PITTSBURGH -- Jason Worilds claimed Wednesday that he really hasn't gotten enough playing time to be consistent since the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the second round during the 2010 NFL Draft.
"When I've had an opportunity to get out there, I've been able to get better each time,'' Worilds said. "So, that's all I've tried to do. ... To be consistent, that's something where I haven't had the chance to get out there since I've been here. I think it helps me a lot to be out there more often.
"I don't know what people think about me, but I expected a lot from myself. 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.''
Worilds is coming off what has been described as his best NFL game, but the stats just don't support his theory. Worilds played in 14 games as a rookie, primarily on special teams, and tallied 12 solo tackles and two sacks in limited play in the base defense. In 2011, however, Worilds started seven of 12 games that he played and his sack total skyrocketed to three.
So, during his first two seasons, if there was a lack of opportunities, it was because Worilds couldn't stay on the field due to injuries. And when he played, he was average. Worilds finally played a full schedule last season with three starts, and he made less solo tackles than in 2011 (27 to 23 in 2012).
He had five sacks last season, but just 27 total tackles. Through 10 games so far this season, Worilds has four sacks and 15 quarterback pressures, but he still has less tackles overall than Jarvis Jones. Worilds started the opener at right outside linebacker. Then, he was demoted in favor of No. 1 pick Jones.
Worilds replaced Jones in the starting lineup in the home game against Baltimore and had two solo tackles with no sacks. His first sack came the week before on the road against the New York Jets. Worilds has started five straight games now, including this past week against Detroit. But it was at left outside linebacker for injured starter LaMarr Woodley.
Worilds played every snap and had seven solo tackles with one sack and four quarterback hurries. Worilds didn't play too well against Buffalo in the previous week, two solo tackles and no sacks, but he turned up the heat against the Lions.
"The last two years, three years, when me and James Harrison were hurt, Jason Worilds has been able to step in there and play and do a great job putting pressure on the quarterback,'' Woodley said. "So, this year, when Jason became a starter, he had a few ups and downs. But he didn't let that stop his game. He stuck with it and worked hard and stayed on top of his game.
"Now, he's been playing really well the past couple weeks. He hasn't done anything different, from what I can see in the games and on film. He's done a great job all year, I think, putting pressure on the quarterback and getting a few sacks. He doesn't have a lot of sacks, but he's put pressure on the quarterback and has done a great job getting after the quarterback.''
Worilds has played both outside linebacker spots during his three-plus NFL seasons, and he appeared to be more comfortable on the left side for Woodley. However, that apparently is not the case for Worilds.
"The left side is a little more different from the right, but I have no preference,'' Worilds said. "The left side of the defense, I guess you're allowed to be the initiator more so than on the right side, where you have to play off some people, depending on what's called.
"The play call dictates that, the guy next to you, the guys behind you. So, it's different. (But) I guess I've never really had a home (same position), so I really can't tell you. The right side, there's a little bit more responsibility. Left-side-to-right, I guess you would do a few things different in coverage.''
Worilds acknowledged that he probably has played every snap before, like he did last week against the Lions, such as when he replaced Harrison and Woodley the past two season. Still, he claimed he hasn't had enough opportunities.
"It's tough, but like I've said in the past I'm just here to play,'' Worilds 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 your self and take advantage of every opportunity that you get.''
Worilds' snaps might be limited once Woodley returns to full speed with the trio of Worilds, Woodley and Jones likely rotating at both outside linebacker spots.
"That's a big plus being in my situation, and it's one of the few positives to not really having a home,'' Worilds said. "It was an opportunity for me to learn both positions, and it allows me to go out there wherever they need me. And I'll be able to perform.''
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