By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Last updated: 9:00 am
Theories abounded when Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley got off to a slower start than a garage sale during a thunderstorm.
Money had made him complacent. Money had him trying to do too much. He was carrying too much weight.
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor offered his own take Sunday afternoon, after Woodley broke out with 1.5 sacks and a crucial interception in a 38-17 win over the Tennessee Titans.
"I know something about LaMarr," Taylor said. "I don't think people understand, he always starts off late. I just know by his resume that he always starts late."
Verifying such a claim goes beyond consulting stats sheets.
The Steelers place as much of a value on pressuring the quarterback as they do actual sacks. The former is measured in the form of quarterback hurries, but it is still a subjective statistic to some degree.
"The guys in the locker room, the guys in the Steelers organization know the things I do out there on the field besides just being a pass rusher," said Woodley, who leads the team with three sacks and is fourth in quarterback hurries with six. "I think I also do a great job in coverage, which I was in coverage a lot (against the Titans). When I have an opportunity to rush, I just have to take advantage of it.
It is worth noting that in 2009, Woodley didn't have a sack in the Steelers' first four games. He had only two at the midpoint of the season before finishing with a career-high 13.5 and making the Pro Bowl.
It is also worth noting that Woodley's sacks tend to come in bunches.
He had 8.5 during a six-game stretch in 2008. He also had two sacks in each of three postseason games, including one on the final play of Super Bowl XLIII.
The six-year, $61.5 million contract that Woodley signed in August makes him an easy target for criticism. When asked if he had taken it upon himself as a captain to say anything to Woodley, inside linebacker James Farrior shrugged.
"We always challenge each other, especially in our (meeting) room as linebackers," Farrior said. "We always feel that we can control the game with our play. We're going into every game saying if we play well, we have a great chance of winning."
One big game does not necessarily mean Woodley is on his way to a monster season. But he said he doesn't measure his success or impact by individual numbers.
"I've never worried about what people say about me or my teammates," Woodley said, "because at the end of the day if we can come out on top and I have zero sacks, that's the most important thing."
Read more: Steelers OLB Woodley is regaining his stride – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_761210.html#ixzz1aTrYMKoQ