Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon was excused from practice Monday for personal reasons, according to head coach Mike Tomlin, so defensive end Al Woods received first team reps in his absence.
Tomlin was asked about that move following practice.
“One man\’s misfortune or circumstance creates opportunity for others,” said Tomlin. “Hopefully those guys will utilize that opportunity for good. Particularly in the case of Al Woods. Here\’s a guy that\’s been working at end – we\’ve had some short lines outside due to injury and so forth. We\’ve got Nick Williams back and it provides us the flexibility to move him inside and show what he\’s capable of there. He\’s a big-bodied guy, he\’s performed well – we want him to add value to his cause and ours by showing position flexibility.”
Woods had a great showing Saturday night in the preseason opener against the New York Giants as he recorded a team-high nine tackles in the game to go along with a sack. Despite his solid showing, however, Woods said defensive line coach John Mitchell will be the ultimate judge of just how well he played.
“No, not yet, we still got to watch the film,” said Woods, when asked if Mitchell has said anything to him yet about his play. “Coach Mitch is a real good guy and he\’s a real technique kind of guy, so I might have had a good game, but I might have had bad technique. So where just going to have to watch the film and see.”
Woods has worked quite a bit at nose tackle throughout the offseason, so it\’s not a surprise that he worked there Monday with McLendon absent. With Nick Williams back practicing again, it will be interesting to see if Woods receives work on the nose next Monday when the Steelers take on the Washington Redskins in their second preseason game.