LaMarr Woodley has been an outstanding player for the Steelers. Since he has come into the league he has been a great pass rusher. He has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with when the defense steps on the field. The real question though is can Woodley put together a full season?
Woodley has two speeds. Great and unstoppable. Woodley is great all season long. He is unstoppable when he has to be. You can see that in his stats for the playoffs. When the game is on the line and it means something this guy is completely unblocakable. Woodley has 11 sacks in 8 career playoff games. He owns the record for most consecutive games with a sack in the playoffs and most consecutive games to start a playoff careers with a sack. He knows when to turn it on.
If you go through Woodley’s career you can see when he turns it on each season. In his rookie season Woodley only got to play off and on. When he came in he made plays. He made his most noise in his first playoff game. He had two sacks in limited time on the field during that playoff game versus Jacksonville. That was the start of the Woodley era in Pittsburgh.
When he came out for his second season he rolled out of the gates like a ball of fire. He had 9.5 sacks in his first 8 games. He was a complete monster. Woodley faded though as the season went on. You could see it was his first full season and he hit the wall. He was not used to being the starter for that long. He had not yet played as a starter and he struggled the second half of the season. Woodley did turn it back on when the playoffs came though and had 2 sacks in each of the Steelers games on the way to winning the Super Bowl. Woodley found that next gear when the playoffs started.
The next season Woodley flipped the script. He came out of the gates slow. He only had 2 sacks in the first 8 games. Both were against Detroit. So Woodley on made a sack in one game to start the season. Game 8 though Woodley lit a fire and went wild on opponents. He had 11.5 sacks in the last 8 games. He had at least a half a sack in each game to finish out that season. He was totally dominant and it was fun to watch. It was still half of a season but Woodley realized what he had done in the year before and understood when he should start to turn it on.
In 2010 it looked like Woodley tried a different approach. All out for a few games and catch his breath for a few games. He had 3 multi sack games but also had 8 games where he did not record a sack. You can see the pattern in his play. Woodley played well but it was not consistent. He was not the force he can be on the field. He showed that this last season.
This past year Woodley was unreal. He started a little slow with 1.5 sacks in his first 4 games. Once James Harrison went down with injury Woodley turned that switch on again. Over the next 4 games Woodley had 7.5 sacks. He was unstoppable and could not be kept away from the QB. Even when he did not get a sack he was deep in the backfield causing havoc. He could not be slowed down. He was easily on his way to a defensive player of the year award. By far the best defensive player in football. He lead this team through that tough time.
Woodley then went down with a hamstring injury and never really recovered the rest of the season. He played in 2 other games but only sparingly. The injury held him down the rest of the season. It kept him down in the playoffs as well. Woodley for the first time did not record a sack in a playoff game. The injury ended his streak and completed a record.
Now that we have seen that from Woodley and we know he can do it I would love to see it for a full season. Woodley knows what it takes now that he is in his 6th season. He will know how to push so that he can go all year and still put up those same stats. If he plays the way he played during the middle of the season all year then he will be the best defensive player in the game. He will be the unstoppable force we all know he can be.
We love you Woodley. Let’s see that beast for a full year and show the NFL how dominant you really are.