- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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LaMarr Woodley's disappointing 2012 season can be blamed on injuries. Others are blaming Woodley himself.
One unnamed teammate called out Woodley to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook saying, "He was awful. He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt."
I hate when a player doesn't put his name to comments when they're overly critical. That being said, these strong comments carry some validity.
Woodley has been a media darling from appearing on South Park to posing as Run DMC. This raises questions on Woodley's commitment to training. General manager Kevin Colbert didn't exactly rush to Woodley's defense in saying the 2009 Pro Bowl player always carries a lot of weight. In South Park terms, Colbert essentially called Woodley big-boned.
Over the past two seasons, Woodley has missed nine games due to hamstring and ankle injuries. To make matters worse, he has four sacks in the past 13 games that he's played.
This type of production isn't going to cut it, especially if the Steelers end up cutting James Harrison to clear up salary-cap room. The Steelers need the Woodley who recorded nine sacks in the first eight games of the 2011 season. He looked like the NFL Defensive Player of the Year that season until a hamstring injury derailed him. It's not like the Steelers have anyone who can push Woodley. Backups Jason Worilds and Chris Carter haven't proven they can make an impact as starters.
In order for the Steelers to get to the playoffs, they need to generate turnovers on defense. To generate turnovers, they need to get more pressure on the quarterback. And to get more pressure on the quarterback, they need Woodley to focus on football this offseason. If he doesn't, it could create more rumblings in the Steelers locker room.