Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is now a defensive end with the Oakland Raiders and his new head coach Dennis Allen thinks he knows why the former second-round draft pick may have had problems staying healthy the last two and a half seasons when asked at the NFL owner’s meetings if his new player will be a base end that plays three downs.
“Yeah. That’s what he was in college and really body-type-wise, they always had to kind of keep (his weight) down in Pittsburgh and that’s maybe one of the reasons he had some injury issues,” said Allen, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
Allen’s reasoning certainly isn’t very deep, but he also said he has no issues with the Michigan product tipping the scales in Oakland between 270-275 pounds.
At the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine, Woodley weighed in at 266 pounds and there’s a good chance he hasn’t seen that number in a long time.
After he signed with the Raiders a few weeks ago, Woodley offered up his own reasons as to what he thinks it will take for him to make sure he stays on the field in 2014 with his new team in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“It’s just getting the small muscles stronger,” said Woodley, who has missed 14 games over the course of the last three seasons because of various injuries. “I think that being that my legs are so big, sometimes, like, the front part of my body is stronger than the back end of my body and just getting those muscles back together.”
In Oakland, Woodley won’t have to worry about dropping into coverage like he did in Pittsburgh as an outside linebacker. Instead, he’ll have his hand in the dirt most of the time with his sole responsibility being to play the run on the way to the quarterback. That’s something that probably pleases him.
“We brought Woodley in to be a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme,” said Allen. “Obviously some of the things we do have 3-4 principles and I think adding a guy like him allows you to potentially be a little more flexible, as far as what you do schematically.”
While the Raiders defense might be more flexible now with Woodley being part of it, at 275 pounds, I doubt Woodley will be.