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Al Woods named Steelers Digest Player of the Game in loss to Giants

The Steelers' utility defensive lineman Al Woods racked up nine tackles and got a sack in the Steelers' loss to the Giants in the preseason opener Saturday. For that, he was named Steelers Digest's Player of the Game.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Steelers utility defensive end Al Woods played the second-most snaps on the team (58, behind Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith's 59), and he made an impact in many of them.

He racked up nine sacks playing both nose tackle and end, and based off the strength and agility he showed, it's all but impossible for the Steelers to release him this year.

Going against the Giants' bench players, he was unstoppable - to the point where one might wonder the sense of sportsmanship keeping him in the game. He's clearly advanced to the point where he's capable of competing against back-up offensive linemen, and proving himself to be one of the more versatile defenders the Steelers have.

At at point in which the Steelers do not have a set back-up nose tackle to Steve McLendon, Woods' performance came at a great time. Currently, Cameron Heyward is the top defensive end back-up, but Woods can make this roster as the utility man - serving as a back-up at all three positions - when the season gets underway.

Despite the loss, the Steelers' defense had plenty of nominees for this award. If they played linebacker last night, they were probably mentioned positively. Rookie Vince Williams had three tackles, a sack, a tackle-for-loss and a pressure in 28 snaps. OLB Adrian Robinson scored the Steelers' only touchdown and added three tackles. Marshall McFadden had five tackles and a hit on the quarterback.

Offensively, LaRod Stephens-Howling took an unexpected start and turned it to the big talker in the post-game. Seven carries for 40 yards, and looked outstanding in doing so. This isn't to minimize the efforts of the Steelers' offensive line that looked dominant in itself on a few occasions, but the Steelers' free agent signing looked comfortable and at-ease playing on his college field.

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