Former Pro Bowl linebacker LaMarr Woodley played just 10 games in his only season with the Arizona Cardinals last year. He recorded a grand total of just 10 tackles and one sack in the process.
Needless to say, it wasn’t necessary the culmination of a stellar career that Woodley might have been looking for.
Now, without a team and likely forced into retirement, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star is speaking out against at least one member of the Cardinals coaching staff.
Woodley went off on a bit of a rant directed at Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher last month.
“In Oakland, we had a dumb defensive coordinator and in Arizona, we had a dumb defensive coordinator,” Woodley said, via AZCentral.com. “It was just two dumb guys. They thought we were like Madden players.”
The former Michigan standout and Steelers second-round pick didn’t back down from those claims this week, further addressing the issues he saw in the desert.
“I called him dumb. I went and blasted the D coordinator a little bit because I just felt like last year playing with the Arizona Cardinals – and I said this – it was a great organization, great team, great players,” Woodley said. “Everything was great, and I felt like we had a team to actually win to the Super Bowl.”
Arizona made it all the way to the NFC Championship game last season before falling to the Carolina Panthers by the score of 49-15. That game saw the Cardinals’ defense yield 476 total yards. Though, seven turnovers from the team’s offense surely didn’t help its cause.
More than anything, it seems Woodley’s biggest issue with Bettcher was his inability to take players’ advice.
“Coming from Pittsburgh, you know when you have a winning team and I’ve seen that. I just felt like the defensive coordinator didn’t listen to his players. You know how in some situations, coaches feel like they know more than the players.”
To be clear here, Woodley’s comments could be out of frustration over a lack of playing time with the Cardinals. He was nothing more than a situational pass rusher, and even then, he didn’t play a huge role. This came on the heels of the former Pro Bowler playing in just six games for the Raiders the previous season.
For his part, the 38-year-old Bettcher doesn’t necessarily have a ton of NFL experience. He was a positional coach for the Indianapolis Colts and Cardinals for just three seasons before taking over as Arizona defensive coordinator last year. This came after a nine-year stint as an assistant in college.
Though, it must be noted Arizona finished second in total defense, fifth against the pass and yielded the seventh-fewest points in the NFL last season.
Whether there are sour grape being spilled here or something else is afoot remains to be seen. What we do know is that the Cardinals enter the 2016 season as Super Bowl favorites while Woodley currently remains without a team.