Ever since he came into the league as a second-round draft pick in 2010, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds has always been more productive on the left side than he has been on the right. Monday at the annual NFL Owners’ meeting in Orlando, FL, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin conceded that the Virginia Tech product is better suited to face right side tackle talent.
“I don’t know that (Worilds) was any different,” said Tomlin of Worilds’ 2013 season. “I just think the animal that he faces is a different animal,” said Tomlin. “That right tackle is a little different animal than the left tackle. I think if you’re really looking for differences in performance or highlighting differences in performance, the true answer might be there as opposed to what Jason is doing.
“Although, I will acknowledge that Jason has continued to improve since we’ve had him, and he has grown both on the field and off. Obviously, we like that growth and development.”
Last season, Worilds recorded a career high eight sacks to go along with 21 quarterbacks hits and another 21 hurries. His pass rushing productivity number was much higher on the left side than it was on the right and once starter LaMarr Woodley went down with a calf injury, he took over the starting spot and never relinquished it.
Due to free agency supply and demand at the outside linebacker position, the Steelers were virtually forced to transition tag Worilds and he immediately accepted the $9.7 million offer. Now the two sides are expected to work on a long-term extension later in training camp now that Woodley has been jettisoned.
Long-term deal or not, Worilds must show in 2014 that he can improve on his 2013 numbers and he must thoroughly dominate the right side animals that he faces as if he were Marlin Perkins in an episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
As far as the left side animals go, second-year outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has yet to prove that he can handle them and that too is a must if the Steelers defense expects to improve in 2014.