Biggest Strides For Worilds Coming Against The Run, Not The Pass

By Matthew Marczi

Jason Worilds may have played the best game of his career up to this point in the Steelers’ latest lost to the Ravens, but it had more to do with his work versus the run than against the pass, despite the fact that he registered two sacks, including a strip sack that forced a Joe Flacco fumble.

Earlier this season when asked about playing Worilds on the left side, linebackers coach Keith Butler cited a tendency of teams to be heavily right-handed when it comes to the running game, which is why he preferred to keep LaMarr Woodley at left outside linebacker despite Worilds seemingly playing better there than on the right.

Well, his latest audition tape as a run stuffer was admittedly rather impressive, so regardless of whether or not Butler’s observation is true, I think Worilds has done enough to make it a conversation when Woodley comes back about moving the latter to right outside linebacker, which previously seemed absurd.

Early in the game, on a second and 10 run, he easily evaded the blocks of both Ed Dickson and Michael Oher to run all the way across the formation and make the diving tackle of Ray Rice after a short gain. He did it primarily with speed—a speed which, frankly, he has never shown consistently before. Who would have thought that playing time breeds comfort, and therefore consistency.

Later in the first quarter, Worilds once again got the better of Dickson, this time using his size advantage to overpower the tight end, carrying Dickson with him as he crashed inside to make the tackle on Bernard Pierce on a gain of just three.

Yet again on first down, in the middle of the second quarter, Worilds kept the Ravens behind the chains by holding their early series runs to short gains. If only the Steelers could have gotten off the field consistently on third and longs, we would be talking about a different game.

On this occasion, Worilds was left unblocked on a run in the opposite direction. However, thanks to his seemingly newfound speed, he was able to get in on the play in backside pursuit, running behind the backs of the linemen to chase Rice down after a three-yard gain.

A few plays later, Worilds made a similar play to the tackle on Pierce, riding Dickson’s block down the line and making the tackle. This time, he even pushed Oher out of the way and jumped on Rice like a cheetah on a gazelle. He’s certainly earning himself some money.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    It’s amazing how a contract year can effect a preformance

  • dkoy85

    It’s amazing how playing time can effect a performance. I’m sure you said “contract year” by accident so I corrected it for you. Welcome!


    I think there are quite a few factors more important than that.


    One constant: Jarvis Jones was of no consequence in each of these GIFs.

    btw, watch Troy in the first GIF evade the pulling Center and make the tackle.

  • Chad H

    Put Woodley on the right. Wow Jones has little to no vision on the field. He just stays with who is blocking him.
    I’m glad he is filling in well for Woodley. I am suspect of it as we’ll during a contract year. Remember he was injury plagued and could not replace an aging Harrison.
    With that said it has taken 4 years to demonstrate his ability and forced the Steelers to spend a 1st rd pick on a pass rusher. His play now puts the Steelers in a tough position. It would be great to have him on the Lt, Woodley on the Rt and move Jones inside. But they don’t have any money so moving forward.

  • steeltown

    He was never really given the chance (playing time) only when Harrison or Woodley were injured was he actually given significant snaps.. and he usually produced

  • steeltown

    Man he is a joy to watch, he really has become a well rounded player.

    They NEED to lock this guy up before the FA market opens. If they don’t they will again have to spend one or even two draft picks at OLB/DE because C.Carter is a nonfactor and we have no other OLBs being groomed

  • Lamarr56

    He really would be nice to keep this offseason. The problem is, every game he is starting, he is making more and more money. He might be too expensive for the cap strapped Steelers, but he would be really nice to keep if we could swing it.

  • steeltown

    I know, its almost like the Keenan Lewis situation. Hopefully this time around the FO is more proactive in trying to retain a player that could help this Team win games

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    My comparison of Chris Clemons when Worilds first came out says it all. I started posting on here last year, but on other message board, Worilds is a defensive speciman with one skillset that you CAN NOT teach: speed. Those kind of prospects take years to develop, Steelers FO should have known better and with the Jarvis Jones’ pick it makes it seemingly dumb-founded.

    Hopefully the LB coaches realize this and move Jarvis inside. While Jones might not be an elite ILB he will be a very good one regardless. The FO decision-making on what to do with Worilds will be interesting. Letting Keenan Lewis was inevitable but with Ike Taylor degressing its become very clear it has done some damages. Steelers FO should look at this as the direction of future as in: not whether we can afford Worilds but which is for better or greater’s good by is it better to have Worilds on our roster than playing against him? Keep this in mind, Worilds can be disruptive for years to come if he landed on right scheme like Chris Clemons did (Eagles regretted the decision of letting him go too soon that I can assure you).

    Probably other hardest off-season for us to foresee.

  • r4kolb

    What I want to know is why is he so much better on the left then the right? There is more to it then just playing in a contract year or playing time.

  • Chad H

    He was given chances he was also injured when he chances came around. A player is also given the chance with every practice. That is where the coaches see who is playing and who isn’t. Now that he is healthy and on the Lt side he is producing. Remember it was the way he practiced that had the coaches start Jones over him or split time. He wasn’t beating out Woodley in practice. I love what the guy is doing and I’m not trying to down play it. But question what is his motivation? Play to win, play to win a starting position or play to get paid? I’m questioning his motivation. That’s all. Still love what he is doing this year.

  • steeltown

    If they retain Worilds and Keisel /or Hood this offseason they can then put all of their focus on the secondary (as well as offensive tackle and tight end) in the upcoming draft

  • steeltown

    But still, technically he was playing behind Harrison and Woodley the first few yrs so there was no way he was going to supplant one of those guys. Also technically he’s been the healthiest LB we have (besides Timmons) the last two yrs.

  • Chad H

    Agree but who are we comparing him too? Carter? They both were the back ups.

  • Chad H

    To keep him where do we cut. Money wise I don’t see the Steelers being able to do anything until after the 2015 season. I agree we need him moving forward and Jones to the inside with Woodley over to the right. Good comparison and something I over looked. Maybe it just took him longer to develop.

  • steeltown

    Don’t mention that name haha, literally besides one good preseason game this year against Carolina going up against 3rd stringers (2sacks and a FF) he has been a nonfactor and completely disappointing throughout his tenure with the Steelers.

  • steeltown

    Hopefully no restructures (besides maybe A.Brown) a few cap friendly extensions and hopefully a paycut or two could get us close to the cap mark, then it would be deciding who to keep and who not to. With Cam Heyward emerging, Al Woods a cheap productive player and possibly Keisel on a vet minimum (not to mention the promising young Arnfelt and N.Williams) I’d be inclined to let Hood walk, same with Sanders so that’s two less players that would be due contracts this year, maybe helping funnel some of that unused cap space toward keeping Worilds…

    Maybe wishful thinking on my part. I just don’t want draft more OLD/DEs and go continue to go through this grooming process again and again

  • chris ward

    Great pursuit by Worilds in these GIF’s

  • blackandgoldBullion

    The best case scenario is that Worlds plays on the right the rest of the season. Hear me out here. His stats will not be as good, and he might just look decent. Hopefully, the Steelers then lock him up for a reasonable price for quite some time.

    Next year, they immediately put him on the left side for good! Yup. And tell Woodley, “Here you go, man. You can now attack the QB from the blindside. Go crazy!”

    Hopefully Worlds signs with the Steelers. The only alternative would be one other where they have to pay him big and perhaps release a big contract like Ike Taylor.

  • Alan Felicia

    Totally agree with you, spot on! Worilds has either been injured or not good enough to beat out a rookie (J. Jones) in the preseason or an aging/injured Harrison (who was hurt most of 2011 season) since he got to Pittsburgh. IMHO, it seems very convenient for Worilds to play well during a contract year.

  • cencalsteeler

    Khan must earn his paycheck by somehow retaining Jason Worilds. No disrespect towards Ike Taylor, but his play is tailing off and is in his tenth year. Lewis’ arrow was pointing up and Taylors is pointing down, and they decided to retain Ike. We can’t make the same mistake with Worilds, for his arrow is pointing up.

  • steeltown

    What’s amazing is how the Steelers continue to groom players only to then let them actually play full time in their contract years, in turn letting them showcase their learned skills to the entire League and then ultimately go elsewhere

  • cencalsteeler

    That is a flaw in their philosophy that needs to be addressed.

  • John Williams

    Because he is facing a right tackle. Left tackes are better blockers and athletes. That is why it is so hard to find a good left tackle. Put Worilds against a good blocker and he is a non-factor.

  • Virdin Barzey

    My guess is that they will have to let Clark go to ESPN (no issue with me), Ike might have to go as well and this might be it for Kiesel. Pola is a big question mark but he can’t get big money anymore.

    Not sure how much that free up but its just Timmons, Woodley and Ben caring the load of the money.

  • Alan Felicia

    Worilds had his chances in 2011 when Harrison missed 4 games b/c of injury – Worilds was also hurt during the same period. And when the team decided to cut Harrison, not only did Colbert draft Jarvis Jones but the coaches decided early on to start Jones over Worilds.
    Bottom line, IMHO, Worilds woke up and is motivated by this contract year. I have no problem with this as I would do the same thing!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    It worked so well in early 2000’s mainly due to the starters we were prepared to let go.. now trying to replace lesser talents with strong caliber starting players. That’s the big struggle we had recently. Also arguably we severely lack in the complementary players department. The tide is turning into that section and we should see some improvement despite actually being on decline.

  • steeltown

    Its well known that Worilds plays better on the Left side.. and when he did for Woodley, historically he’s been productive (5sacks last season) and now has four double sack games dating back to 2011 (three of those four performances came against Teams within the division)

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Colbert drafted Jarvis Jones because he was a clear cut as best player available for us. Their decision on starting Jones over Worilds clearly have backfired as they started Worilds again. It wasn’t that Worilds woke up, it was how the Steelers mistreated him as whole. Worilds produced last year and this year he is hitting his strides as a complete package; so you don’t let a player like him go. You just don’t do that.

    Steelers FO don’t have a clear control over what goes on in the draft, Jarvis Jones situation is a simply Ziggy Hood and Rashard Mendenhal situation, they both were just BPA. Yeah it might be easier if they reached for a player or traded down but drafts are never that simple.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Our biggest problem is this; we have three #2 cornerbacks, three right tackles, and three LOLBs. Those players produces just fine where they belong, but when they aren’t, they are producing lesser… so i’d say put Woodley’s money on field where it belongs, move him ROLB. Forget offensive tackles, we can’t develop one anyway. Cut Heath Miller, Ike Taylor, and Ryan Clark. Let Manny Sanders, Larry Foote, and Matt Spaeth go. Reconstruct Lawrence Timmons and Antonio Brown. Give pay cut to Woodley. Extend Roethlisberger and Polamalu to lesser money. Retain Cotchery, Willie Gay, Jonathan Dwyer, Cortez Allen, F. Velaso, Will Johnson, Ziggy Hood, Jason Worilds, and Al Woods. The rest are just non-impactful.

    How do we save money? Honestly you got to pick your poison. Let at least one of our best player on either field and I don’t really want either Polamalu or Roethlisberger to go. Forget free agency, you won’t find any great talents but pay attention to complementary players. Draft Ebron the tight end from North Carolina because he’d not only become a better version of Heath Miller but is a great complementary to Antonio Brown’s speed in passing game. Get a true cover cornerback in 2nd round. Don’t care if he can’t tackle, that’s what our front 7 are for and with our safeties, his biggest concern should be shutting down opponent’s #1 WR.

    Of course… its easier said than done.

  • Brandon James

    Just saying from what I saw in the GIFS, Jones is being doubled on the right side, and is setting the edge correctly. Smart playing

  • Callentown

    Last year was his chance. He did not show up like this last year. So Jones was drafted.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think the real question is if he really is so much better on the left. He’s played most of his career on the left, but only now is he playing at a truly high level. I would be interested to see if he can continue that back on the right side or whether he’s truly a left-handed player. He seemed to indicate himself that that might be the case though.

  • Xclewsive

    The biggest issue is that the Steelers couldn’t give Worilds more time prior, because of injuries and more veteran laden players in front of him. The Steelers got stuck chancing championships in the present and forgot about chasing them in the future as well. One thing that has bugged me about Tomlins tenure is his failure to groom his own drafted players.

  • Jon Crissinger

    Lol almost all of your posts on this site continually praise your own insight. You must be so much smarter than the front office and us on here. I say this and I say that. Haha

  • steeltown

    Worilds had 5sacks last season in very limited time, about 5-6games worth of snaps. That’s productive when considering what we were getting from Harrison and Woodley who logged 2-3x as many snaps.

    Jones was drafted because Harrison was leaving and Woodley has injury issues, not to mention he was the best player available, in their eyes

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Different assignments. Generally tight ends are line up on left side. Also don’t forget hacing Cameron Heyward helps a lot. It can be a huge difference if you are left-handed or right. ROLB on our defense like James Harrison usually is a read and react LB (probably why Jarvis Jones got picked) so if you see a space, you attack it. LOLB you only have one assignment per play. Also explain why every other LOLBs we had usually produced even when we truthfully had the worst LOLB of decade in Clark Haggans and he had 8 sacks during 05′ super bowl run.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Just because I had some experience as a scout doesn’t make me a better person, just more knowledgable. I have been both right and wrong, doesn’t deny it when I’m wrong. If you don’t really like what I have to say, maybe you really should look into the mirror.

    I’m highly-critcized of any decisions ANY FO make, just because I disagree doesn’t mean they are wrong. It IS easier being the guy on outside than when you have to sit in the office and make decisions. I know that..

  • Callentown

    Yes but if Worilds showed this kind of play last year, I don’t think the Steelers pick Jones with that first pick. That’s all I’m saying.

    Plus, do you really believe that, about best player available? It’s still about what they need.

  • Callentown

    I guess I didn’t think he had the ability to play this well, contract or not. Just haven’t seen him look this good before!

    I’ll call it good timing for him, but potentially another good player that the Steelers will have cultivated, only to see them ship off to another team and be good while we struggle at the position (see: Keenan Lewis – shutdown corner, N.O.)

  • Matthew Marczi

    Heyward actually plays on the right when Hood is in the game.

  • steeltown

    Clark and Keisel aren’t under contract next season, so they’re void of this discussion. Ike and Troy need to take paycuts and then the release of Foote and Levi Brown could help…and few cap friendly extensions.. maybe… who knows

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    An OLB was still a need, Steelers always had an approach of BPA meets need. It was my understanding that they had three players ranked high, 1A) Star Lotelulei. 1B) Jarvis Jones 1C) Tyler Eifert. All of them were in our dire needs and even now we could use a tight end but maybe the FO weren’t sold on him. Plus Kevin Colbert had a man-crush on Jarvis Jones, badly. So yes, arguably the FO were biased and made a gamble on that… Heath Miller would come back sooner and play at a high level but he didn’t.

    Looking at the draft, it was weaken badly in the top-tier talents, you likely wouldn’t have got anyone better in 1st round beside Jones or Eifert. Argue all you want but Worilds DID produced just fine. Keep this in mind, Worilds already were entering a contract year, perhaps they saw Worilds as a Keenan Lewis situation.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    He always had the ability to play this well and he is our fastest LB on roster. Just because he wasn’t given a chance (IMO Heyward situation) was just because they might feel more comfortable with Jones’ ability to force TOs which was the main thing they tried to replace with Harrison. Worilds DIDN’T produce TOs so I’ll give you that one but now that he does… he just might be a hot free agent commodity, just getting tired of it.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Oh I know. I was actually implying that Worilds couldn’t produced (same with JJ really) behind Keisel. Keisel currently is the weakling of our DL. Hood belongs there, so does Heyward. As much I love the beard, his time already have been up.

  • CrazyTerry

    Making Troy take a paycut is a no brainer. One reason I think Harrison refused to compromise with the steelers is I believe he felt like he was disrespected since the Steelers never approached Troy to take a paycut despite Haarrison showing more than Troy the last season. Once Ed Reed found no one a taker for him and signed with Houston for less money, that set the top bar for Polamalu’s value. These days, Polamalu is no better than an average safety. What he gives with those dazzling plays is offset by some pathetic pass coverage by him. As someone who used to love having Troy on the team, I am embarrassed for him when I see him play pass coverage. He seems to guess wrong more often than not. And that burst we see him at the line of scrimmage is missing when he has to chase WRs and TEs in the middle of the field.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    You say it all man. People never realize that our pass-rushing were that great. When they aren’t pas-rushing, they forced turnovers. Personally if I were in Kevin Colbert shoes i’d let Polamalu go completely but then that will give us “minus 3 starting defensive backs” but… how bad will it be with Will Allen and Shamarko Thomas starting? Plus Willie Gay and Cortez Allen? That’s why I’m not… as much as concerned I should be, considering one of them are bound to have a really bad season but that’s better than ALL three (not at same time but pretty much)

  • Callentown

    I hear ya ASH..

    But you and I both know that if Worilds showed strong last year, as in splash play strong, Jarvis would not be on this team.

    That said, I like Jarvis and think he will be a big player for us in a year of two.

  • Callentown

    Me too.