Tape Breakdown: Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley Not Anonymous Against Redskins

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has taken a lot of criticism during the offseason since being called out by an anonymous teammate for being out of shape last year. So far during the preseason the former second-round draft has started to quiet his critics in his 22 plays worth of playing time.

Woodley has claimed it was an ankle injury that bothered him the most last season and not his hamstrings, but his play Monday night against the Washington Redskins showed that whatever was ailing him certainly isn\’t ailing him right now.

There were three plays that featured Woodley that stood out the most to me when going back through the game and below is a quick breakdown of each of them.

On an outside zone pitch by the Redskins offense to right early in the game, Woodley is first pushed by tight end Fred Davis while he is trying to engage tight end Logan Paulsen. Woodley holds the edge and even drives Paulsen back a little, which forces Redskins running back Alfred Morris back inside to help. The play resulted in just a two-yard gain.

Steelers Redskins LaMarr Woodley animated gif run

On the Redskins next possession, Woodley uses great hand placement and leverage to effectively drive right tackle Tyler Polumbus back into the pocket via a bull rush for a sack on third down. Those hamstrings and ankles look really good in the isolation gif.

Steelers Redskins LaMarr Woodley animated gif sack

Steelers Redskins LaMarr Woodley animated gif sack 2

On the third play, Woodley is asked to drop into coverage, and he does a great job at staying home on the backside of the misdirection play to the left and effectively picks up Davis trying to sneak out the back door for an easy pitch and catch to move the chains. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is still able to run for the first down, but that is mostly because inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons over pursued a little on the play. Why Cousins didn\’t just hit a wide-open Santana Moss, I do not know, as he wound up out of the game for good with a foot injury after being hawked down by Timmons.

Steelers Redskins LaMarr Woodley animated gif coverage

These three plays feature the kind of things that Woodley was effective at doing prior to him getting inured halfway through the 2011 season. He looks healthier than ever right now, and we hope he stays that way. I wonder if Mr. Anonymous agrees.

  • VaDave

    That’s as spry as Woodley has looked in the last 5 years. We are going to need him to have a great year. BTW, the ref missed the illegal hands to the face on Polumbus on that sack….

  • steeltown

    He does look fully healthy and quicker than he’s looked in recent yrs

  • David Heverly

    Hopefully it’s Woodley looking good rather than just Polumbus just looking like crap. Steelers defense has always been built around QB pressure..and its been very lacking the past few seasons.I would like to see Woodley and Jones on the outside..Worlids hasn’t shown much and i can live with Jarvis’s growing pains while he learns the defense.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Five years? C’mon Dave. lol He does seem to be healthy and looking good though.

  • VaDave

    Having spent a considerable amount of time watching the last 5 years of game film focusing on Woodley, with the exception of the first several games of the 2011 season, I can safely stand on my assessment.
    Please do not misconstrue that to mean I think is worthless. Overpaid for the numbers he’s putting up, I got a pretty solid argument. The guy can no doubt play at a very high level and has a knack for the big game changing play, but IMO, for $65 million he making on his current contract, we should expect more.

    I tell you this, I think he’s got a big career type year in him this season, and I’m excited to see it. Stay healthy Woody, we need ya.

  • chris ward

    Woodley looks like he is back to his 2011 self. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year.

  • cencalsteeler

    Woodley’s back!…………..for now.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Even though Timmons didn’t take a great angle I still can’t help but shake my head at his speed.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    This is awesome. Truly the best news of the preseason so far. With Woodley in Pro Bowl form, JJ winning the ROLB competition, Cortez stepping up at the CB position(and staying injury free), and maybe Shark coming in as the nickelback, instead of Gay, this defense will be #1 in the league.

  • charles

    Not a fan of Woodley. But you are right we need him. So far the offense feels very conservative. We need the splash from the D.
    Dave what do you think? It seems our blitzers are trying to engage the blockers. They seem to be bull rushing on blitzes instead of trying to find a hole or trying to create a 2 on 1 type mismatch. The blitzing does not seem to be effective. Not to take anything away from Woodley’s sack, but it seemed like a coverage sack not a lineman dominating his opponent.

  • Bob Graff

    what games were you watching

  • sgtrobo

    now, that is beautiful. Woodley healthy is a beast. I’m stoked to see this

  • Christopher Wilkes

    This year? Last year? Not sure what you’re referring to, Bob. If you’re just making a snide comment, fine, but if you have something in particular you’re questioning about my statement, than be a little more detailed in your post.