Wesley Woodyard turns back the clock with standout play

Wesley Woodyard turns back the clock with standout play

A week ago, clocks were turned back one hour.

But for Titans inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard, it appears he has turned his clock back several years with his play this season.

Woodyard,31 and in his 10th NFL season, was credited with 20 tackles by Titans coaches after they watched and graded Sunday’s game film against the Ravens. That gives him 102 tackles through half a season.

Woodyard said his rebirth this season has been due to a number of different things – not the least of which is simply getting more opportunities this year. In the previous couple of seasons, Woodyard had come off the field in nickel situations most of the time. But this year, the Titans have left him in in both running and passing situations, because of his quality play.

“Honestly, I’ve just had the opportunity to get on the field more,” Woodyard said. “The way I look at it, I was getting about 20 snaps a game last year and still coming out with halfway decent snaps. The key is to just get opportunities and take advantage of it.”

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said the team simply can’t afford to take Woodyard off the field because of the high level he has performed at this season.

“I think it’s just a matter of how productive he’s been. It’s been hard to keep him off the field. That’s not rare, it’s just hard to take him off the field, he’s making so many plays,” Mularkey said.
Woodyard adjusted a lot of things in preparation for this season, including a new trainer, a new diet and even changing his sleep patterns.

“I trained down at Disney Wide World of Sports with Coach Tom Shaw. I’m plant-based now. I don’t eat any meat or anything. My sleeping habits have changed,” Woodyard said.

Maybe the most intriguing part of that is the change of the sleep routine, which Woodyard admits is difficutl sometimes to do in a family setting.

“With three kids, it’s a blessing if you’re in (bed) before 10. But I try to make sure I close my eyes before 10:30,” he said.

Woodyard, who broke into the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 2008 as an undrafted rookie from Kentucky, said that chip of being overlooked has stayed with him and continues to fuel him, even as he had been labeled more of a two-down linebacker at this stage of his career.

“It’s just the way the NFL goes. I tell guys this all the time, ‘I’m an undrafted guy. You just have to take advantage of every opportunity you get, and not complain about when you’re not in the game,’” Woodyard said. “Of course, it’s something every year. It’s a new label put on players every year and it’s something for you to tear down.Don’t let anybody put you in a box about what you can do. I’ve always felt I could play and make plays and be effective on the field, and now I’m getting the opportunity.”

Injury update

Tight end Delanie Walker (ankle), receiver Eric Decker (illness) and guard Quinton Spain (toe) all missed a second straight day of Titans practice Thursday. Mularkey was hopeful that Walker and Decker could practice on Friday. Linebacker Derrick Morgan (knee), who missed Wednesday’s work, practiced Thursday.

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