Film Room: 5 Plays Which Demonstrate What Al Woods Brings to Jaguars
In an effort to overhaul a defensive unit that far underachieved its reputation in 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars made a number of big additions to that side of the ball this offseason.
Particularly, the Jaguars focused on adding run defenders who could transform a rush defense that was among the worst in the league last year. The biggest of those additions in a literal sense? 6-foot-4, 330-pound veteran nose tackle Al Woods.
The 11th-year veteran is among the most elder players on the team's entire roster and is expected to play a large role in the Jaguars' efforts to improve upon a run defense that was second-worst in the NFL in 2019 in rushing touchdowns and yards per carry allowed.
When you look at [Al] Woods, you see someone that I’ve known and played against and he’s always a tough guy to move," head coach Doug Marrone said earlier this offseason.
"Al is a tough man to move, he’s a big human being and we expect him to come in there and really clog it up and play the run well."
To get a gauge on what Woods will bring to the Jaguars' defense this fall, we reviewed some of Woods' performance in 2019 via NFL Game Pass and picked five plays to demonstrate his skill set.
There is going to be a few plays from this specific game vs. the San Francisco 49ers from Week 10 in 2019, and for good reason. Woods was dominant vs. the 49ers' interior offensive line, and this first play is a great example of his overall performance.
On this play, Woods is lined up in a one-technique on the inside shade of the center. Due to the play call being a zone run, the center attempts to reach block Woods, but Woods is able to use his strength to both fend off the reach block and get penetration into the backfield. He finishes the play by making a tackle outside of his frame to stop the running back for no gain.
While Woods will never be known as an explosive three-technique, he did make some plays against the run for the Seahawks from that alignment. Thanks to his massive size it is hard for any single blocker to move him out of a gap, and by him being asked to get upfield instead of having to anchor a double team he is able to use his size and strength to force his way into the backfield. As a result of Woods' win at the point of the attack, the running back trips over the blocker, helping Woods disrupt this play for a loss.
Woods has just 5.5 sacks in his tenured NFL career, so he has never been and will never be considered a dangerous pass-rusher. His value comes against the run thanks to his strength, size, and smarts, but at times these elements of his game come together on passing downs and help him make a larger impact.
This play occurs because of Jadeveon Clowney absolutely dominating the right tackle, but it shows Woods can finish opportunities against the pass that others create, an underrated trait. He is able to recognize the play action, beat the block, and then show some real nimbleness as he closes in on the quarterback in the pocket, resulting in an important play for the Seahawks' defense.
This play is another example of Woods' power at the point of attack and ability to beat reach blocks, but it is also an example of the hustle and range Woods brings to the nose tackle position. He will track a ball carrier down the line of scrimmage while not giving up ground in the process, a valuable trait for any interior run defender.
Want to see Woods make a play with quick hands and explosion into the backfield instead of just overpowering a lineman at the point of attack with his strength? Look no further. Also to note on this play, Woods is aligned in a more 3-4 style of defensive tackle role, which could be where he lines up in the Jaguars' defense in 2020.