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Butler wants Woodley to overcome complacency

LaMarr Woodley, David Johnson AP

With Steelers linebacker James Harrison sliding into the twilight of his career, the next great outside linebacker in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense could be LaMarr Woodley.

But linebackers coach Keith Butler thinks that Woodley has to want it.  So far, he apparently hasn’t.

“Wood has to decide if he wants to be a great player,” Butler recently said, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “When he decides that, he is going to be a bear.”

Last year, Woodley got off to a slow start, with only 1.5 sacks in four games.  Butler thinks that happened because Woodley showed up too for camp too heavy.

“He just wasn’t in shape,” Butler said.  “He’ll tell you that.  If he don’t tell you that, I’ll tell you that, I don’t care.  He has to get his big butt in shape, I tell him that all of the time:  Don’t come to camp weighing 290.”

This year, Woodley was closer to his listed weight of 265.  And Butler is happy.  But he still wants Woodley to not be content.

“A lot of guys come in the league and have a lot of natural ability,” Butler said.  “At some point in time they realize they have to work in order to stand out in this league.  If you don’t work, you are just going to be another guy — a good player, but not a great player.”

If Woodley can finally become that great player, the Steelers can continue to have a great defense, even after current anchors like Harrison and Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel are gone.

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7 Responses to “Butler wants Woodley to overcome complacency”
  1. Bubby Brister says: Aug 9, 2012 3:34 PM

    Woodley also had 7.5 sacks in 4 games after that start and was becoming a legitimate DPOY candidate before getting injured.

    Woodley is already a great player. Butler’s just trying to push him to his full (and downright scary) potential. I think you see it this year.

  2. ravenator says: Aug 9, 2012 3:37 PM

    Oh man this team is falling apart!

  3. Deb says: Aug 9, 2012 3:46 PM

    Well, Kevin, I’m reading Wood’s facebook posts, and he’s not telling me that–but I’ll take your word for it. Last year, our Big Wolverine did way too much preseason talking and that didn’t work out too well for us on opening day. This year, it sounds as though he’s knuckled down and focused more on working than talking. I like that. Woodley has tremendous talent and enthusiasm, and I look for him to be a defensive leader when Harrison and Polamalu retire.

  4. steelersownyou says: Aug 9, 2012 3:59 PM

    Hes a big reason why we’ve beat the ravens for years! If woodley wasnt hurt that game at home when torey smith should of been called for offensive pass interference. Flacco woulda been sacked by woodley the beast!

  5. dmravens says: Aug 9, 2012 4:12 PM

    Woodley always (starting with his second year) has been a dominant player. Him and Clark are very underrated players in term of what they mean to that defense. Both make game changing plays at critical times.
    I was also upset that steelers were able to keep Butler, and was hoping he’d join Colts.

  6. itsnotfootballanymore says: Aug 9, 2012 6:39 PM

    Ravenator, considering you gagged not once but twice last year at your best shot at a SuperBowl in years I would think you would concentrate on closing the deal instead of evaluating the Steelers.

  7. Sam Von Schamm says: Aug 9, 2012 8:35 PM

    2007 4 sacks
    2008 11.5
    2009 13.5
    2010 10
    2011 9 (in 10 games)

    11 sacks a year after his rookie year and he isn’t great yet?

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