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With Woodley Out, Carter Might Get One Last Chance To Impress


Just as Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds is in the final year of his contract this season, Chris Carter will be entering his next season. With the status of both Worilds and LaMarr Woodley currently up in the air for 2014, swinging and missing completely with Carter could further hurt the team at the outside linebacker position when it comes to depth for next season.

Carter has played all of two snaps on defense so far this season and with Woodley now out for the final two games, it will be interesting to see just how much playing time he gets. Both Worilds and rookie Jarvis Jones will likely need a few plays off and Carter must take advantage of any playing time that he gets should that happen.

In 2012, Carter started the first three games of the season on the right side as Worilds and James Harrison were both slowed by injuries. To put it bluntly, he failed the test and as a result only played one more snap on defense the remainder of the season. If the Steelers thought after the 2012 season that Carter hadn’t yet reached his ceiling, they might not have spent a first round draft pick on Jones last April.

By the time the draft rolls around, the Steelers will undoubtedly draft another outside linebacker and possibly even two, just as they did in 2010 when they drafted Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson. It would be nice if Carter could serve as immediate depth next season while those one or two draft picks develop, but at this point there’s nothing to suggest that he’ll be able to. Maybe he can change that opinion in these final two games.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • toonasteel

    I’m not sure this is likely to happen based on Tomlin’s comments stating (paraphrasing) that he is going to play to win these last 2 games. If Tomlin stays true to this, Carter (barring any further injuries) will not be seeing the field that much.
    Having said that, I’d love to see what Carter can do in a few series the next 2 games. I’d also love to see Wheaton, Thomas, and less of Sanders/Clark as they will be gone next year.

  • srdan

    At some point, enough is enough. Unless he pulls a 93 for the last two games, he shouldn’t even be in camp. Give someone else the chance he has gotten.

  • Jason

    As it stands now he only trails Woodley by 5 sacks.

  • DoctorNoah

    Adrian Robinson was released by the Chargers last week. We should get him back in the fold: a situational pass rusher seems like what we need. Am I wrong?

  • Chad H

    Carter is a bum.

  • SumnerYoung

    I don’t have high hopes for Carter, but he is still quite young. I’ll be rooting for him to succeed if given a shot.

  • steeltown

    This is why I don’t understand why we don’t have an OLB atleast on the PS being groomed and taught the defense. We literally have no one behind Woodley, Worilds and Jones, except Carter who is a non-factor. Even if they draft 2OLBs in the next draft you would think they’d have a young guy on the current roster or PS being that Worilds is a FA next year and Carter has shown nothing. How many ILBs do we need? We have Timmons, Williams, Garvin, and Sylvestor (also Wilson on the PS and Foote on IR) and don’t tell me that Sly is capable of playing outside, he can barely play inside. One would think instead of Wilson on the PS they’d have sought out a young OLB with potential

  • Jason

    I agree 100%. I always fall back on assuming “they” know more than we do but sometimes I’m not so sure.

  • Ken

    Carter is still on the team? oh my

  • James Kling

    I liked Robinson. Now he’s had a taste of the bigs, he deserves another look…

  • srdan

    Where is adrian robinson? Did he make the eagles?

  • treeher

    The best way to make the Steelers roster is to leave and come back.

  • James Kling

    I think there have been some odd assessments of D-side guys and some outright head-scratchers in terms of how we use them in the TomBert draft era. Thought Hood was a 4-3 end; still do. Didn’t think Ta’amu was a fit at NT in the 3-4, looked again like a 4-3 UT. Fond memories of Tomlin saying we’d drafted Timmons as an OLB; uh, no, clearly not.

    And while spending a R5 pick on a DE from Fresno State is no big deal, he was productive (199 tackles, 36 TFL, 19.5 sacks), so it’s not like we brought in a hack. But his frame (6’1, 248#) never screamed OLB at all. Once again, he looked like he should be moving inside a la Timmons. Had outstanding workout numbers (KEI = 72.5). I realize the transition from DE –> OLB may be less difficult than DE –> ILB, but he does not appear to be thriving at OLB, and frankly we could use talent at ILB as well.
    By the numbers:
    A notable NFL ILB (draft class of 2012) measured 6’3″, 242#, 27 reps at 225#, 38″ VJ, 10′ 3″ broad jump, 4.58 s. 40. Carter was 6’1″, 248#, 27 reps, 36″ VJ, 9′ 6″ broad, 4.58 s. 40 yard dash. So, comparable in terms of frame and workout. (The notable ILB is Luke Kuechly.) Just seems odd that we keep trying to force a square peg into a round hole, having Carter set the edge, his frame is all wrong for it.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think i’d rather see Garvin play instead

  • steeltown

    They definitely know more than me, but I scratch my head soemtimes

  • Rick M

    I hate giving up on a player, but gee his ship appears to have sailed. Yes he’s had some injuries, but he just hasn’t impressed when he’s been given opportunities.

    Some of the not-so-successful linebackers drafted since 2008: Bruce Davis (3rd round), Mike Humpal (6th), Thaddeus Gibson (3rd), Stevenson Sylvester (5th), Chris Carter (5th). Oh well, Worilds certainly has worked out, albeit a little later than expected. And fingers remain crossed for Sean Spence.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Carter failed in 2012 and since then he’s gotten a handful of snaps. I can’t see him pulling a J Worilds next year he’s just about shown us next to nothing. Unless he plays out of his mind next year there is going to be a serious depth issue at OLB. Would be nice to bring back Woodley Worilds and Jones next year otherwise we’ll be starting over with OLB just like when Carter was drafted.

  • srdan

    Because of the packages we run now i can’t make out if he is a ILB or OLB

  • steeltown

    Exactly, knowing what Carter brings to the table and knowing Worilds is a FA you would think they’d bring another body in at the position this year. It makes me think they might actually have plans to keep Worilds around

  • steeltown

    I like having hybrid guys that bring versatility, he’s a converted Safety that plays LB so you know he has some coverage skills. I think he’s being used in packages as an ILB in coverage. I read that he weighs 235lbs now, not 220 like he is listed at

  • James Kling

    Gibson was a R4 pick, but point taken: dovetails my post about TomBert making some odd D-side picks in terms of fit and utilization. R5 and 6 guys, not expecting them to necessarily set the world on fire, and Humpal had a neck issue when we released him, but Davis was a whiff, Gibson was a whiff, and Sly has been basically a ST guy. By the numbers, Spence is small and slow, but I liked his instincts and his style of play, hope he can make it back to the show.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think they use him as both, although the team website listed as a back up RILB

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Isn’t that why we still have Spence, to be another hybrid guy

  • James Kling

    The notion that our FO is infallible has certainly been tested. I’d start with the 2008 draft, and then parse out some notables from the others in the TomBert era. They’ve missed high, they’ve missed low. And the cap management (taking aging vets’ salaries and converting them to bonus money prorated out past the likely end of their playing careers) has really come back to bite us lately.

  • mlc43

    It’s going to be interesting. I commented on a thread a couple of days ago about how short we are at OLB. I was more referring about going into NEXT year, not necessarily this season, lol. I think we’re going to have an extremely hard time keeping Worilds. Worilds, wow, to think that what many people see as the savior to our OLB woes wasn’t thought of very highly by the fan base himself not too long ago. Sadly, it looks like we’ll be going into next year with oft injured Woodley and Jarvis “Please Bulk Up” Jones. Still, it’s not as gloomy as all that! Gotta have faith!

  • srdan

    Interesting.

    IMO, V williams will be tough to beat out of the ILB next year for foote or spence. Good problem to have. If they see Garvin as a package guy, then he could come back, but there is a pretty crowded ILB competition coming up next summer. You can’t go into the season with garvin and spence as your backups IMO, a vet is needed.

  • steeltown

    yep

  • steeltown

    Vince Williams is playing the BUCK, Garvin seems like more of a MACK in pursuit LB

    Maybe Foote sticks around another year so the depth chart would be BUCK V.Williams/Foote and that at MACK Timmons/Garvin with Spence (if able) as the hybrid x-factor LB

    Would be pretty awesome to have Polamalu, Shamarko and Spence on the field at the same time

  • srdan

    As long as its a passing down, lol.

  • James Kling

    Definitely would be a cool cover package.

  • RMSteeler

    We seem stuffed for ILB’s, with some seemingly have good/great upside. Makes me wonder why TP played mostly ILB for half the season. Was he really the best fit for run stopping compared to the bigger LB’s. Lebeau and Mitchell have created more questions than provided answers. Poor LB development by Mitchell the past 3 years makes me leary of him eventually taking over as DC someday.

  • srdan

    Two things I think are safe to say about Worldis:

    1. He will explore FA (barring the FT)

    2. THe steelers will not just let him walk without discussion. Keenan is a too recent to go through that again.

    Pass rushers will always be a hot commodity. Teams will recognize that he is a LOLB. He should get a modest deal, but not Orakpo money. I have been thinking of combinations of who I would be willing to let walk to see him come back. Hood, Sanders, Woodley obviously come to mind. They inevitable paycuts we discuss in this forum for our ageing secondary. But then thinking outside the box. How valuable is Pouncey to this team? What about Heath? Rookie deals are modest. A first round TE could fill the safety valve roll to some extent. Was our Oline really hurt by having velasco in there and not pouncey? I think having him back at C will open up some zone plays and pulls for bell, but is that worth losing a promising talent at OLB? Pouncey needs signed this off season by steeler standards.

  • mlc43

    What run stopping? LOL :)

  • steeltown

    I see Pouncey being long term with this Team and im pretty sure Miller will be extended.

    There are some cuts to be made like Levi Brown and maybe Foote.. Hood and Sanders could be good as gone once the FA market opens. I think Worilds and Cotchery are the two biggest re-signings this offseason and then also Dwyer and Will Allen for depth. All should be relatively cheap except Worilds. In the end, I just cant see going into next season with Woodley and Jones and then Carter and some rookies filling out the depth chart

  • Jason

    Keith Butler is the LB coach. Mitchell coaches the DL.

  • RMSteeler

    Should have read “attempted run stopping” ;) I know they had to do something, but was Troy really the answer? I believe the tape says no. Troy’s better playing off the line. Has a better view for reads, and think he’s better in run support when he reads and rushes pre-snap. Playing on the line, I saw him caught up in the wash of 300 pounders to often with him then not able to run support. Whichever coach(s) thought it was a good idea to convert Troy to LB this year needs to get some coal in his stocking. Would like to see Robinson and Baxter brought back for another look.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Keeping my fingers crossed with Worilds that he’s brought back. This may seem far fetched but i would ask Woodley to take a pay cut. That money would be used to sign Worilds without tagging him plus you bring back all three guys with experience in this Defense. At least if they have to draft an OLB they won’t be pressured to plug him in and play right away. If Woodley doesn’t take a pay cut then you have to release him which is a big blow to the cap.

  • steeltown

    I hope Baxter is signed to a futures contract this offseason, I’d like to see him be given one more chance. Me thinks he provides more upside than Carter

  • mlc43

    I haven’t really gone back and watched tape but it seems they are using the crap out of Quarters packages with TP at ILB. It doesn’t seem to be working all that well but I’m sure there is a reason for it that we don’t know about. I have to admit, though, it’s nice to see him stay healthy this year. He meant a great bit to this franchise and whether here or somewhere else next season, I hope he has a great year.

  • srdan

    Dave, you taking early vacation today? No articles!

  • HopalongCassidy

    Especially after 3 or 4 other worse teams in the league dump you because you’re not even good enough to make their practice squad.

  • joed32

    No he didn’t, went to Denver and San Diego and now he’s on the street again.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Yes, unfortunatelly. He is terrible.

  • alex

    to use the word Carter and impress in the same sentence…

    really!?

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