In an earlier post, we looked at Kevin Colbert’s thoughts on free agency and the salary cap. He spoke on other topics including Woodley’s health, Sean Spence, and the upcoming draft. When asked if Woodley’s medical issues were a concern, Colbert said, “LaMarr has had some durability concerns over the last couple seasons, and they’ve been legitimate injuries.
“I think any time a player has an injury and if it extends beyond a season I think it does become a concern. It has to be, because if a player’s not on the field he’s not helping us. I think he’s missed 14 games [in the last 3 seasons] with injuries. Is that a concern? Yes. But it would be for any player who’s coming off an extended period in one season or a prolonged period over successive seasons, I guess.”
Can his leg issues be addressed like Troy’s were? He aggressively rehabbed his leg issues.
” That’s something we always look at for the whole team. In fact, we’re meeting (Wednesday) afternoon with the training staff, with the strength and conditioning staff, and reviewing where we are medically with all our players, different things we need to try to do as an organization to ensure we minimize those in the future.
“We had similar type meetings last year and I think Troy’s the perfect example of someone who changed their regimen with positive results. Each guy’s an individual and they train differently. The frustrating part is we don’t have them for the amount of time we’d like to have them. Per the CBA we can’t be with them. We can monitor from afar what they’re doing but we can’t be with them as much as we’d like, or they can’t be with us as much as we like. Even if they’re at a remote site, we can’t visit that site because there could be college kids there and we can’t be there at the same time. So it’s hard to really monitor where the players are from a conditioning standpoint.”
He went on to say, “We have to trust the player, and hopefully they’ll be professionals about it.”
Colbert was also asked about Sean Spence’s progress and his future. “We had one great day of practice last fall and that was very exciting for us and exciting for him. Unfortunately he broke his hand that same day. Maybe it was a blessing. Maybe that small sampling he gave us was enough to show that he can be fully recovered from this injury.
“Whether or not he can sustain it through an off-season, through a training camp, preseason, regular season, we won’t know, but what he showed us in that one day of practice we’re very encouraged where he is right now.” When asked if Spence would be in for the spring and summer training camps Colbert said, “The plans with Sean would be he’s certainly going to be in the mix as a possibility, but I think it would be naive to say that he’s over the hump because nobody knows at this point.”
Wrapping up the linebacker talk, the Steeler GM was asked if Joey Porter was brought in to coach Jarvis Jones. “First of all, it was exciting for the organization because of who Joey Porter was and who he still is,” said Colbert. “Of course we were aware of what he did at Colorado State last year. He did a nice job with those kids in one year. We saw Joey at the Senior Bowl. He was excited about the opportunity to advance. Quite honestly I think Joey’s more excited about coaching for the Steelers than just coaching in the NFL. I think he was quoted as saying he wanted to work at Colorado State and here. I think that’s a big reason why Coach Tomlin was interested, because Joey can bring a certain element of pass-rush expertise.
“The exciting thing is he and Jarvis are very similar stature, so I think there are some things he’ll be able to share with Jarvis that will help Jarvis be a better player. We’re looking for a lot of improvement in Jarvis as a second-year player, as we do with any young player in this defense. If the player’s going to be a good player there’s usually a big jump from year one to year two, and we’re hoping that’s the case. But he wasn’t brought in here just for A player. The expertise he can lend for all of our pass-rushers, interior people as well as the outside linebackers, will only help us.”
Continue on to the next page for Colbert’s thoughts on the draft.