Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson was a guest Monday afternoon on ‘The Zach Gelb Show‘ and during the interview the former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers had quite a few interesting things to say about the team he played his first 10 seasons in the NFL for. To start with, Woodson was asked to give his overarching thoughts on the 2019 Steelers.
“You know, I listened to a take from Bill Cowher, I think Bill was right in the sense that this is the first year in many years that people aren’t talking about the Steelers,” Woodson said. “The Steelers are normally, you know, one of the top several teams in the AFC and everybody’s always talking about them making a strong run in the postseason and this is the one year they’re not. So, I think that’s a positive for them. And if you really look at it, you know, offensively, they’re offensive line is still there so they’ve got a strong offensive line. I still think they’ve got a very good running game. Getting [Benny] Snell Jr. In the mix, I think he brings a different dynamic than [James] Conner.”
Woodson also was asked about Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster during his Monday interview regarding the third-year player now being asked to be the team’s new number one receiving option now that Antonio Brown has been traded away. He made it clear that he thinks Smith-Schuster will be fine in that new role and that the real question marks concerning the Steelers offense heading into the 2019 regular season all revolve around the supporting casts at the wide receiver position.
“He [Smith-Schuster] can be a number one, but now you need to find out who’s that number two,” Woodson said. “Who’s going to be that guy? Is it going to be [James] Washington? Is it going to be [Donte] Moncrief? Who’s going to be that guy to step up to the plate for them on a consistent basis? On the offensive side, they’ve still got Big Ben [Roethlisberger]. I think the offense is going to be fine.”
While Woodson believes the Steelers offense will be fine in 2019 without Brown, he made it clear on Monday that he’s not so sure about how the team will do defensively this upcoming season.
“My question mark comes to the defense,” Woodson said. “I think the interior, they’re great. I think the linebackers are coming around. Devin Bush, is he going to be that guy to make a game changing plays inside one of those big games? And then on the secondary side of it, you know, who’s going to take the opportunity to make plays? Outside of Troy Polamalu, the last time they’ve had somebody to make plays in that secondary, that’s been quite a while. You know, Troy’s probably going to be in the Hall of Fame next year, so it’s been a while that the Steelers haven’t had that game changing secondary player that they’ve been looking for for quite a while.”
Woodson having concerns about the Steelers 2019 defense and that unit’s ability to make plays this season is certainly understandable. After all, the Steelers 2018 defense only managed to register 15 takeaways and of those, only 8 were interceptions. Additionally, while big things are expected out of first-round draft pick Devin Bush during his rookie season, the inside linebacker still must prove that he can live up to his billing.
Woodson’s concerns about the Steelers 2019 aside, he let it be known that he’s currently bullish on them for the upcoming season.
“I think the football team is in a good position,” Woodson told Zach Gelb. “Man, this is the first year that I can think of, along with Bill Cowher, that I haven’t really thought about them being the front runner in the AFC. So, I think they can sneak up on some people. I think they’re going to have a good year. I still picked them to win the [AFC] North. The question is on the defensive side, who can be that guy to make a difference?