Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Worilds finds comfort zone on defense
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- LaMarr Woodley is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday after missing the Steelers' 37-27 win over the Lions because of a calf injury.
Assuming Woodley plays against the Browns, he is likely to be on a snap count, and not just because the Steelers will want to ease him and his tender calf back into action.
Right outside linebacker Jason Worilds has done well when playing for Woodley on the left side of the defense, and he will continue to get snaps there with Jarvis Jones also in the rotation at outside linebacker.
Coach Mike Tomlin did not rule out something else when it comes to his starting outside linebackers: flipping Woodley and Worilds.
"He has had success from the left side," Tomlin said of Worilds. "I am open to all possibilities in terms of moving players around to maximize our rush."
Worilds had a sack and four quarterback hits against the Lions, and he was one of five Steelers players on the field for all 73 of the Lions' offensive snaps. Jones played 72 snaps with Chris Carter getting the only other snap at outside linebacker.
The amount of snaps Worilds, who has three sacks in his last three games, and Jones played last Sunday make it even more imperative for Woodley to return. A three-man rotation will allow the Steelers to keep Woodley, Worilds and Jones fresh throughout the game.
Here are other notables regarding snap counts from the Steelers' win over the Lions:
Le'Veon Bell played 61 snaps with Jonathan Dwyer getting 10 and Felix Jones four. A foot injury that knocked starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of the game led to extra snaps for Jerricho Cotchery and rookie Markus Wheaton. Cotchery played 67 snaps -- the same number as Antonio Brown -- while Wheaton played a career-high 48.
- Safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, cornerback Ike Taylor and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons joined Worilds in playing every defensive snap. Polamalu also logged three offensive snaps as he was in at the end of the game when the Steelers downed the ball to kill the clock.
- The amount of nickel and quarter defenses used by the Steelers last Sunday is reflected in how snaps were divvied up. Cornerbacks William Gay and Cortez Allen played 72 and 70 snaps respectively while safety Will Allen was on the field for 66 of 73 snaps. Nose tackle Steve McLendon (15) and inside linebacker Vince Williams (seven) played limited snaps. Defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood played 64 and 61 snaps, respectively.
- In-game injuries have been an issue for the offensive line, but the Steelers more than held up in that area Sunday. All five starters along the offensive line played every snap, joining quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the field for all 77. With the Steelers using a no-huddle offense for much of the game, Mike Adams played just seven snaps as an extra tight end.