Jason Worilds intent on rising to the occasion
Steelers’ Worilds intent on rising to the occasion
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Jason Worilds finds himself in a situation many players face on a yearly basis: a young guy trying to replace a superstar.
But Worilds' situation is unique. The former second-round pick is trying to replace a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year in James Harrison while holding off the advances on the starting job by first-round pick Jarvis Jones.
He wouldn't have it any other way.
Finally healthy and having completed an uninterrupted offseason training regimen for the first time, Worilds is geared up to make the Steelers forget about Harrison and wait a year before anointing Jones as a starter.
“I told him: ‘Are you going to rise to the talent or lay down?” linebacker coach Keith Butler said.
Worilds plans on rising up.
He has been penciled in as the starting left outside linebacker since the start of spring practices, and that's continued through the first weekend of training camp.
Butler sees a different linebacker than he has had in the past. The reason: Worilds finally had an offseason to prepare.
Two years ago, the lockout wiped out Worilds' offseason. Last offseason, he battled a tricky wrist injury that eventually required surgery that kept him out through the preseason.
“I think it set me back a lot,” Worilds said. “Having a full offseason puts you in a better place mentally and physically. Just to have the opportunity to work hard and train and to be in shape and have the time during OTAs to hone your craft is invaluable.”
Worilds said his injury was so severe that he couldn't hinge his wrist enough to open a can of soda.
“It definitely took longer to heal than I thought,” Worilds said. “Little things that you take for granted, I couldn't do.”
The wrist caused him trouble with tackling, grabbing runners and taking on blocks because he couldn't fully extend his wrist.
Despite playing about one-third of the defensive snaps last season, Worilds still managed to rank second on the team with five sacks on 166 pass-rushing attempts. Harrison had six sacks on 294 pass-rushing attempts.
“I am looking to be better than last year,” Worilds said. “I think I did well with the limited snaps that I had.”
The full offseason program has done wonders for Worilds' psyche.
“I think he is very confident in his abilities right now,” Butler said. “He feels better running the defense now more than he ever has probably because he has an idea what he is doing and what the people around him are doing. Trust me, he is going to help us.”
If so, it's likely only for this season.
Worilds is in the final year of his rookie contract and said he has yet to be approached for an extension. It likely won't happen: Jones is waiting in the wings, and LaMarr Woodley signed a long-term deal a season ago.
“I take it one day at a time,” Worilds said. “Money isn't a motivating factor to me. I am not saying that I don't like it, but it doesn't motivate me. Winning, competing, that's what I am really all about. I got the opportunity to come out here and compete.”
Butler has firsthand experience of what it is like to look over your shoulder at a first-round pick. He started at inside linebacker for Seattle when it selected Brian Bosworth.
“It would play on my mind,” Butler said. “But it is a good thing. It is motivation.”
Jason Worilds Could Miss Time with an Injury; Door is Open for Jarvis Jones
By Kyle Curry on August 1, 2013
According to Bob Labriola of Steelers.com outside linebacker Jason Worilds did not suffer a leg injury as previously reported. Instead Worilds has suffered a toe injury, but it could still sideline him for at least a couple of days, which could mean many things.
As Labriola states this could be an opening for first round pick Jarvis Jones to step in and show what he can do. There has been speculation since Jones was drafted that he could see the starting line-up as a rookie, but that is rare on the Steelers defense.
The last rookie starter for the Steelers was linebacker Kendrell Bell in 2001. However, if Worilds misses some time with an injury Jones, who was playing with the first team defense today as Woodley was not practicing, could make a run at the starting job.
And according to multiple reports on Twitter Jones has been looking pretty good so far; especially for a rookie who isn’t even a week into his first NFL training camp.
Last year Worilds missed much of the off-season with a wrist injury and he was hoping to stay healthy this year, as all players are. Hopefully this injury won’t keep him out long, but if it does he may not have his starting job waiting for him when he gets back.
Even if Worilds returns soon, and is sounds like he will, Jones is still playing well which is a good sign. He may not win a starting job as a rookie, but if he continues to impress during camp and the pre-season he will definitely see some situational pass rushing opportunities this season.
Staying on the field has always been the issue for Worilds. I've heard a lot of things about JJ already. Will be interesting to see if he is able to step up and really take advantage of this opportunity.
This reminds of the RB competition last year, when Redman came to camp as the starte, then proceeded to miss camp time with leg injuries--and lost the chance to seize the job. This feels different to me. I really have to believe that Worilds recognizes the situation, and isn't taking it for granted (like I feel Redman/Dwyer did).
It feels exactly the same to me...I just don't think Redman or Dwyer were sandbagging last year...I believe they were legitimately injured, just as Worilds is...
There is little doubt in my mind that if Worilds stays healthy he is the starter...and he will do enough to get a fat contract somewhere. BUT, if Worilds isn't able to stay healthy this might be a good thing for the Steelers. Meaning, Worilds could become a reasonably priced back up. Considering how often our OLBs get hurt, it would be great to have Worilds as a number 3.
I think that last year's RB battle was about which one would give it away the least. I look at this OLB battle as which player will seize it the most. With the RBs last year you did not lose much ground by being injured. I think that Worilds missing significant time could knock him out of contention.
Originally Posted by Slapstick
I have much doubt that Worilds is automatically the starter if he remains healthy. I have always believed that Jones will show well, and so far he supposedly is doing that. I think that any slip by either one of these two and the other jumps far out front, and this minor injury to Worilds could be just the thing to open the door for Jones, and not look back.
Originally Posted by Shawn
As much as I want Worilds to succeed (just like any Steeler draft pick), I just don't see it...Hopefully Jones is the real deal, otherwise IMO it will be another year with sub-par sack and TO totals...
I just dont see Worilds being dominant on the outside. A back-up player yes, a dominant starter no...Not to mention that he has huge shoes to fill....
He will probably start this year, but I believe he will not finish as the starter.
That depends on whose shoes he is filling. If he is trying to fill James Harrison prior to 2012's shoes then that is next to impossible - that man was a beast. However, I keep hearing about our disappointing 2012 season, how we must improve upon that. James Harrison 2012 was absent to start the season, barely visible in the middle part, and only good (not DPOY great, just good) to end the year. I think that either one of our candidates has the ability to replace that guy.
Originally Posted by steelfin