Report: Steelers DE Al Woods Continues To Get Second Team Reps At Nose Tackle

I passed along the news to you last week that defensive end Al Woods was getting work at nose tackle during the Pittsburgh Steelers first OTA session of the 2013 season, and it appears that is continuing to be the case this week as well, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Twitter.

I speculated that Woods was getting an opportunity to show his position flexibility, and that indeed appears to be the case as Woods reportedly told Kaboly that the coaches want him to be able to play all three positions on the defensive line this year.

While the news about Woods getting work at nose tackle is not earth shattering, the fact that he is stealing reps from both Alameda Ta\’amu and Hebron Fangupo is very noteworthy, however. I posted a few weeks ago that I was worried about the Steelers depth at the nose tackle position, and that I thought it would be tough for the Steelers to have either Ta\’amu or Fangupo ready to back up Steve McLendon by the start of the season.

While Woods certainly could be grasping the nose tackle position well, he can\’t be expected to be the regular season backup to McLendon, either. I have suggested for several weeks now that the Steelers should consider re-signing Casey Hampton at some point, and knowing what we do right now, I will be shocked if they don\’t.

Hampton says he still wants to play, and the Steelers should be able to sign him for the minimum in a few more weeks. Doing so will allow either Ta\’amu or Fangupo to be groomed one additional season with the hopes that one of them will be ready to serve as McLendon\’s backup in 2014.

  • AT and Fang still have yet to see second team reps at NT? Release them and Fill their spots with Casey and Breaston then. We will see soon enough if Steve is the future at NT anyway.

  • steeltown

    This is getting interesting.. I completely understand wanting Woods to be able to play all 3 positions, but at the expense of taking valuable reps away from Ta’amu and/or Fang is surprising

  • Stephen Dale

    Its all about putting the BEST athletes on the field that can control the LOS and , occasionally, rush the passer. Doesn’t matter to me who the three turn out to be.

  • Chris92021

    I am going to guess that we are doing everything possible to not sign Casey Hampton to a one year vet minimum. If Ta’amu still can’t get reps in an OTA as the backup NT, he might not last at all. I still think the defensive line will be: Keisel, McLendon, Hood, Heyward, Woods, Nick Williams, and Hampton.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I think this is being done with an eye toward game day roster management. If Woods can back up the ends and nose tackle, you can save a player by not dressing 2 true NTs on the game day 45, especially against teams where you don’t project to be in a lot of base. Since the NT doesn’t play as many downs, its not as critical to spell them during the game since they are already out in passing situations.

  • True but still a huge risk unless Casey comes back.

  • David Edward

    Agreed. The Steelers like their backup DLs to be able to play each position so that they can fill in wherever needed. Fang and Taamu look like they are limited to NT and Taamu hasn’t shown much of anything yet. Only problem with bringing Snack back to backup is that he is also limited to NT at this point. It’s possible that they wait to see if Woods is serviceable and if McClendon is stout. As long as Snack stays in some kind of shape, they can still bring him in third week of camp and he’d be ready for the season if need be.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Our MLBs are going to have a very tough year.

  • Snack can and is willing to play end in a pinch.

  • I agree Steeltown, something is rotting here…AT and Fang are supposedly our top back ups at NT??

  • Robert Alaniz

    I don’t know guys, Alameda is probably gonna be a beast. He was highest rated at the position coming out of college. I think the Steelers might be putting him on notice because of the trouble he got into or grooming woods quickly in case he hickups one more time.

    I actually hope he sticks because he should become a good player

  • Ahmad

    Well this is certainly very telling. Sounds like AT and Fangupo better step their game up because if Casey comes back then the two could possibly be fighting for a roster spot.

  • steeltown

    Ha! Someone doesn’t like our analytical thinking… either that or they like Woods a whole hellava lot

  • Shea Fahr

    ..yeah, been getting a lot of them lately. Probably something we said. Ha!