The Steelers will be once again without linebacker LaMarr Woodley tonight as they face the Cleveland Browns at home. Woodley has been out since late October with a hamstring injury and came back briefly last week against the Bengals. After a monster October, recording 7.5 sacks, Woodley has been forced to watch from the sidelines as the rest of the defense has finally caught up to his intensity. While Tomlin describes his team as having “starters and non-starters” as opposed to back-ups, Steeler Nation is anxiously awaiting the return of the sack machine Woodley.
Woodley made a brief return against the Bengals but basically sat himself the rest of the game after feeling “fatigue” in his hamstring. Tomlin stated that it wasn’t a setback to the injury, but Woodley had felt something and decided to not do any further damage to it. After seeing a player like WR Andre Johnson of the Texans out for 6 weeks with a similar hamstring injury, it’s pretty important not to rush a return for Woodley. Jason Worilds has been filling in for Woodley but Harrison has turned it up Robo-Cop style with his visor and has just one less sack (8) than Woodley after missing his own games due to his eye injury.
Woodley himself has reassured Steeler Nation throughout his injury via his Facebook and Twitter pages that he is working very hard to get back on the field. After resigning a contract in the offseason and starting pretty slowly, Woodley came into October with a vengeance and still leads the team with sacks at 9. As the team’s top pass rusher for the past few seasons, Woodley is surely missed out on the field. The Pittsburgh Steelers philosophy for years, however, has been to foster talent and sort of promote from within when it comes to finding the next dynamic linebacker. Although, no one is ready for Woodley to be replaced permanently anytime soon. Woodley is a fan favorite due to his prescence on the field, his charity work, and his interaction with fans via social media. Woodley appeared on the NFL Network and commented about his injury,
"“We’re just being smart about the situation. You know, coming back off a hamstring injury, you just have to get back into the flow of things, and you can’t overdo it … you have to be smart about it,”"
Woodley was also asked about his offseason comments regarding the Ratbirds and how Woodley will never conceed to saying they are a Super Bowl contender because they’d have to beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs to do so and that would never happen “in his lifetime”. The media jumped all over those comments and treated it as if Woodley was just talking trash to Baltimore as opposed to having unwavering confidence in his own team.
"“I’ll be wrong if I say a team like Baltimore or Cincinnati or the Jets or anybody else that we play against — I’d be wrong to say that they’re going to the Super Bowl because if I say that, that means we’re not going to the Super Bowl. And I would never say that because going into the matchup, that means I’m already saying we’re gonna lose the game,”“I plan on playing football in February no matter who we play.”"
That’s good to hear because Steeler Nation plans on watching the Steelers in February. Gotta love the confidence. No reason to kiss ass to a team that could be standing between you and the Lombardi Trophy. Woodley, you’re my boy blue.
As the Steelers take on the Brownies tonight Steeler Nation knows that Woodley’s prescence isn’t exactly necessary to the win, especially considering how Harrison and the rest of the defenese just handled Dalton and the Bungles 4 days ago. But I’m not willing to say the Steelers don’t need Woodley to win. The Steelers need Woodley to get back to the Super Bowl, that much is certain. Take a moment to think how awesome a game would be with both Woodley and Harrison on the field at full strength and playing as good as they have of late. That spells a whole lot of grass stains on whoever the opposing quarterback may be. With Woodley taking the opportunity to rest a bit more and not play against the Brownies, that may just be Alex Smith getting to know the turf much better next Monday night. Get some rest Woodley. Harrison and Co. has got this for now. Go Steelers!
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