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Tomlin's brought in these former players and the whole freeking training camp has turned into a love fest - HIT SOMEBODY ALREADY!
Harrison, Woodley poised to dominate
By Scott Brown
Monday, August 4, 2008
Only two players in NFL history have more sacks than Kevin Greene, so he qualifies as an expert when it comes to rushing the quarterback.
After working with the Steelers' outside linebackers during the first week of training camp, Greene said his former team might have something special in LaMarr Woodley.
"He's going to be better than me," Greene said.
That's high praise and a scary thought for opposing teams, especially since they already have to contend with a Pro Bowler at the outside linebacker spot opposite Woodley.
If James Harrison can build on the breakthrough he made last season, and if Woodley can tap into his vast potential and do for an entire season what he did in spurts in 2007, the Steelers should trot out a dynamic duo at the positions that are most critical to the team's pass rush.
Harrison had 8 1/2 sacks last season, and Woodley chipped in with four despite playing sparingly. Those numbers could improve dramatically since Woodley has taken over for Clark Haggans at left outside linebacker and since Harrison has looked edgy and dominant as ever, particularly during blocking drills, when he has repeatedly overpowered offensive linemen and running backs alike.
"There's really no telling what we can do," Harrison said.
All he did last season at right outside linebacker was make people forget about Joey Porter.
Harrison led the Steelers in sacks, finished fourth in tackles (80) and tied for second on the team with 12 tackles on special teams.
Harrison demolished the Ravens last November, as he registered 3 1/2 sacks, forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and made an interception in the Steelers' 38-7 win.
"When James doesn't want to be blocked, it's very difficult to block him," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's a Pro Bowl player for a reason."
There is also a reason why the Steelers don't have to worry Harrison getting complacent, even though he made the Pro Bowl as a starter.
The 6-foot, 242-pounder was cut by the Steelers three times before sticking with the team, and he understands as well as anyone how tough it is to get to where he is -- and to stay there.
"If you're satisfied, then you might as well retire," said the 30-year-old Harrison, who was voted Steelers MVP by his teammates last season. "I want to improve on last year, so you look at those numbers, and you tell me."
Woodley's numbers from his rookie season were modest, but he still finished tied for third on the team in sacks despite limited playing time. The 6-2, 265-pounder added two more quarterback takedowns in the Steelers' playoff loss to the Jaguars.
Woodley made such a smooth enough transition from defensive end, the position he primarily played the University of Michigan, to outside linebacker that the Steelers did not attempt to re-sign Haggans following the 2007 season.
Woodley has the size and speed to become a dominant pass rusher, but, as the second-year man said, "it's going to take the whole front line (to be effective) in order for James and I to have a good year."
The potential is there for both Harrison and Woodley to have a great one.
"You've got one who is a bona fide Pro Bowler already and the other has a great gift," Greene said. "I think they're going to be fine."
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