Will Jason Worilds See More Time at LOLB This Weekend?
Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
"The right side was the right side, just going out there and playing football, … I think I did a good job on the right side, and Jason’s [Worilds] been playing good. No problem with the switch at all. –LaMarr Woodley (via Scott Brown of ESPN.com)"
Many wondered whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers would hand oft-injured veteran LaMarr Woodley his starting job back at left outside linebacker before yesterday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Jason Worilds, who switched over from the right side, had played so well in Woodley’s place during the previous three contests that many like myself believed that the former Virginia Tech Hokie did not deserve to cede playing time to Woodley.
Thankfully for the Steelers’ coaching staff, they allowed Worilds to play a bulk of the game at left outside linebacker against Miami and he did not disappoint. After he had racked up 22 tackles and 3.0 sacks during his previous three games, Worilds terrorized the Dolphins to the tune of eight tackles and 2.0 more sacks.
It was Woodley, not Worilds, who shared time with Jarvis Jones at right outside linebacker for much of the game. Moreover, Woodley was his usual ineffective self and racked up only three tackles. Worst of all, he was completely walled off on Daniel Thomas’ game-breaking 55-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
In my humble opinion, Worilds deserves to stay on the left side for the final three games of the 2013 regular season. With the way that he has played since he re-entered Pittsburgh’s starting lineup almost two months ago, there is no way that he should surrender playing time at his more natural position to a guy who hasn’t been healthy enough to suit up for much of the last month.
Is it fair that Woodley deserves to lose playing time due to his calf injury? Probably not. Yet Worilds has earned the starting gig as of late with his solid play from the left side. Furthermore, does Worilds necessarily deserve to lose or share reps to a guy who hasn’t been fully healthy or kept his weight in check for much of the last three seasons?
I for one hope that Worilds is lining up back on the left side for much of Sunday night’s game against Cincinnati. Moreover, I hope the Steelers elect to play the rookie Jones more often on the right side since the team’s postseason hopes have faded into oblivion.
The Steelers need to plan for the future during these final three weeks of the regular season. I just hope that the future includes up-and-coming players like Worilds and Jones as opposed to soon-to-be 30-year old guys who are eating up entirely too much cap space.
Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.com, Steelers.com , Spotrac, and Pro Football Reference
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