West Notes: Woodley, P. Lynch, Cards, Raiders

Free agent linebacker Lamarr Woodley offered scathing reviews of two of his former defensive coordinators, the Cardinals’ James Bettcher and ex-Raiders assistant Jason Tarver (now with San Francisco), on the latest edition of his podcast (per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic).

“In Oakland, we had a dumb defensive coordinator and in Arizona, we had a dumb defensive coordinator,” he said.

Woodley didn’t mention either Bettcher or Tarver by name, but given that he only spent one year with both teams, it’s clear he was referring to them.

He continued, “They thought we were like Madden players. They’d draw something up and on paper it looked good, but the players still have to go out there and run it. Those guys didn’t really listen to their players. They wanted to do it their way and their way only.”

Woodley also ripped into Bettcher for his game plan in the Cardinals’ 49-15 loss to Carolina in the NFC championship.

“It wasn’t because we had bad players. No, our defensive coordinator he didn’t have the common sense to talk to his players to make the adjustments. Because he just wanted to do things his way those are the results we got, bottom line,” he said.

Woodley didn’t play in the title round (or any Cardinals game beyond Nov. 22) because he was on injured reserve. The 31-year-old appeared in just 16 contests over the previous two seasons with the Raiders and Cardinals, combining for 15 tackles and a sack. Woodley was a far more productive player from 2007-13 in Pittsburgh, with which he piled up 58 sacks.

And now the latest from the AFC West:

  • Quarterback Mark Sanchez might not be at the Broncos’ helm for long if first-rounder Paxton Lynch forces the team’s hand, which is something general manager John Elway believes the ex-Memphis standout is capable of doing. “We think he’s going to be ready quicker than a lot of people think,” Elway told Denver Sports 760 (link via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). On why the Broncos decided to trade up in the first round for the 6-foot-7 Lynch, Elway said, “He’s a young guy with tremendous athletic ability, he’s got the strong arm, can make all the throws, he’s smart, and he’s a guy that can fit into this offense real well.”
  • While Elway sees the Lynch era approaching, Troy Renck of the Denver Post cautions that patience is in order. As Renck writes, Lynch hasn’t played in a pro-style offense since his freshman year at Memphis – which is the last time he was even in a huddle – and his play calls there were far less complicated than they will be in Denver. Moreover, the Broncos would be unwise to rush Lynch into the lineup to serve as a game manager, Renck opines. The club should instead wait until the 22-year-old is truly ready and let him take advantage of his strengths, namely his big arm and elusiveness.
  • Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards has been given medical clearance to resume his career, he announced Friday on Instagram (via Marc Sessler of NFL.com). A serious neck injury brought a premature end to Edwards’ rookie campaign after he had started in 10 of 14 appearances and tallied three forced fumbles and two sacks. For his work last season, the second-rounder from Florida State ranked an impressive 32nd out of 110 qualifying edge defenders at Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
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