With injuries and illness playing a role, Woods has stepped up late in the season and may be opening eyes for a future role with the team. If he nails down that role, he might have to only point to his work in Week 14 as the starting point.
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Woods did everything he could to lead the defense in the game, including taking over communication responsibilities from the injured Alex Anzalone. As he explained to the media after the game, being in command is a big deal, but improvements should be the goal for the whole team.
“Obviously bigger responsibility, but you know, that’s part of the job. I was ready for it, but like I said, want to get better about everything. Just can’t wait to get back to the film,” he explained.
Improving is the biggest goal now, but Woods saw himself as ready, even amid the wild swing of taking over for an important spot on the field. As Woods said, he sees it as his chance to shine and be ready.
“Whirlwind no doubt. But thats the nature of the business. It’s all about opportunity. When it’s your time, you’ve got to be ready,” he explained.
So far, Woods looks to be seizing that opportunity, no matter what it might lead to in the future with the team.
Woods Sets Lions’ 2021 Record for Tackles
Is Woods going to be a player that sticks around long-term? He’s shown some of the goods in a big way, and in Week 14, he made a statement to the Lions that he could be around to stay. Woods led the Lions in tackles with 13 on the day, which was a team high for the season. No established player or starter has topped it thus far through the 2021 season. Chris Burke of The Athletic alerted to Woods making this happen on the field.
Obviously, Woods is proving himself to have the right kind of stuff to stay mentally and physically. If he didn’t, he would have been exposed in a bigger way already. Discovering him late in the season could be a major plus for the Lions in the future.
Woods’ Career Stats & Highlights
How did Woods get to Detroit in the first place? Woods has been hanging around in Chicago for the last few seasons on the team’s practice squad, and as an undrafted free agent since 2018, he’s been there a while for the team at 25 years old. Woods came into the league in 2018 as a rookie out of Maryland where he put up 107 tackles, 2 interceptions and 6 passes defended. When he came into the league, he worked with Detroit linebacker coach Mark DeLeone, who likely had some influence over the decision to bring Woods into the mix.
In the NFL, Woods hasn’t seen much time, and has only put up 19 tackles and collected 1 fumble recovery in his career. He’s been solid on special teams, though, with 15 snaps there in 2019. At the very least, he does have NFL snaps under his belt, though, which could prove valuable for Detroit.
Woods is also a quality personality too as this interview with Bears Nation Podcast showed:
Detroit’s new linebacker seems to have the game and the mindset to be a mainstay. His opportunity is knocking, and it’s clear he’s going to continue to seize it.