Keith Butler Told LaMarr Woodley He Needs To Watch Film Before Making Pass Rush Statements

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley let it be known a few days ago that he would like to rush the quarterback more in 2013 and drop into coverage less because he thinks that\’s what they pay him big money to do. Linebackers coach Keith Butler was asked Saturday by David Todd of 970 ESPN Radio about Woodley\’s remarks and if indeed 2012 was any different than previous years with Woodley. Butler of course was straight forward in his response.

“Well, he seems to think there was,” said Butler.” I don\’t think there was and what I told him is he needs to come watch the film before he makes statements like that, but that\’s Ok. I mean there\’s times that we go into game plans, and we feel like we do have to drop him and times we want to rush him too.

“But the problem that we have is this, you got to stop people from running the football. When you stop people from running the football, you make them one dimensional, and until you make them one dimensional, it is very hard to get pressure on the quarterback. So whether he was dropping more or not last year, I don\’t know. They ran the ball better on us than they have last year than times before, so we couldn\’t get them into passing situations as a consequence. So we got to stop the run.”

As Matthew Marczi pointed out Sunday morning in his post, the Steelers outside linebackers rush the passer less than other 3-4 teams do on average. Woodley did see a slight dip in 2012 from 2011 as far as his rush percentage went, but he actually rushed 32 more times in 2012 than he did in 2011. The linebacker was of course battling a high ankle sprain, and a pulled hamstring last year and wasn\’t effective.

As Butler points out, if Woodley wants to pass rush more the defense needs to do a better job on early downs of stopping the run in order to set up more obvious passing situations so that the outside linebackers can pin their ears back a little more often.

While that might help, there will still be games where the plan requires Woodley to drop into coverage more than he might like. The scheme is the scheme, and Woodley needs to understand that the team pays him the big money to play well in that scheme. If it requires him to drop more than pass rush, then he needs to give that the same effort that he does rushing the quarterback. While sack stats are great, the most important stat is the final score.

  • cencalsteeler

    Your last paragraph was spot on. If you read between the lines, Woodley wants to pad his stats. Not to say rushing the qb isn’t fun, but he can drop into coverage and pad his stats with some picks. Be a team player, I thought we ridded the locker room of the cancer after last year.
    And kudos to Butler for putting him in check!

  • Ahmad

    I like guys like Keith Butler that give it to you straight. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything unless he necessarily has to and that’s what I like about him.

  • walter mason

    He also needs to stop the run. His tackle stats are down. Its possible Butler made the comment last year.

    It sounds as if hes saying come in and watch more game film to learn to stop the run better and then you can talk about getting more pass rushing opportunities.

  • Brendon Glad

    They also pay him big money to take care of his body and be in shape enough to give full 100% effort on every play. He needs to make sure he gets that part tightened up, then he can worry about Butler and Lebeau. Sounds like he’s off to a better start on that this year. So that’s step one.

  • walter mason

    It sounds as if Woodley says all the wrong things. Im still reeling from his “sit back and laugh” comments.

    Im hoping for a much improved Woodley. But what if he stays the same?

  • Anthony Renzelli

    if he doesn’t get back to the old woodley this year and worilds has a decent year our OB’s could be worilds and jones in 2014. I think he’ll bounce back though

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I do not think we should read too much into this. what LB wouldn’t like to get after the QB more. Butler was just giving reason’s to why he didn’t last year.

  • charles


  • bonairsfavoriteson

    worilds will probably spend the year not dressing most games because of , turf toe, sore hammy, sprained ankle, and on and on and on.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    as an aside, I wonder where those pass rushers from other teams ranked vs. the steelers at stopping the run, probably not nearly as high and yet they were much better at getting after the qb. Marczi’s post is pretty much spot on.

  • JohnnyV1

    It’s all about the Benjamins. More sacks, more sacks/stips = more Probowls, more relevant, more money (contract, endorsements, etc). No one talks about who did the best job dropping into coverage and causing the opponent to throw the ball away or alter their progressions. Plus, you have to be in extra good shape to chase running backs and tight ends in coverage. Woodley should just stick to one word answers and play.

  • Mark P

    I am quite fine without having to see any “passion situations.”

  • woundedvet

    Hahah. “We coudnt get them into passion situations”. Lets hope not!

  • Douglas Andrews

    Really like getting the insights from our position coaches. Wish we were able to hear more from them during the season. K Butler is a straight shooter I see why the LB’s like playing for him.

  • VaDave

    I.E., Like the last year’s KC game where their TE handled him with ease all game long?

  • walter mason