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Woodley willing to flip with Worilds

11/20/2013

PITTSBURGH -- The highest-paid defensive player in franchise history is willing to move to the other side of the field if it helps the Steelers.

Left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said he has "no problem at all" in switching spots with starting right outside linebacker Jason Worilds.

Worilds played exclusively at left outside linebacker last Sunday -- Woodley missed the game with a calf injury -- and he registered a sack as well as four quarterback pressures. Worilds has played both outside linebacker spots for the Steelers, and he has been more of a force rushing the passer from the left side of the defense.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he is open to the possibility of flipping his starting outside linebackers.

Woodley is too.

"I can adjust," said Woodley, who signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract in 2011. "Whatever [Worilds] and the team feels like is best then I'm up to it."

Worilds said he has no preference on where he lines up, but he added that playing the left side is a little easier for him because there are less responsibilities in pass coverage.

"The left side you're allowed to be the initiator more," Worilds said. "The right side you kind of have to play off some people depending on what's called."

Woodley, for his part, said it may be harder to rush the quarterback from the left side since most signal callers are right-handed.

"The left side is tougher because the quarterback is looking at you," said Woodley, who played both sides as a defensive end in college but has lined up for all but a handful of snaps at left outside linebacker with the Steelers. "Even though they say the best tackle is on the left side, when you've got that quarterback looking at you it's hard to make moves."

Woodley and Worilds are unlikely to flip sides for several reasons.

The time to experiment with such a move is during the offseason, something the Steelers might do if they re-sign Worilds, who will be an unrestricted free agent. Also, Worilds will still get his share of snaps at left outside linebacker with rookie Jarvis Jones also in the rotation at outside linebacker.

Worilds has four sacks -- three in the Steelers' last three games -- and trails Woodley for the team lead by just one.

The fourth-year veteran has rebounded nicely from losing his starting job to Jones -- Worilds has since reclaimed it -- no matter where he has played.

"It's tough but I'm an employee and they have to make a business decision and sometimes it's out of your hands no matter what you do so you keep that in mind," Worilds said of ceding his position to Jones after the first game of the season. "You have to continue to better yourself and when the opportunity comes you have to play."