New Castle News

Sports

August 2, 2013

Steelers linebackers look to regain snarl

(Continued)

LATROBE, Pa. —

“It’s not a big stretch for him to learn what to do,” Butler said.

Yet the Steelers didn’t make Jones the Steelers’ highest drafted outside linebacker since Huey Richardson in 1991 to go chase tight ends and running backs. And they didn’t pay Woodley all that money to do the same. To be honest, he’s ready to get back to the fun part of his job.

“My game is predicated on sacks and this defense is predicated on getting after the quarterback,” Woodley said.

Getting there — or getting close — can force opponents into mistakes. That didn’t happen nearly enough in 2012. Though Pittsburgh finished No. 1 in total defense for the fourth time in nine years, the Steelers created just 20 turnovers, including four in a meaningless season finale against Cleveland.

The inability to flip the field or make the “splash” plays that Woodley made so regularly earlier in his career contributed to a dismal 8-8 finish. Woodley knows it won’t be tolerated. So does his coach.

“It’s a prove it year for all of us,” Butler said. “This league is like that. Every year if we don’t do well, we all get fired. I wish America was like that, we’d all be more productive.”

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