Al Woods Gets Work At Nose Tackle In Loss To Redskins

All throughout the offseason and training camp we have heard reports of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Al Woods receiving reps as the second-team nose tackle and Monday night in the preseason loss to the Washington Redskins the former fourth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints finally saw some playing time at the position.

While thorough analysis of game will be the ultimate judge, it appeared as though Woods played well after following Steve McLendon into the game. There were a few times when he was off his feet due to being cut, but against runs up the middle he appeared to two-gap well. He didn\’t record any tackles in the game, but at least the linebackers appeared to remain covered up, for the most part, so that they could do their jobs.

The Steelers are obviously seriously testing the position flexibility of Woods because of their lack of confidence in both Alameda Ta\’amu and Hebron Fangupo to back up McLendon to start the season as both have a way to go in their development.

The team will more than likely keep six defensive linemen on their 53 man roster to start the season and Woods\’ position flexibility will be the reason why they won\’t need any more than that. He showed against the New York Giants in the preseason opener that he has made progress as a 3-4 defensive end, and I suspect he will continue to get a chance to play more nose tackle in the final two preseason games so that he can further sharpen his game at that position as well.

  • Patrick

    Why didn’t Heyward play? Hurt?

  • Michael

    Heyward played, he just did very little

  • Kenneth Wilt

    To me, this is mostly about how many we dress on Sunday more than how many we keep on the roster, but if we think we can get one of the other 2 to the PS, they may only keep 5 on the roster.

  • John Hinton

    Ta’amu actually represented himself quite well against the Giants in Week 1 of Preseason. I guess they wanted to give Woods a longer look at NT.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Definitely dressing just five this season, the question is which one of the nose tackles and which one of the DE’s do we keep on the inactive 53.

    At this point, with only Heyward and McClendon under contract for 2014, I’d bet that Arnfelt and Williams make the 53 but never dress…more than likely Woods or Hood gets and extension then we keep one extra DE and one extra NT.

  • James Kling

    The one play I keyed on he was being vocal pre-snap but didn’t seem set once the ball was snapped and seemed very tentative overall.

  • sgtrobo

    it’s going to be tough extending Ziggy with Pouncey coming up over the horizon, who we assume will get top 3-5 center money

  • VaDave

    Pouncey had better start playing like the All Pro we’ve been accustomed to, as opposed to what he’s been showing this Preseason or heaven forbid, Hood get’s his money. P. U.

  • Larry Sarver

    During his OSU days Heyward was generally moved around on the DL, even from series to series. . He excelled at rushing the passer. Also showed bull rush that was often very disruptive. The Steelers just don’t give him much opportunity to utilize these qualities in the 3/4 alignment.