Steelers DE Ziggy Hood Trimming Technique Fat For 2013 Season

Last year at about this time, we were tracking the conditioning of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood as he was transforming his body in an attempt to get stronger while trimming his body fat in the process. This offseason, however, Hood\’s main focus is transforming his technique, specifically his hand placement and his footwork.

“If your hand placement and your footwork isn\’t good, you aren\’t going to be in the correct position to make a play,” Hood said, per a Friday evening report by Mark Kaboly of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Small things like that will always get you in the right place. It may not get you there all the time, but you will be there more often than not.”

Knowing that Hood is having to work on more on his technique this offseason is not a surprise; however, as Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said as much when he talked to the media during the 2013 NFL Draft back in April.

“Ziggy Hood has some technical stuff that John (Mitchell) has to work with him on. And John knows about that so we’re going to try to get those things clarified and work that out and hopefully we’ll be good against the run,” said Butler when asked if he was starting to worry about the run defense due to the loss of some key players this offseason.

Hood was credited with a career high 42 total tackles in 2012, but when you dig deeper inside his stats, you will find that his stop percentage against the run is where he is very below average. According to Pro Football Focus, Hood registered a 5.0 stop percentage in 2012, which ranked him 18th overall when measured against 19 other 3-4 defensive ends in the league that played 211 snaps or more against the run.

However, despite the poor stop numbers, the Steelers defense still managed to finish second in the league in rushing yards allowed per game and fourth overall in rushing yards allowed per play. While Hood isn\’t where he should be at this stage of his career, he did show some progress last season in his first full year as a starter.

“Last year was a good step for me,” said Hood, per the Kaboly report. “It wasn\’t the season that I would say was the best, but the positives outweighed the negatives.”

2013 is a very important season for the Hood as the Steelers 2009 first-round draft pick out of Missouri is entering the final year of his rookie contract. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, the Steelers might have not have a choice but to extend Hood prior to the start of the season due to the fact they have no experienced depth behind him and fellow defensive ends Brett Keisel and Cameron Heyward. Hood, however, according to the Kaboly report, isn\’t worried about his contract situation.

“My contract is the last thing on my mind,” Hood said. “The only thing on my mind is getting better each and every day.”

  • SteelersDepot

    um, Jim Colbert, John Mitchell would find work immediately. Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, and Casey Hampton to name a few were all products of Mitchell. Technique is always an ongoing thing unless you were unaware. Also, despite
    the flaws of both Hood and Keisel last season, the run defense was pretty damn
    good as a whole. #rollseyes

  • dgh57

    I agree, that’s why I have such high hopes for Nick Williams is because of John Mitchel!! If the player has the heart & desire to succeed John Mitchell has the skills & expertise to get him there!!! I also expect Hood to take another step forward(as he has every year) this year and be resigned because there’s not much behind him.

  • Dan

    Well his dedication seems to be there. I had higher hopes for him to this point but he is not exactly a bust either. If he would sign a Steeler-favorable deal it might not be a bad idea. If he continues as is we’ll get mediocre play for mediocre pay, it he steps it up this year, then all the better for us….so long as his motivation doesn’t decline once a contract is done.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    “Trim the fat around here”. . .Horrible Bosses!

  • 2443scott

    man ziggy when you came to steelers i liked the pick and still do but …ok ziggy why did it take you to the 4th year another contract year to decide now was a good time to get your hand and foot placements right ..this is no brainer you should had this sorta stuff down by 3 rd year for sure and now in your 4th be ready as a full starter but here we go in 4th year i can do it now kind of thinking ….

  • steeltown

    As mentioned, our overall Defense has been tops in the League even with Hood playing just avg (so to speak) If you look he has made strides every season, hopefully he can continue to improve his overall play because the Defense would be that much stronger.. especially if Woodley improves upon last season as well

  • Steve

    Hand techniques are not easy. It takes constant work and dedication on the players part. But keeping the O lineman off of you, so that he does NOT get into your body is an art. Shedding blocks and staying low, makes a D lineman job easier to get to the ball. They only time he should be up is when the ball is thrown.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    At this point, I’m ready to see what Heyward offers over Hood. I can’t help but feel that with the given reps, Heyward would have been much further in his development then Ziggy has come. Overall though, I think we as fans are getting weary of how long these defensive players are taking to develop. I mean look at it, Worilds is just now getting a chance. From the pictures of him from the OTA’s he looks like a beast and will probably have a great year, just so that we could lose him in free agency. Ziggy might be on the same path. Sean Spence, when all is sad and done will probably lose two years just to injury, off his rookie contracts. Its hard to build teams this way with the cap always breathing down your back.