Tag:LaMarr Woodley
Posted on: May 25, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 7:00 am
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Harrison: Rule-makers at NFL 'are idiots'

Posted by Will Brinson

Roger Goodell took to the podium at the NFL owners' meetings in Indianapolis on Wednesday to address the lockout. He also talked about the new rule changes in place to improve player safety.

Unfortunately, no one asked him specifically about James Harrison hopping on Twitter Tuesday night and calling the NFL's rule-makers "idiots."

"I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots," Harrison tweeted.

Harrison was referring to the new "club accountability" rule the NFL announced Tuesday. Under that rule, teams with a certain number of players (currently undetermined) who violate player safety rules will be fined a certain amount of money (also currently undetermined).

Harrison wasn't the only Steeler who took umbrage to the NFL's recent decision.

"Thoughts on "the Steelers rule"??? lol im sorry that im not sorry we hit 2 hard," LaMarr Woodley tweeted Wednesday morning.

Referring to the NFL's implementation of club accountability as the "Steeler rule" probably won't win Woodley any fans on Park Avenue, but it's probably pretty accurate.
Safety Rules

After all, Art Rooney acknowledged that the Steelers would have been one of the "three or four teams" who received a fine in 2010 had the rule been in place.

And you can expect Steelers fans to get upset, and Steelers players to accuse the league of targeting their franchise. The reality is, though, that you'll be hard-pressed to find a team that more flagrantly violated the helmet-to-helmet and defenseless receiver rules than Pittsburgh in 2010.

Many people will call that "just playing real football" or some other cliche. But it won't matter if the league doesn't agree.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Woodley's signing doesn't mean much

Woodley Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED (9:24 p.m.): According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jets LB David Harris also has signed his franchise tag tender. Like Woodley, he will make about $10.2 million for next season.

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Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley made $550,000 last season, but after Pittsburgh franchise-tagged him , he was due to make more than $10 million. That’s a pretty hefty raise for one of the team’s best defenders, and that’s probably why he became the first player this offseason to sign his tender.

All along, Woodley seemed fine with the position he was placed in by the Steelers, and his quick signing of the tender seems to prove that theory.* Also, because Pittsburgh reportedly plans to sign him at some point to a long-term deal.

* Also, Panthers C Ryan Kalil apparently will sign his franchise tag tender as well.


Now, what does this mean for the NFLPA – which is on the record as heavily opposing the franchise tag (they've tried to point out that with the expiration of the CBA next month, owners are not allowed to tag players)?

Well, nothing really.

They’re not breaking rank with the NFLPA (and remember, the players aren’t striking, so there’s no picket line to cross or anything. If the owners lock out the players, they couldn’t play the game, even if they wanted). Rather, they’re just insuring that they’ll have a great payday if the franchise tag survives into the new CBA. And if not, the signing doesn’t really mean anything at all.

In other words, no harm could come from signing the tender.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Steelers officially franchise tag Woodley

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, the Steelers have placed the franchise tag on LB LaMarr Woodley.

The move was widely expected, and Woodley has said he’s OK with the transcation. Usually, if the Steelers tag you, it means a long-term contract is eventually forthcoming (perhaps that’s why Woodley seems cool about everything).

[Related: Franchise Tag Tracker]

After New York’s David Harris and Kansas City’s Tamba Hali, Woodley is the third LB to be tagged this offseason. Their franchise-tagged LB salaries for the 2011 season will be $10.19 million.

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 8:07 pm
 

Report: Steelers to tag LaMarr Woodley

Posted by Andy BenoitL. Woodley

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers will place the franchise tag on outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. The team has until February 23 to make the move.

Tagging Woodley is not a major surprise, though some had speculated that free agent cornerback Ike Taylor is actually the team’s greatest offseason priority. The Steelers have a history of letting star linebackers walk away (see Hardy Nickerson, Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland, Jason Gildon, Greg Lloyd and Joey Porter). However, all of those player were nearing 30. Woodley is only 26.

Since becoming a starter as a second-year pro in 2008, the second-round pick from Michigan has recorded double0digit sacks every season. Dominant as Woodley is as a pass-rusher, his strength and ability to shed blocks makes him equally as destructive as a playside run-defender.

Most players disdain the franchise tag, though Woodley’s sentiment seems to be one of acceptance. He’ll make the average salary of the five highest-paid linebackers in football.

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Posted on: February 9, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Talk of franchise tagging emerges

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now we come to the time of year when teams begin trying to figure out who they’re going to franchise tag for the upcoming season. This year, that effort seems a bit irrelevant, considering we don’t even know if franchise tagging will survive into the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But for now, even though the NFLPA claims NFL teams are not allowed to tag anybody, the teams will do it anyway.

According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, the Steelers are looking to place that designation on LB LaMarr Woodley. Though it’s unclear in what position he would be tagged – as a linebacker or a defensive end or a hybrid, which naturally would affect his salary – it potentially is a good deal for Woodley.

Typically, if the Steelers place the tag on you or plan on placing the tag on you, they end up signing you to a long-term deal.

As for the Chargers, the San Diego Union Tribune writes they might franchise WR Vincent Jackson. Apparently, Jackson knows this is a possibility, and he would be willing to play for the $10 million or so that the tag would bring him.

Unlike the Steelers, though, it sounds like the Chargers aren’t interested in a long-term contract for Jackson, who’s been a bit of a problem child. Instead, they very well could let him walk away after the 2011 season so they can cash in on a compensatory draft pick (likely a third-rounder).

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Posted on: February 6, 2011 11:23 am
 

Timmons better than anybody

Posted by Andy Benoit

The most gifted linebacker in Pittsburgh is not named James Harrison. And he’s not named LaMarr Woodley. Or JamL. Timmons (US Presswire) es Farrior. The most gifted linebacker in Pittsburgh – and perhaps the entire NFL – is named Lawrence Timmons.

The fourth-year pro from Florida State enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2010. Originally drafted to play outside linebacker, Timmons’ initial development was slow, if not non-existent. But he started to progress after coaches moved him inside. Despite having just average awareness in coverage, he handled nickel duties in ’08 before assuming a fulltime starting role in ’09. He had 12 sacks his first two years inside.

Because his sack total dropped to three in ’10, Timmons suggests that teammate James Farrior is actually Pittsburgh’s best inside blitzer (Farrior had six sacks). But that’s either false modesty or naivety. No player can match Timmons’ downhill explosiveness or fluid athleticism.

It’s not just blitzing and rushing the passer, either. “I feel like I should have had more sacks, but as far as stopping the run and playing in coverage, I think I did very well,” Timmons says.

Timmons’ instincts improved each week. That’s vital considering his greatest trait, besides blitzing, is using his lateral agility to slip blocks.

Don’t be surprised if the 24-year-old is at the front of the “Patrick Willis/Jerod Mayo/Ray Lewis” discussion next year.

“Lawrence is as fast as any linebacker playing,” says Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. “I think the sky is the limit for this guy.”

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Josh Freeman makes a great point about Steelers

Posted by Andy Benoit

DALLAS -- Had a chance to chat with Josh Freeman on Friday (he was making the media rounds as part of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute lab that is stationed upstairs from radio row). The conversation centered largely around the lessons he’s learned in his first two years in the NFL. Freeman said that facing more frequent and complex A-gap blitzes was the toughest on-field tactic that he had to learn.

The Steelers just so happen to be one of, if not THE, best fire-X blitzing team in football (fire X is an A-gap blitz in which the inside linebackers crisscross on their way to the quarterback). Freeman offered one of the shrewdest yet simplest observations that has been made this week in Dallas: the Steelers front seven is extra difficult to figure out because the linebackers mix their 90s and 50s jersey numbers.

Normally, defensive linemen are the ones who wear numbers in the 90s. But Steelers outside linebacker James Harrisons is No. 92. And inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is No. 94. (The other starters, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley, are 51 and 56.)

Obviously, it’s easy to tell the difference between all four Steelers linebackers. But when you’re on the field and have a million things going on, it’s a little harder. If your first point of reference is normally a jersey number, and linebackers wearing numbers in the 90s are roving around, those linebackers are going to blend in for a split second. Split seconds are a significant chunk of time in football.

If a media type or outside observer had made this point about jersey numbers, it probably wouldn’t be worth a second thought. Jersey numbers? Really? But when a quarterback who has faced the Steelers brings it up on his own, there’s something to it.

[More Super Bowl coverage]

CBSSports.com's Jason Horowitz also caught up with Freeman:





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Posted on: February 2, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Matchup breakdown: Packers O vs. Steelers D

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers’ ground game doesn’t have a prayer against a Steeler run defense that ranks third all-time in the modern era. Center Scott Wells is a cagey veteran, but he struggled all season to hold ground against vociferous nose tackles. There may not be a more punishing run-stopping nose in the game than Casey Hampton. Even if the Packers can somehow neutralize that interior mismatch (and it’s doubtful they can), James StarkD. Driver (US Presswire)s, decent as he’s been this postseason, lacks the speed and agility to elude Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and Pittsburgh’s superb linebacking corps.

Green Bay’s best chance on Sunday will be to isolate their wideouts against the Steelers defensive backs. Don’t be surprised if the Packers spend most of the game in four wide receiver sets. That would force Dick LeBeau to play nickel or dime and keep either his leader (James Farrior) or most athletic player (Lawrence Timmons) off the field. It would also isolate at least one of Green Bay’s wideouts on one of Pittsburgh’s cornerbacks.

For Green Bay, the most attractive mismatch in the passing game will be inside. Steelers nickelback William Gay, who occasionally struggles in man coverage, will have his hands full against either James Jones or Jordy Nelson.

Also, expect the Packers to keep Greg Jennings on the right side of the formation, where he’s more likely to face Bryant McFadden. McFadden, like his counterpart Ike Taylor, is stout enough as a tackler to keep the catch-and-run happy Packer receivers from breaking a big one. But unlike Taylor, McFadden does not have great length or catch-up speed over the top. Jennings, one the crispest and most befuddling downfield route runners in the game, can exploit this.

Most importantly, spreading the field will create natural throwing alleys for Rodgers. This is critical because, with Chad Clifton going against James Harrison and Bryan Bulaga going against LaMarr Woodley, shaky pass protection will limit Rodgers to mostly three-step drops.

It will be fascinating to see whether LeBeau allows Rodgers to complete passes off three-step drops or whether he tries to counter the quick pass. Countering it likely means taking a reactionary defensive approach – something that is generally unfamiliar for LeBeau’s unit. Normally the Steelers love to blitz their inside linebackers (often this is what creates one-on-one scenarios for their potent outside linebackers). But to counter Rodgers’ quick strikes, the Steelers may drop eight into coverage and rush only three. Harrison and Woodley are both adept in space. If the linebackers are dropping back, Pittsburgh’s corners get to play zone instead of man. That helps appease the mismatch against Green Bay’s wideouts.

The X-factor, as usual, is Troy Polamalu. How LeBeau decides to utilize his most dynamic playmaker will determine whether the Steelers blitz or drop back. If Polamalu roves around the box, expect blitz. If he roves around centerfield, expect drop back.

Speaking of Polamalu, here's what LeBeau had to say about the legendary safety.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com