But ask most defensive coordinators across the league, they’ll tell you that a player who does his job well, no matter what his assignment on any given play, is just as valuable. Sure, it’s nice to have explosive plays made from all over the field, but when a coach can show in the film room the final positive result of a player doing what he has been told to do, those are often the behind-the-scenes successes that aren’t openly discussed or analyzed.
Though his stats through eight NFL seasons — 104 career tackles with 3.5 sacks — aren’t exactly eye-catching, Woods, who signed with the Colts on Friday, has been able to be a force up front that takes up opposing blockers, sometimes more than one at a time, to free up the linebackers and defensive linemen around him to make the big plays.
Let’s not forget, the 6-foot-4, 307-pound Woods has been able to play 81 career games, with 19 starts, over the past seven seasons with some of the best defenses across the league, particularly the Seattle Seahawks (2011), the Pittsburgh Steelers (2012-13) and, most recently, the Tennessee Titans (2014-16).
“Al has the ability to play multiple positions along the defensive line,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said about Woods’ signing in the team’s press release. “Adding an experienced veteran like Al will help us win battles up front.”
In this space, however, we’ll take a look at the times Woods has been able to make some key plays over the years. Here are some of his top career highlights:
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