During the offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley was discussed quite a bit after being singled out by an anonymous player for supposedly being out of shape during the 2012 season. Woodley, who conditioned himself in Arizona this offseason, appears to be in good shape at the start of training camp and linebacker coach Keith Butler agrees.
“Right now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Butler said, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He looks good. He looks real good.”
That\’s not bad coming from Butler, who has never been shy about calling out his players when talking to the media. Kaboly reports that the coach and Woodley talked about him being in shape this offseason and Butler told his left outside linebacker that the team wasn\’t paying him to be on the sidelines.
“They might pay for one year, but they aren’t going to pay for the next year,” Butler said. “That is the matter-of-fact of the NFL.”
Woodley really needs to return to the same form that he was prior to suffering an injured hamstring in the 2011 game against the New England Patriots. While he did hurt his hamstring again last year, he has said all offseason it was his ankle that caused him the most problems.
The Steelers just haven\’t been able to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks for the last two seasons and with question marks needing to be answered at the right outside linebacker position now that James Harrison is gone, the last thing the defense needs is poor production out of Woodley again on the left side.
Woodley is primed for a big season, but he must be able to stay on the field in order for that to happen.