2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers LB Worilds finally settling in

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-21 16:31

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jason Worilds has done his best to block out the detractors, the ones that have second-guessed the Pittsburgh Steelers since the moment he was taken in the second round of the 2010 draft and anointed as the next great outside linebacker at a place where the position is revered more than most.

He's the first to admit his production hasn't matched his pedigree. Yet he doesn't see himself as an underachiever but more of a victim of circumstance.

When the names in front of you on the depth chart are James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, sometimes you've just got to wait your turn.

That time, apparently, is now.

The 25-year-old is blossoming in his fourth season, playing so well on the right side that he sent highly touted rookie Jarvis Jones back to the bench and looking right at home on the left side while filling in for Woodley in last week's 37-27 win over Detroit.

Worilds got his third sack in three games, a near-safety against Detroit's Matthew Stafford in the third quarter, and added a career-high seven tackles. Suddenly, he doesn't look so much like a bust as much as a player who needed time to mature in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's intricate 3-4 defense.

''I don't know what people think about me, but I expected a lot from myself,'' Worilds said. ''But I just don't know if I've had that opportunity. I've tried to make the most of every opportunity that I get, and that's what I'm trying to do right now.''

The Steelers have needed Worilds to take the next step after Jones struggled early in the season and Woodley was forced to sit out last Sunday due to a calf injury. His four sacks are second behind Woodley and he's starting to do the little things that LeBeau holds in just as much regard any havoc he might create in the pocket.

Against Detroit he deftly sniffed out a screen pass to Reggie Bush and stuffed the play for a short gain. He was right in Stafford's face on several occasions, forcing errant throws as part of perhaps Pittsburgh's best defensive half of football on the season. After exploding for 27 points in the second quarter, the Lions were shut out over the final 30 minutes.

''Jason played really well, obviously, and he had a lot of splash plays, which everyone could see,'' LeBeau said. ''But he also had a lot of close-in plays that maybe only the (coaches) video could see.''

Plays that he made regardless of where he lined up. After spending most of his three years filling in sporadically when Harrison was unavailable due to injury or suspension, the Steelers had Worilds become an understudy behind Woodley on the left side. Call it careful planning. Call it a not exactly veiled glimpse of Worilds' future as the team prepped Jones to become the player the Steelers thought Worilds would not.

Jones did find his way into the starting lineup briefly before growing pains forced him into a more reserve role. The decision to make Jones a situational player wasn't just a matter of his coaches getting frustrated with his adjustment to the NFL. It was also a testament to Worilds' perseverance.

Worilds didn't take it personally when the Steelers landed Jones with the 17th overall pick. Just like he didn't take it personally when they offered him a one-year tender rather than long-term contract after three sporadic seasons.

''I'm just here to play,'' he said. ''And sometimes, they have to make a business decision. And sometimes, it's out of your hands, no matter what you do. So, you keep that in mind, but you have to keep trying to better yourself.''

Worilds will become a free agent at the end of the year. If he continues to keep finding his way to the football, there's a chance he'll be able to land a permanent starting job elsewhere. It's difficult to imagine him holding off Jones much longer, and Worilds is OK with that. He's more focused on helping the Steelers continue their unlikely climb out of a 2-6 hole on Sunday when they face Cleveland.

Woodley missed practice on Thursday, meaning there's a chance Worilds could find himself lined up on the left side. It's not quite the spot he envisioned on the day he was drafted more than three years ago. Still, he'll take it.

''(My versatility) it allows me to go out there wherever they need me,'' he said. ''I'll just try to perform.''

NOTES: DE Brett Keisel (foot) and S Shamarko Thomas (ankle) also did not practice on Thursday. ... G Ramon Foster (ankle) was able to practice and should play. ... TE Matt Spaeth practiced on Thursday for the first time since sustaining a Lisfranc injury in his left foot in the preseason. The Steelers have 21 days to decide whether to place Spaeth on the 53-man roster.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Freelance writer Dale Grdnic contributed to this report.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

Dez BryantFeb 26 09:03a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is likely to receive the franchise tag because the team is hesitant to sign him long term due to a lack of trust off [ More ]

Peyton ManningFeb 25 09:23p

The Denver Broncos and representatives for QB Peyton Manning are working on revising the veteran's contract, according to multiple league sources. He is scheduled to draw a $19 million [ More ]

Reggie BushFeb 25 05:33p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush has been cut Wednesday, Feb. 25.

A.J. HawkFeb 25 04:43p

Green Bay Packers LB A.J. Hawk was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move will save them $3.5 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Jacoby JonesFeb 25 12:33p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jacoby Jones was released Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Peyton HillisFeb 25 10:43a

New York Giants RB Peyton Hillis was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move saves $945,000 on the 2015 salary cap.

Dez BryantFeb 24 10:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant's NFL career could be in jeopardy if a video he allegedly appears is as bad as it sounds. A source said the 'incriminating video [ More ]

Jake LongFeb 24 09:23p

The St. Louis Rams are likely to release OT Jake Long this offseason for savings against the salary cap, according to beat writer Nick Wagoner.

Mathias KiwanukaFeb 24 03:33p

New York Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka has been released Tuesday, Feb. 24.

DeAngelo WilliamsFeb 24 12:23p

Free-agent RB DeAngelo Williams (Panthers) said he was not upset when the Carolina Panthers told him last week that he'd be released. Williams told Charlotte's WBTV that DE Greg [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's father denied a report that Peterson no longer wants to play for Minnesota. Peterson's father said Peterson is still open to a return to [ More ]

Ted Ginn Jr.Feb 23 04:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Ted Ginn Jr. was released Monday, Feb. 23.

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's situation with the team worsened during the NFL scouting combine as his agent and members of Minnesota's front office had a heated verbal altercation, [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 21 10:22a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) looks good as he continues to recover from a torn right pateller tendon in his knee, according to general manager Jerry Reese. [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIFeb 20 02:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will enter the 2015 season as the team's starting quarterback, and general manager Bruce Allen thinks Griffin's ceiling in the NFL remains high. [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 20 08:42a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fits well in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'My first impression: I can feel the quickness,' Quinn said [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 19 07:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) may commence running shortly, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz is recovering from a torn right patellar tendon in his right knee.

Andre EllingtonFeb 19 05:12p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) remains the focal point of the offense, according to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. Ellington split the injured tendon in his left foot, [ More ]

C.J. AndersonFeb 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson finished the year as the team's No. 1 running back and made the Pro Bowl, but new head coach Gary Kubiak said Anderson must [ More ]

James CaseyFeb 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles TE James Casey has been released.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group