Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley

By Matthew Marczi

End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.

Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.

Player: LaMarr Woodley

Position: Outside Linebacker

Experience: 7 Years

Veteran outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley already entered this season with a lot of questions surrounding him, and he didn’t provide many answers in his favor.

Considering the chief concern about his recent performance over the span of the prior season and a half was whether or not he would be able to stay healthy, the fact that he missed five games—and nearly all of a sixth—has left virtually everybody questioning his future with the team.

As well as Woodley may have performed while he was actually healthy and on the field, the fact remains that this was the third straight season of serious, chronic soft tissue injuries involving his calf and hamstring muscles, and as a result, very pertinent questions about his future are being raised.

Woodley, who will turn 30 in November, has now played through half his contract, which he signed before the 2011 season. Because of consistent contract restructures that have pushed his cap hit backward, he is nearly prohibitively expensive to part with in terms of its impact on the team’s salary cap.

That said, he was among the Steelers’ best players when he was actually on the field this year, particularly early on in the season. During the first several weeks, with an ineffective platoon at the right outside linebacker position, Woodley was the team’s only consistent source of pressure on the quarterback, registering all five of his sacks in the first six games, in addition to five quarterback hits and over a dozen hurries.

He still kept the pressure on in the pass rush for the next few weeks before his injury, even though he didn’t register a sack. The game against the New England Patriots was one of his best, while it was collectively the worst for the defense as a whole, as well as for many individual players.

While he has done better in the past, his run defense in 2013 remained adequate, and he was more of a sure tackler than most on the defense last season. I have no doubt that Woodley can still be a highly effective player for the Steelers if he can stay healthy.

But to say that his ability to stay healthy is in question would be an understatement. The Steelers are being forced to look their future in the eye this offseason. Is the soon-to-be-30 and clearly past his prime Woodley part of that future? And does that exclude the just-turning-26 and clearly just entering his prime Jason Worilds, who is the team’s biggest pending free agent by far?

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.