps they will work him harder in 2013 in hopes that he can become the player he was on pace to become in 2010. One of the most disheartening things about Woodley’s past two seasons is knowing how good of a player he could be. JJ Watt has become a household name with the Houston Texans at defensive end and if Woodley worked harder and got into the best shape of his life he could be battling Watt and Aldon Smith for Defensive Player of the Year honors. Hopefully the taste of two bad seasons in his mouth will be enough for Woodley to put it all together in 2013. If he doesn’t the Steelers could be in a lot of trouble on defense; especially if James Harrison leaves during the off-season. No Harrison and an ineffective Woodley would kill a once promising pass rush in Pittsburgh. On the other hand however, if Woodley becomes the player Pittsburgh expects him to be in 2012 and Worilds continues to improve things could become very exciting. Worilds played very well at left outside linebacker in 2012 and the Steelers could slot him there and slide Woodley to the right side to replace James Harrison. With a bull rusher like Woodley on the right and speed rusher in Worilds on the left the Steelers could have a young duo of quarterback killers. As of now though that is just a dream.   The post After Pittsburgh Steelers Poor 2012 Season Most Blame is Being Aimed at One Player appeared first on SteelBlitz.

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