Allright folks, I'm posting this because this has been a question that has been lingering in my own mind for a while and I wanted to see what you guys had to say about it. The question:
What do we really think of Larsen and Woodyard?
I know we all love them. They became, I'll hesitantly use the term "cult heroes", for us last year. We know they are ace special teamers that we are lucky to have on the squad. We also saw in their extended playing time at the end of last season that they are also very capable linebackers. I will also venture to label them "playmakers" given their penchant for sniffing out the ball-carrier and making solid tackles. We know that Woodyard is solid in pass coverage, I am not so sure about Larsen in that role, maybe someone who has a better idea can pass along their thoughts.
What I am getting at here is, aside from our positive feelings for these great young guys, do we think of them as future starters for our squad? How about stars? Do we see them making pro-bowls?
Frankly, I am surprised that one of them hasn't overtaken Andra Davis by this point at LILB. I fully expected McDaniels to take the reigns and put one of them in that spot by now. What does McDaniels and the coaching staff think of them? Are they grooming them both as future starters at ILB, or looking at them as just terrific backups at the position? I see there being two ways as to what McD has planned for them: 1. The role we have seen in the preseason and nothing more: Special teams, Larsen as a punishing blocker on offense, Woodyard as a nickel linebacker. He doesn't see them as starter quality. 2. Future starters at LILB and RILB who need another year or two to learn the new system and continue to develop.
Do we see Woodyard as a guy who can earn a starting spot, possibly not over DJ but maybe beside him... Do we just like Larsen for his bruising style of play (nothing wrong with that sentiment), or do we think he can be an above average starter in the league? Are they both just solid linebackers that we love for their effort and ferocity but lacking in the necessary athletisicm and power to really man the position? Or are they the future of the middle of our defense?
I ask because I am uncertain, I have myself confused. Right now, my feelings are that Woodyard is a better player than Davis, and should be starting at LILB next to DJ. However, I don't know if that is the right position for him, he seems to be tabbed as DJ's backup, is he not big enough for the left side? I think I feel that Woodyard has a better shot at starting at LB for a long time in the NFL. What do we think here?