Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) runs with the ball against Denver Broncos middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard (52) during the second half in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Add LB Depth with Wesley Woodyard



Is one team’s trash another team’s treasure? Former Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard lost his starting job during the final month of the 2013-14 NFL season. The Tennessee Titans are bringing him on to provide depth and leadership among a linebacker group that looks to transition toward Ray Horton‘s 3-4 hybrid scheme.

Was the team captain’s demotion a result of bad performance? Some people speculate that a neck injury hampered him. In December 2013, Mile High Report discussed why Woodyard may have lost his starting job to 36-year-old Paris Lenon. Shortly after a game against the Titans, a poll titled “Do you think Wesley Woodyard has been demoted” received 1,966 votes. 92 percent of participants didn’t consider it a demotion and felt he was resting up for the playoffs. Commenters appeared surprised about the situation and seemed to value his play.

Here’s a free-agency spotlight from ESPN that covers Woodyard. He’s an experienced special-teamer who has played inside linebacker and weakside linebacker. Former head coach Mike Shanahan tried him at safety. According to the piece:

And when the Broncos decided in training camp last summer to move Woodyard into the middle linebacker spot, even before Stewart Bradley was lost for the season because of wrist injury in a preseason loss in Seattle, it was because Woodyard was deemed the most physical option on the depth chart. It also went with his understanding of the defensive scheme that would enable him to quickly move from the outside into the middle.

But the Broncos believed Woodyard wasn’t quite the same player after he injured his neck this season — a stinger in a win at Dallas. Woodyard had been the only defender in the league in 2012 to have finished with at least 100 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions. Eventually the Broncos moved Paris Lenon into the middle linebacker spot over the last four games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

So Woodyard seems like a player whom fans respected. A neck stinger may have been the cause for his demotion. Regardless, Woodyard joins a cast of inside linebackers that includes Moise Fokou, Colin McCarthy, and possibly Zach Brown if he moves from his typical outside linebacker position.

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Mile High Report


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Tags: 2014 NFL Free Agency NFL Tennessee Titans Wesley Woodyard

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