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Steelers DE Ziggy Hood Working To Improve Multi-Directional Movement This Offseason


Our friend Bill Nichol, who is the founder and director of Outer Limits Athletic Performance in Pittsburgh, sent me an email to let me know what is going with Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood as it relates to his 2013 offseason training program.

Last year, Hood worked with Nichol in an effort to develop a better body composition, strength and explosiveness as he really underwent a complete body transformation. This year, Hood is focusing more on lateral and multi-directional movements in an effort to get quicker on his feet in addition to the other aspects of his game. Nichol told me that Hood even set a lifetime personal best this offseason on his bench press, and that he’s in the best athletic shape of his life right now.

It is a contract year for the Steelers former first-round draft pick, who recorded a career high 42 tackles in 2012 to go along with three sacks and the Steelers really could use an increase in production from the Missouri product. In his four seasons with the Steelers Hood hasn\'t missed a game and that alone is quite an accomplishment as well as a testament to the hard work that he puts in during the offseason.

Below is the latest video of Hood training that Nichol passed along to us so you can see the type of workout that he goes through.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Primanti05

    Workout warrior…..I wish it would translate to the field! He would be All Pro if jumping up on barrels were QB sacks.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It isnt lack of effort! Love his tenacity to get better. He should get a new contract on this alone…lol

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Steeler fans tend to wait for a player to have a sudden “break out season,” but Ziggy seems to be climbing and improving more steadily than that. I, for one, really do think he can be an anchor at DE. He hasn’t caught the injury bug, and he’s a very hard worker who has shown real potential. I expect he’ll improve even more this year (an important test for him), and hopefully the Steelers can come to terms with him if/when he does.

  • gene mann

    Hood needs to either step up or he hits the curb next seson

  • RayJnr

    QB sacks huh? Like Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, or Brett Kiesel??
    What do you think this is? A 4-3 defense?

  • sgtrobo

    I so desperately want this kid to do well. He has the work ethic and attitude that is ideal, his talents lie in a 4-3, not a 3-4. He’s a square peg in a round hole and is asked to sacrifice what he does well (Explode off the line and penetrate gaps) to do stuff he isn’t made to do (stand up, play read-react, and hold his ground). If I’m a 4-3 team, I’m praying like hell Ziggy “doesn’t get it” this year and the Steelers let him hit free agency, because I think he’d have a Henry Melton type of impact for a 4-3 team

  • steeltown

    He has shown improvement every year and he has stayed healthy which is paramount. If he works on his technique I think he could be much improved because the athletic ability is there

  • sgtrobo

    this is another good point, he doesn’t get injured often at all. He is a healthy kid, and only a few freak issues have taken him out of games but never for long

  • steeltown

    I think the Steelers will hold onto him

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    It would be nice to extend Hood at a team friendly number because he is a solid player that still has some upside potential. I have some doubts about the upside part though, so I’d be very conservative doing the contract.

  • steeltown

    Lets face it, Mitchell takes atleast 2yrs to groom a new player, Keisel is nearing the end and Nicholas Williams could be 2-3yrs away from being ready (if he even pans out at all) so we need Hood more than people would like to admit. The good thing is he shouldn’t cost too much at this point in his career, BUT he could have a breakout season in 2013 Haha and then we’re back in that same boat trying to retain a guy right when his market value is high

    For that reason, Hood would be one of the prime candidates for an extension before THIS season starts. The Jarvis Jones selection makes the need to retain Worilds less and the Wheaton pick could possibly make Sanders expendable, McLendon is signed and Ben and Pouncey will most likely get extensions next offseason. I think an Evander Hood extension just might be on the horizon.

  • Bob Codding

    LAST YEAR HOOD GET IN SHAPE NOW HE NEED TO GET IN FOOTBALL SHAPE…………

  • PA2AK

    People also forget that Keisel was drafted in 2002 and didn’t start until 2006. While I’m not sold on Ziggy being the next Keisel…people should cut him some slack. He’s not a trouble maker, works hard, durable. Unfortunately he had to start before he was ready with the earlier than expected departure of the great A. Smith. if you don’t have work ethic or technique as a 3-4 DE, you won’t cut it. It’s not about individual stats

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree. Its so obviously we misused him. He might just be our best D-line pass rusher, his best skillset is the athleticism alone and we employs him in a scheme where it is more benefitical for players with superior techniques but decent or sub-par athletes with a lot of patience.

    Hopefully we will use the same 3-4 cowboys used years ago, Jarvis Jones would be perfect candidate in same role DeMarcus Ware played. I’m also one of those guys who is fortunate that Ziggy Hood hasn’t exploded on stat sheet because this restrict Ziggy from entering a biggerpayday.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    You are thinking of Mike Wallace. Ziggy Hood is more than “in football shape”, he doesn’t have timid patience and size for the 3-4 Defensive Ends that we usually employ. I’m all down for keeping him because apparently he’s a hard-working player, more than Lamarr Woodley.

  • PA2AK

    Maybe you are both thinking about Dwyer. Wallace isn’t a Steeler, and the only thing people can’t hate about Ziggy is the work he puts in.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Ziggy will be fine. You have restated what I have been saying. After a slow start, he is getting better and has done so every year. If he improves a little or a lot more this year, look out.

    With Big Mac now in the middle( and he will push the line back trust me) and a forgotten man who is gonna get at least half the snaps soon(Heyward) this line could be explosive.

    I like what Im seeing and I cant bad mouth a player for non stop work, no issues and improvement every year.

  • sgtrobo

    actually, I’ve never once seen anything about Ziggy to hate. He works his tail off, he has a great attitude, he rarely gets injured, he is a team player, has a nonstop motor, and is a locker room leader. It’s not his fault his horribly miscast.

  • gene mann

    Hood has played Out of position since he was drafted very hard to get 4-3 lineman to play a 3-4 system

  • Pat Smith

    We need Ziggy to step up his game

  • Jazz

    I always said he better suited for a 4-3; I hope he moves on to a 4-3 team,his talents are definitely being waisted in the 3-4.

  • Primanti05

    OK…tackles…pressures….tipped passes. He has been a non-factor. That is not what you expect from a #1 draft pick

  • charles

    I am hoping for the same explosion. With a very young Oline as well ready to gel, the Steelers could be the youngest team in the NFL where it counts, on the line of scrimmage.
    Ziggy, in LeBeau’s defense, needs OLB help. Remember both Kiesel and Smith had Harrison creating great matchups for them.
    Lets dream for a second and hope that Robinson can explode onto the scene at LOLB thus allowing Hood to show his talents. I think he is way ahead of Kiesel or Smith in talent, athleticism, and strength.

  • SteelSpine

    Silly boy, Ziggy is a lowest rated 3-4 DE in the NFL. The ratings compare 3-4 DEs to only the other 3-4 DEs. It’s on several often-relied-upon websites.

    And btw it’s not just stats that are used to rate them, because raters DO know the job of 3-4 DEs. It’s based on how well the DE is at each of the different criteria in plays, compared to other 3-4 DEs, then add the scores of all the details to get a total score for the one player. I recall last offseason Ziggy was the lowest rated 3-4 DE in the NFL (I forget which website but folks say it has cred), but PFF also had him lowest rated by-far last offseason. This offseason & he’s still the lowest rated 3-4 DE. Not just Bleacher Report, but that’s one of them that details their scores.

    Someone’s gonna write we were #1 defense so that proves Ziggy was fine, but LeBeau has in the past had to get buy with very subpar people at various positions & still had top overall defense.

  • SteelSpine

    Funny we didnt see workout videos of Aaron Smith back in the day, or Hoke, or Keisel, or McClendon now, yet those players were/are better than Ziggy. That’s because football actually is not played in front of a mirror in a gym.

    I don’t dislike Ziggy I just wish we had gotten him in 7th round since everyone says it’s taking several years to groom Ziggy & everyone excuses him by pointing out that 3-4 DEs are just blocking sleds to tie up blockers. Hope Steelers learned their lesson that if you’re getting DEs just for in a 3-4, don’t use up your precious high picks to get that.

    McClendon is better than Ziggy, yet Mac didn’t cost us any draftpick, let alone a 1st rd pick. Mac could be a wrecking ball at DE in 3-4, wreaking havoc in backfield. In one ideal scenario, if Ta’amu/Fang could improve enough that Taamu (since Steelers thusfar keeping Taamu) & Fang could be our #1 & #2 NT we could move Mac to DE. Just dreamin. Wouldn’t do it this year because we don’t have any bodies to replace Ziggy at DE.

  • alex

    isnt everybody coming from college to the NFL out of there league or out of position in the begining…they have to catch-up to the speed, power and 16 game schedule, let alone there new position and how to specifically play it according to the NFL and there respective team? the better you are the better you adapt!

    anyway, ziggy has been healthy, serviceable and he is improving…i say sign him to a mid level 3 year deal like mclendon before he breaks out in a contract year…

  • Matt Searls

    I wish he was spending the offseason working on his technique and hand placement. Ziggy we get it youre strong and quick, why aren’t you training with other de’s and fixing your game tape?

  • Islesteelr

    He’s not COUNTRY STRONG like Aaron, hamp, or Kimo was… He’s not stout at the point, and doesn’t stack and shed well. But I believe he can

  • sgtrobo

    PFF is the one that has him rated so low. He’s nowhere near the worst in the NFL, they do not account for read-react 2-gap systems. That said, Ziggy is, in my opinion, the one who has shown the least potential, but as I said, he’s simply a poor fit for the position.

  • sgtrobo

    The Cowboys’ defensive coordinator was Wade Philips. He doesn’t run a 3-4 anything at all like LeBeau does, and their defensive systems are about as different as a 3-4 and a 4-3. So in other words, don’t hold your breath, although I do think our personnel is probably better suited up front for a Philips’ 3-4

  • sgtrobo

    well realistically speaking SteelSpine, we didn’t see workout videos of ANYBODY from ‘back in the day’ because nobody cared about youtube.

  • sgtrobo

    You can’t fix arm length in the offseason.

  • SteelSpine

    Who says PFF is the only one who rated Ziggy low. Also not true that noone takes into account 2-gap. 2-gap is nothing new, it’s the most common DL method in 3-4 systems. Know ratings of 3-4 DEs take that into account because they describe (some of them write out in detail)each attribute which you can read before they give scores within each attribute needed for 3-4 DEs.

  • SteelSpine

    Ziggy is not better talent than Smith or Kiesel, although I agree potential is there. On athleticism I agree; I have no doubt any modern-day DEs are ahead of Keisel & Smith. Our late-round draft pick this year is also way ahead of Keisel & Smith, for whatever that’s worth.

  • SteelSpine

    Plenty of Youtube existed during McClendon & current-day Keisel whom are current players in NFL. Also I recall it was several years ago videos of DLs jumping out of swimming pools & up on to other stuff. A reason there isn’t video of McClendon & nowadays Keisel showing off in front of mirrors is because their performance is on NFL fields – which is the place performance matters.

  • sgtrobo

    no, the reason you don’t see video of them during their workouts is because they don’t work out as hard in the offseason for a commercial training camp. The ‘jump out of pool’ dude was from the same year Ziggy was drafted. You know that it’s the training company that is posting those videos, not Ziggy himself, right?

  • sgtrobo

    actually, the only 2 teams that run a true 2-gap system anymore are Pittsburgh and KC. Arizona did to a certain extent, and I’m sure Cleveland will as well, but SF shows a lot of 1-gap concepts as does the NYJ. . Also, who else had Ziggy so low, out of curiosity?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Nope, Mike Wallace. It was him who said something like “I’m in great shape now, but being in football shape is a different story” after his debacle with holdout.

  • charles

    Decastro went up against Taamu in college. The local sports pages were saying that Taamu wanted to quit football, presumably because Decastro destroyed him. Beat him so bad he did not want to even play the next game. Taamu is terrible….

  • Madi

    Where did you hear he’s not working on technique or hand placement?

  • Milliken Steeler

    Isle, word is he is country strong and quick also. As the Sgt wisely pointed out he has short arms however that can be alleviated with technique.

    He is standing up to quickly and not staying low and the lineman are getting their mitts on him quickly. That being said, i believe in Ziggy and hsi continued improvement. If we could lock him up now for a good price(and we should be able to) I would do it.

    He has a great attitude and work ethic. Look at his last years stats now and compare them with Kiesel. He is getting there guys and I see no reason to think he wont improve again this year.

    I think right now we need character and healthy guys on top of being productive also.

  • Matt Searls

    Where did you hear that he is? Last two offseasons he’s spent working on strength and agility.

  • Madi

    I have to produce youtube videos or links to prove what he’s doing with his time? But you can just say he hasn’t done it and it’s true? He can’t do more than one thing?

    I have news: pretty much all players work on strength, agility, and technique. Every. Single. Offseason. Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I bet he also read a book or at least part of one, and watched some TV, but I don’t have proof of that either. Sorry. These videos are fancy and available because of where he was. It’s advertising.

    In addition, John Mitchell said to the press that Ziggy had some technique things to work on. I doubt that he mentioned it to reporters, but never got around to discussing it with Ziggy. And it’s been reported tons that Ziggy has an exceptional work ethic. But you’re right, he probably ignored Mitchell and his own tape and hasn’t done a thing about his technique this offseason.

  • Matt Searls

    Calm down haha sheesh. I asked where you heard that he was? And yo go making up scenarios about you on the couch? Relax yo wer just talking football. I’ll say it again, I haven’t heard of him
    Working out with any other defensive players or working on his technique. You’re point that he could be is true, it’s just very general statement. He could be doing a lot of things. I’m going off o what he’s posting.

  • Vic

    Yea I think he is more of a 4-3 DE. Maybe the Steelers should employ the 4-3 alignment every now and then just to change things up on D. I sure it would hurt.

  • Asmitty56

    Hood, nor Heyward, or McLendon are cut from the same cloth as Hampton, Smith, and Keisel. These guys are penetrators, the Steelers need to start using them to disrupt the interior of the pocket which causes havoc for pocket passing QBs. We need to use these guys similar to JJ Watt, Richard Seymour, and Jay Ratliff. If we have our 3 linemen disrupting the interior the linemen have to focus on them and it causes the QB to move to the outside where the OLBs can clean him up, which actually works in our favor with Jarvis Jones since he is more effective in space rather than being a brawler and over powering the OT like Harrison use to. I’d also consider using multiple fronts like the ravens often using 4 linemen. They could easily get away with Hood and McLendon at DT with Heyward and Woodley on the end with Jarvis Jones playing a bit like Von Miller in Denver or James Harrison’s new role in Cincinnati with Timmons at MLB, we would need another OLB if Sean Spence never recovers.

  • Asmitty56

    He was sort of working on his technic, some of the drills had hand fighting and dip and ripping which are used for disengaging O-linemen hands and pass rushing. His problem his likely extending his arms and keeping the linemen off of him. Which again would better suit him to disrupt rather than anchor, he is fully capable of fighting off linemen’s hands, its extending his arms and sort of pressing the linemen off of him then disengaging on a RB hitting a hole for an extended time he has a problem with

  • Asmitty56

    Hood and McLendon are actually pretty similar, their workout warriors (I think I remember McLendon being mentioned as one of the strongest players on the team, or maybe it was Hood…) But they are both athletic rock solid linemen. The thing is McLendon is used a lot different than Hood, they allow McLendon to wreak havoc on the interior line while they are still trying to fit a round peg in a square hole with Hood trying to get him an anchor, he is better fighting off blocks and engaging in them. Let him collapse the pocket with McLendon. Hell I would LOVE to see McLendon or Hood stand up as a monster backer like Keisel often does. This seems so much like Darnell Dockett in AZ, they tried making him a 3-4 linemen when he is a disruptor.
    I really do not like how they went about revamping the DL. They knew 1st round picks would be expected to produce right away and would be a some what expensive 2nd contract. On top of that they try to convert 4-3 DTs into a 3-4? That stuff takes time. Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, and Chris Hoke were not studs in a single season, heck they were not studs over their first 3 or 4 seasons. They were low round draft picks molded the way the Steelers wanted him. That’s exactly what they did with Steve McLendon, and do not be surprised if Al Woods makes a name for him self soon. it’s also a big reason why I’m excited about Nicholas Williams, coach Mitchell WANTED this guy on the team, he has size and was a combine standout duo to his athleticism and is a low round draft pick which means plenty of time to mold him into our next star linemen.

  • Madi

    I was under the impression that Outer Limits Sports posted these.

  • Matt Searls

    i’m not sure what that has to do with anything. but yes outer limit sports recorded it and posted to their website, and youtube, just like ziggy did with his page. its not like there was a hidden camera or anything. he knew he was being filmed, ok’d them to do it and post it. again im not sure how this is relevant.. if youre just looking for an argument then can we argue about something more fun then what ziggy could be doing that we dont know about?

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I’d say that too, as would the FO. But Ziggy and his agent know the score. Ziggy is a healthy, athletic, experienced, ideal sized, first round DE;,, never complained about being a 3-4 end and maybe playing out of position. And he’s 26 or 27 by contract time. Ziggy gonna get paid like a top tier 4-3 end. Good luck to you and your $50M plus, Ziggy

  • Madi

    The whole point was that you think he’s only doing this type of work because this is all you’re seeing. Then you said, “I’m just going off of what he’s posting”, as if he posts all his offseason work. My point is that it was posted by these guys for a reason separate from just showing us what Ziggy’s doing, and so it’s not like Ziggy is only showing us part of what he does. He’s just working, and they’re showing us this part of what he does, because it relates to them. Why would they show us him working on his technique with his coach or another player? What does that have to do with Outer Limits Sports? They wouldn’t. And since Ziggy isn’t the one taping himself, he wouldn’t either. Do you really not get it?

  • Matt Searls

    Can you explain it again? But differently?

  • Madi

    You know what, I just thought about it, and you’re right. He already worked on strength and agility last year. Enough already! He should try practicing football.

  • Matt Searls

    I can’t tell if that’s sarcasm haha. I’m not saying he shouldn’t work out, I’m just saying he’s already in amazing shape and I feel like those months could be better spent working on mastering his position. Of course he still needs to lift and workout though

  • Madi

    It was sarcasm, because it’s ridiculous to suggest that he doesn’t work on his craft just because you saw him exercise.

  • Matt Searls

    I don’t think that it was sarcasm. I feel like your subconscious agrees with me.

  • Luke Shabro

    Ziggy has been average. Not awful. Not good. But average. I worry about his ability to take on blockers being a somewhat contributing factor in the lack of a pass rush. As others have stated, his style of play never matched that of a 3-4 DE. I can tell he has good athleticism and I think he would be a great penetrating DT. He’s not good enough to be both as J.J. Swat is. I think he’s similar to Glenn Dorsey. A guy that’s been playing out of position for a while. I’m not really sure why Colbert drafted him in the first place. I would never go as far as to say Ziggy was a bust but he hasn’t been as good as I hoped. We could’ve had Louis Delmas, Jairus Byrd, Andy Levitre or any number of other players. Hindsight is 20/20 but it still sucks.

  • Luke Shabro

    You have to love the kid’s work ethic. He doesn’t have major injuries and he’s never complained about being played out of position *cough*Haynesworth*cough*. I won’t judge his achievement this year by HIS stats. I will judge it by the stats of the OLB behind him. I do hope they sign him on the cheap before the season starts. Good insurance to have and I don’t see him costing much. Throw a 3 year deal at him.

  • sgtrobo

    in what world would Ziggy get paid that much $$? Why would any team pay him as a top tier 4-3 end?

  • sgtrobo

    I do bench presses and sprints. My friend videotapes the workout. He posts the bench press video but doesn’t post the sprint video. Does that mean I never did the sprints?

    If a tree falls in the woods but the video doesn’t get posted on youtube, does that mean it didn’t fall?

  • sgtrobo

    DT, not DE. He’s not a DE in a 4-3 or a 3-4

  • sgtrobo

    Heyward can end up being effective in the same role as AA. Not saying he’d be as good as the Demolition Man, but he has the same dimensions (arms not quite as long, Smith had frickin’ yardstick-length vines) and he has good natural handfighting ability.

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