Brett Keisel Wants More Consistency From Cameron Heyward; More Splash From Ziggy Hood

Veteran Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel knows all about having to wait a while in order to contribute as a full-time player, as he didn\’t start his first game until his fourth year in the league. With Cameron Heyward now entering his third year with the Steelers, Keisel was asked Thursday what he thinks the Ohio State product needs to do in order to be more of a contributor on defense in 2013.

“Just take that next step,” said Keisel. “Our style of defense is all about consistency, going out and playing consistent week in and week out, and as a young guy that\’s hard to do. Cam\’s been here three years; he knows the defense now. It\’s just making that next step of being a very consistent day in and day out player.”

So is year three the magic year for defensive linemen? Keisel thinks it is.

“Yeah, we always say that the third year is the year where everything should start to come together, and he\’s there. So, it\’s just doing it. He can do it.”

While Heyward might not necessarily begin the season as a starter, the Steelers are probably hoping he can overtake Keisel on the right side at some point during the season. At the very least, Heyward should expect to play a lot more than the 267 snaps he played last year as the team will undoubtedly try to save some wear and tear on Keisel, who is entering the final year of his contract and perhaps even the final year of his career.

On the other side of the defensive line is Ziggy Hood, who like Keisel is entering the final year of his current contract. Keisel was asked to give his thoughts on the fifth-year player.

“Ziggy\’s playing good,” Keisel said. “We expect the same from him. This is his fifth year, and I want to see some more splash plays from Ziggy Hood. Some more fumbles and things like that, but he\’s a very productive guy – reliable guy – I think he played in every game last year. It\’s hard to do in this business, and he\’s a tough kid.”

  • pittsburghjoe

    Defensive ends don’t make “splash plays” in this system. A splash is made by holding up at the point of attack and taking up gaps.

  • Matt Searls

    I think we all want that. I’m really hoping at least one of them will break out this year

  • sgtrobo

    if our defensive ends don’t make “splash plays” then we shouldn’t be spending 1st rounders on them.

  • hergieburbur

    Yeah, so do I.

  • hergieburbur

    Look at Aaron Smith or Keisel’s stats sometime before you go there again. They aren’t flashy, and they aren’t the main pass rushers like in a 4-3, but they ARE expected to make big plays. I daresay Keisel knows what is expected from our DEs a bit more than you do…

  • BurgherinMD

    Some more batted balls are always a plus.

  • dgh57

    Try telling that to Keisel because I remember him taking a INT to the house a few years back vs.Tampa Bay!(wk 3 in 2010)

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Keisel was drafted in the 7th round so it is not surprising that it took 3 years before he made his first start. Heyward, on the other hand, was a 1st round pick and he is still not starting.

  • sean mcmartin

    Change is inevitable and it just doesn’t look so good right now. Hampton Smith Kiesel was a great line to have. Hood in his fifth year and it looks like he is not a pro bowler. mclendon should be a fun to watch and positive addition. Heyward is a maybe. losing Lewis,Hampton and Harrison and getting turnstile gay back, might be too much for the Defense to overcome this season.
    Sure hope I am wrong and we hit the Stairway to Seven..

  • walter mason


  • cencalsteeler

    Glad to see Keisel calling out his teammates. He’s taking on the leadership role, something I think the team was lacking last season.