PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – With James Harrison in Cincinnati, the Steelers will look for a return to form from LaMarr Woodley as well as impact play from a couple younger players to make up the difference at linebacker.
In this next in the series of 93-7TheFan.com Exclusive Web Primers, Andrew Fillipponi will take an in depth examination of the linebackers of the Steelers.
Andrew is most interested in what is sure to be a spirited camp battle between Jason Worilds and 2013 first-round pick Jarvis Jones.
Jones had a slow 40 time as well as a spinal issue, but he was able to dominate the Premier Conference in college football while at Georgia. The last time a Steeler rookie started on defense was Casey Hampton in 2001.
If the Steelers were confident in Worilds as a replacement for Harrison they would have gone in another direction with their top draft pick. Whatever the team’s concerns with Worilds, Andrew expects Jones to be the starter.
Anonymous teammates have questioned the work ethic of LaMarr Woodley last season and Andrew believes that we could be looking at a case of “Fat Cat Syndrome.” However, Woodley has looked different this off-season leading Andrew to say, “I am a believer in him.”
On the inside, veteran Larry Foote is back at a bargain rate for the production he delivers.
Sean Spence and Stevenson Sylvester are not likely to be long-term answers because of injury concerns, but sixth-round pick Vince Williams out of Florida State could contribute although his learning curve will be steep.
Lawrence Timmons really stepped up last season as a legit star, but Andrew remains convinced that the outside linebackers will rebound to be the driving force of this unit this season.