Steelers legend breaks down what made Dick LeBeau such an amazing coach, Mike Tomlin's 4th down motivations

Welcome to Episode 3 of the The Season: 2008 Steelers podcast, featuring Steelers' 2005 second-round pick and two-time Super Bowl champion Bryant McFadden, who will be your weekly guide on the 10-year anniversary of the Steelers' improbable run to their sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Each week, McFadden will talk to different players from that Super Bowl-winning squad. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you'll never miss an episode.

The Steelers entered the '08 season with the league's toughest schedule and the preseason prognosticators didn't expect this team to make it back to the playoffs. In the first episode, McFadden and former teammate Ike Taylor revisit training camp, preseason and the first half of the 2008 season

And now outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley  joins McFadden to pick up things up with the Week 12 matchup against the lowly Bengals in an AFC North matchup. The Steelers were 7-3 after beating Philip Rivers and the Chargers (listen to Hines Ward talk about that game here). Cincinnati, meanwhile, was 1-8-1 and was without Carson Palmer (injured) and Chad Johnson (suspended).

Woodley also talked about why he loved defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the grandfather of the zone blitz and the architect of the Steelers' 2008 defense, arguably one of the best units of the modern era. You can pick up the convo in the player below:

"He was very open to listening to the players," Woodley said. "I think that's key when you're the defensive coordinator. And things we didn't like he might've taken out, and things we liked he kept in. He made adjustments to make sure he put us in the best situation to go out there and win.

"His energy level was there every day in practice. Coach LeBeau didn't do all that yelling, but he knew how to be a leader to us and he made us want to play for him. And we'd go out and give our heart and soul to coach LeBeau. I had a chance to go to other teams and realized [what] a real true defensive coordinator [LeBeau] was [after] playing for some dumbasses on some other teams. And you really appreciate what that's all about."

Some of the highlights from  Episode 3:

  • What it meant to get drafted by the Steelers, which was Woodley's favorite team growing up; (2:40)
  • What adjustments do players have to make to be ready to play on Thursday nights? (4:15)
  • LeBeau was honored before the game for 50 years in the NFL. What did LeBeau mean to Woodley? (5:30)
  • What was Woodley's favorite defensive call, the one that gave him an ear-to-ear smile? (7:15)
  • How did Woodley prepare for a bad Bengals team that was without Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson? (8:45)
  • What did Mike Tomlin's aggressiveness on fourth down mean to the players? (11:15)

"He knew we weren't tripping," Woodley explained. "He knew what type of defense he had. He knew he had a bunch of dogs on that defense when you look at every position. He was willing to take chances because he knew that if [the offense] didn't get this, you put Cincinnati's back against the wall and our defense was either going to get a safety or they'll keep them [pinned] and we'll get another opportunity with this short field. So he trusted the defense and we loved to see our coach sometimes take chances because he knows that these guys on the sidelines are going to go out there and dog anybody."

  • How Woodley would describe this defense's identity; (15:45)
  • The importance of beating a division rival late in the season; (20:55)
  • On preparing to face the Tom Brady-less (he was out with a torn ACL) Patriots on 10 days rest; (23:00)

"They didn't have Brady so you know we were getting after them," Woodley said with a laugh. "They didn't get no respect (with Matt Cassel at quarterback)."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories