2014 is a contract year for Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Chris Carter, who is currently on pace to enter training camp as the backup to Jarvis Jones on the right side.
Due to the lack of experienced and accomplished depth currently at the outside linebacker spots for the Steelers, there’s been a lot of speculation that veteran James Harrison will be re-signed prior to the start of training camp. Carter admitted recently to RJ Schaffer of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he’s bothered by that.
“Absolutely,” Carter said. “I respect James and I have all the admiration in the world for him. He’s a great dude and a great veteran when I got here and showed me a lot of things he didn’t have to, but at the end of the day, this is a job, and we’re all competing.”
During his first three seasons in the league, Carter has failed to register a sack after notching 18.5 of them at Fresno State. In addition to saying that he needs to add more pass rushing moves to his arsenal, Carter also told Schaffer there’s something else he’s been working on.
“For me, I was fast, but I always want to get faster,” Carter said. “I think that’s an element of my game that separates myself from a lot of people.
“I have to work on perfecting that and making it superior to everybody else’s speed. I don’t want to just be as fast as everyone else, I’ve got to be a lot quicker.”
Last season, starting left outside linebacker Jason Worilds was in a similar situation to Carter’s. That situation looked like it got worse when Jones started ahead of Worilds in the Week 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, Worilds didn’t start his second game of the 2013 season until the Week 7 game against the Baltimore Ravens and that was because Jones was sidelined with a concussion. Worilds took advantage of the opportunity and thanks to LaMarr Woodley also going down injured, he started every game from there on.
According to Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler, Carter has had a good offseason. However, most all players that have been around as long as Carter has should look good in helmet and shorts. Training camp and the preseason is where Carter really needs to show that he still can potentially be counted on to start should injuries strike.