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Thread: Al Woods Capitalizing on Extended Work

  1. #1
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    Al Woods Capitalizing on Extended Work

    Al Woods Capitalizing on Extended Work

    BY DOMINIC DI TOLLA - DEC 16TH, 2013



    Ziggy Hood stepped up last night and played one of his best games of the 2013 season against the Cincinnati Bengals. The former starter, who was pressed into duty once again due to Brett Keisel’s injured foot, recorded four tackles, one sack and recovered a fumble.

    Lost in the shuffle of Hood’s recent success was the solid play the team received from Al Woods. The backup nose tackle has stepped up over the last month for the hobbled Steve McLendon, and Mike Tomlin has noticed how well Woods has performed during that span. During his most recent press conference, Tomlin said the following about the former L.S.U. Tiger:

    "I’d have to look at the tape. Obviously, I appreciate his effort. Obviously he’s [Al Woods] stepping outside of his normal role in terms of the number of snaps he’s playing and that’s appreciated. But we know that he’s capable. I’m sure he’s excited about the opportunity that he’s being given."

    Woods’ emergence and versatility have been definite pluses for Pittsburgh’s defensive front as of late. To his credit, the fourth-year pro has stepped up well (10 tackles and 2.0 sacks) since McLendon injured his ankle during the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Cleveland Browns.

    Last night against the Bengals, Woods manned the A-Gaps well and did a tremendous job of plugging the interior of Cincinnati’s offensive line. Overall, Pittsburgh’s front-seven stifled the Bengals on the ground to the tune of only 57 rushing yards. Best of all, Cincinnati did not record a rushing play for over nine yards on their 22 carries!

    After spending the 2012 campaign and most of the spring as an afterthought, Woods has definitely earned a spot in the Steelers’ defensive line rotation with his play this fall. With Hood and Keisel set to become UFAs after this season, the door is wide open for Woods to emerge as a long-term contributor in the trenches for Pittsburgh.

    Granted, Woods might not become a long-term starter for Pittsburgh at defensive end or nose tackle. Yet there is always room for a versatile and heady contributor to help the Steelers along their defensive line. Guys like Chris Hoke, Travis Kirschke and Nick Eason have done the dirty work in those roles in recent seasons, and Woods could be primed to be the next in line to help Pittsburgh’s defense in that fashion.

    As it stands, Woods has a tremendous window to shine for the Steelers during the final two weeks of the regular season. If he continues to play like he did last night, then more reps should be on the horizon for the fourth-year defensive lineman.

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2013/12/16...ortunity-play/

  2. #2
    Interesting how much our players seem to be flip flopping positions and finding success. Think about it...

    Woods - back up DE ---> NT
    Hood - DLE ---> DRE
    Heyward - back up DRE ---> DLE
    Worilds - ROLB ---> LOLB
    Beachum - back up OG ---> LT

    Other than Hood, each of these players improved an under-performing position. Hood replaced an injured Keisel, and has looked good but no noticeable improvement. Of all of the complaints about the coaching staff this year, shouldn't one of the biggest be that they did not realize that they were starting players who would perform better??

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o. View Post
    Interesting how much our players seem to be flip flopping positions and finding success. Think about it...

    Woods - back up DE ---> NT
    Hood - DLE ---> DRE
    Heyward - back up DRE ---> DLE
    Worilds - ROLB ---> LOLB
    Beachum - back up OG ---> LT

    Other than Hood, each of these players improved an under-performing position. Hood replaced an injured Keisel, and has looked good but no noticeable improvement. Of all of the complaints about the coaching staff this year, shouldn't one of the biggest be that they did not realize that they were starting players who would perform better??
    Shouldn't the coaching staff be praised for guiding the evolution of those players into solid contributors at weak positions?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Granted, Woods might not become a long-term starter for Pittsburgh at defensive end or nose tackle. Yet there is always room for a versatile and heady contributor to help the Steelers along their defensive line. Guys like Chris Hoke, Travis Kirschke and Nick Eason have done the dirty work in those roles in recent seasons, and Woods could be primed to be the next in line to help Pittsburgh’s defense in that fashion.
    I dont know, Im expecting Woos to become part of the core of our revamped defensive line.
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  5. #5
    There were a few times when I noticed Woods holding his ground against a double team. I need to watch that game again more closely, but he seemed to do a very nice job. I think McClendon is best served as a backup across the line. Woods has played more like a NT than McClendon. I'm not sure if Woods is the answer at NT moving forward, but I think he can be the top backup across the line.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Discipline of Steel View Post
    Shouldn't the coaching staff be praised for guiding the evolution of those players into solid contributors at weak positions?
    Sure, but how much of this was by design?

    Worilds has always played better on the left, and has been invisible on the right. Only an injury to Woodley forced the move.

    McLendon has been awful all year, but only an injury forced the move.

    Beachum and Heyward were moved in due to poor performance by the players who were there.

    Hood was moved out of his starting position, and then found a new position due to injury.

    Let's give them half marks on this overall.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o. View Post
    Sure, but how much of this was by design?

    Worilds has always played better on the left, and has been invisible on the right. Only an injury to Woodley forced the move.

    McLendon has been awful all year, but only an injury forced the move.

    Beachum and Heyward were moved in due to poor performance by the players who were there.

    Hood was moved out of his starting position, and then found a new position due to injury.

    Let's give them half marks on this overall.
    I agree with you. The talent was only recognized after injury.

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