Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 148 of 163

THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 147 Wolverines On The Move LaMarr Woodley From The Raiders To The Cardinals The Arizona Cardinals are coming off of an 11-5 campaign and must replace former starting linebacker Larry Foote, who bounced back from an injury-plagued 2013 campaign to start 15 games and tie for third on the team with 83 tackles last year. It seems like the veteran is content with transitioning to a new role on the coach - ing staff, so what better way to replenish the linebacking corps than with another former Wolverine? The team's hope is that ninth-year veteran LaMarr Woodley can make a Foote-like return from injury; he was limited to six appearances and five starts as a defensive end last year with the Oakland Raiders. The longtime Pittsburgh Steeler — which was where he spent his first seven seasons with while tallying 57 sacks and playing along - side Foote — is also familiar with head coach Bruce Arians, who spent 2004-11 as an offensive assistant in Pittsburgh. "Wood is a pocket crusher," the coach told ArizonaSports.com. "He always has been. He collapses the pocket. We'll have some good inside pressure now. LaMarr is a guy that has been a 10- to 12-sack guy every year, and then the injury last year set him back. He's a very physical, outside edge player." The 30-year-old Woodley has not played a full season since 2010, but has still been productive — he started 39 of his 40 games played over the past four seasons and notched 18 sacks during that time. "Watching us, he knew what type of style we played," Foote told the team's official website. "And where he is in his career, he's got to re-introduce the league to who he is. There is no better defense to do it in than this one. That's basically what I told him. "You get humbled in this league. He's going through it. It's out of his hands — he's been injured. But people that know him close, who played with him and have seen him, when he's healthy, he's tough. It's a win-win for both of us." Stevie Brown From The Giants To The Texans The 2012 campaign was a dream come true for New York Gi- ants safety Stevie Brown. The defender broke into the league as a seventh-round pick in 2010 and bounced around three teams without playing many meaningful minutes before he found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 campaign. In his first year with the club, he played in every contest and started 11 times, bursting onto the scene with 76 tackles and eight interceptions, which tied for sec - ond in the league. Despite the promising start in New York, 2013 resembled more of a nightmare with him missing the entire season after tearing his ACL in the preseason. He returned last year, but Brown was in and out of the lineup. He still managed to open eight contests and tally 38 tackles, but when the season was over, he was intent on finding a new home. He rejected the Giants' offer, which was reportedly for the veteran mini - mum, and landed with the Houston Texans, where he is expected to take the starting reigns at one of the safety positions. "It's an impressive team," he told Houston's official website. "One of the reasons why I wanted to come here. The defense came to - gether very well last year and that was definitely something that factored into my decision in coming here. "It's something I believe finished good last year and it's going to be even better this year so I wanted to come in and be a part of that." QUOTABLE "What Tom Brady did in the fourth quarter here [at the Super Bowl] was pick himself up and play as great as he's ever played, as great as anyone's ever played — 13 of 15, 124 yards and two touchdowns on the two fourth-quarter scoring drives. He clinched it in the final seconds with a cadence change that drew Seattle offsides and gave New England room for the sweetest of victory formations." YAHOO! SPORTS' DAN WETZEL ON THE FORMER U-M QUARTERBACK WINNING HIS FOURTH SUPER BOWL IN FEBRUARY • "An ankle injury ended Lewan's rookie campaign prematurely, but it took him just 11 appearances and six starts to earn a spot on the 2014 Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team. [Greg] Robinson and [Jake] Matthews, who started 12 and 15 games. respectively [and were drafted before Lewan at No. 11], were both left off the roster. … The award doesn't remove the Grand Canyon-sized chip from the shoulder of the Arizona native. To him, being the third left tackle off the board is personal — a slight that no amount of individual accolades and Lombardi Trophies can absolve." — Joe Fann on second-year Titans tackle Taylor Lewan (TitansOnline.com) • "I think I should be a No. 1 guy. That's how I have to look at it. But I have to show them that. Words don't mean anything. … I want to show the team they can count on me. Last year, I showed growth so people could say, 'That's not the same Denard. It's night and day.' This year, I want them to say, 'Man, Denard has grown even more." — Jack- sonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson, who will be competing with second-round pick T.J. Yeldon for carries • "Holy cow, this is a 272-pound man who is extremely explosive. He still has an upside. He's an interior rusher, edge rusher, can play Sam [strongside linebacker], set the edge — they did a lot with him at the school." — Se- ahawks executive vice president/general manager John Schneider on second-round pick Frank Clark (Seahawks.com) • "At 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, Funchess could be a matchup nightmare. He gets in and out of his breaks quickly and runs good routes. His height usually wins out against cornerbacks and his speed beats linebackers inside when he plays a hybrid tight end role." — The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones on rookie wideout Devin Funchess • "Excellent locker room addition at this point in the draft. Team captain at Michigan with a strong reputation and plays with excellent discipline." — CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco on the Packers drafting former U-M linebacker Jake Ryan with the 129th overall pick. He graded the selection as an A- New England quarterback Tom Brady orchestrated the greatest fourth-quarter come- back in Super Bowl history en route to winning his fourth championship. PHOTO COURTESY NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

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