Monday, August 11, 2008
By Karen Guregian
August 9, 2008
FOXBORO - While rookie linebackers Jerod Mayo and Shawn Crable received most of the accolades following the Patriots’ 16-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in their preseason opener Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, the efforts of third-year linebacker Pierre Woods shouldn’t go overlooked.
Woods, who played most of the game in Mike Vrabel’s usual spot at left outside linebacker, set the edge and had the upper hand in most of his battles against tight ends and tackles.
Most impressive was his fourth quarter strip-sack of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and ensuing fumble recovery.
Known largely for his special teams play - last year he led the team with 22 special teams tackles - Woods is trying to finally break in on the linebacker rotation and make an impact on defense.
“The whole offseason I was up here for almost the entire year working out and working hard,” Woods said after Thursday’s game. “I will continue to do the things I’m supposed to do to become a better linebacker, and hopefully it will pay off.”
Coach Bill Belichick called Woods “one of our hardest-working kids. I think he has improved every year.”
Woods, meanwhile, could certainly relate to how rookies like Mayo and Crable felt playing their first NFL game.
“I think everyone is nervous their first game,” Woods said. “I was nervous my first game. It is the NFL, not college anymore. In college, you have a little bit more fun and time on your hands, and here it’s work, work, work. You got to do your job and know what you’re supposed to do and pay attention to detail.”