Categorized | News, Training Camp

Cameron Heyward Took Alameda Ta\’amu Under His Wing During The Offseason


Pittsburgh Steelers second-year nose tackle Alameda Ta\'amu had a good showing in the preseason opener against the New York Giants this past Saturday as he continues to try to show the organization that they didn\'t waste a fourth-round draft pick on him. Even though he showed up at training camp this year with an injured hamstring, he was in much better physical shape than he was a year ago, and he credits defensive end Cameron Heyward for helping him in that area of need.

According to the Associated Press, Heyward picked up Ta\'amu nearly every morning during the offseason so that the two could train together at the Steelers facility. More than that, Ta\'amu had a friend who could support him through all the fallout he was going through that stemmed from his drunk-driving escapade that took place in October of last year.

"I was just trying to help," Heyward said. "I always tried to talk to him and be straightforward with him."

Heyward said he too thought Ta\'amu had a good showing Saturday night, but that he still has some technique issues that he has to fix. Ta\'amu evidently knows that as well.

"A lot of mistakes," the Washington product said. "There were times I had good push. But even if a play is 50-50, it\'s an F. I\'m working on my way to make it a better grade for next time."

That next time should come next Monday when the Steelers take on the Washington Redskins in their second preseason game. While nobody is expecting Ta\'amu to become Casey Hampton in just a few more weeks, as long he continues to make strides in every preseason game, he will slowly start to change people\'s perception that he should have been dumped permanently last October.

As far as Heyward goes, you can clearly see he understands the "Steeler way" as he is slowly developing into a team leader even though he isn\'t a starter just yet. Should Ta\'amu wind up becoming a reliable cog on the Steelers defense, Heyward will be able to take great pride in the fact that he was somewhat responsible for it.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    I like hearing this.. Ta’amu sort of needed someone to stand by, mentor him, Heyward is only 24yrs old but has taken on that role, it sure seems to be paying dividends thus far

  • Wayne Darby

    Glad to see Heyward helping out here but he needs to get better on the field.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Great story. Heyward may have saved Ta’Amu career. Shows what kind of person Heyward is. Glad he is a Steeler.

  • Nolrog

    Maybe someone needs to take Heyward under their wing.

  • charles

    I think the edge rushing idea LeBeau is trying to add this year will take some of the handcuff on Heyward and Ziggy off.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hope so because up to this season both #1 DE picks have been disappointing.

  • Shea Fahr

    How so? Please Explain by giving a few examples based on facts and numbers.

  • Guest

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/steelers-defensive-ends-stats-rankings-2012/.

    2012 Defensive stats
    B Keisel 46 total tackles 4.5 sacks
    Z Hood 40 Total Tackles 3.0 sacks
    C Heyward 20 Total Tackles 1.0 sack

    B Keisel 7th rd draft pick 12th year
    Ziggy and Cam both 1st rounders

  • Douglas Andrews

    2012 Defensive stats
    B Keisel 46 total tackles 4.5 sacks
    Z Hood 42 Total Tackles 3.0 sacks
    C Heyward 20 Total Tackles 1.0 sack

    B Keisel 7th rd draft pick 12th year
    Ziggy 5 yrs
    and Cam 3 yrs both 1st rounders

  • WIINGY

    Cam hasn’t got near as many snaps and you can’t start 3 DE’s.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I hear your point about starting 3 DE’s but when you have 2 1st round DE’s drafted they should be starting and making an impact on D. I wouldnt classify either as a bust but Ziggy’s numbers are alarming since he’s started almost every game he’s played in and his improvement is marginal at best. I like the potential of both but for high draft picks it just seems like we should be getting more production.

  • charles

    This lack of production is very much a product of LeBeau defense philisophies.

  • sgtrobo

    Heyward has been excellent on the field. Watch the game vs. the Ravens when he played most of it and did very well vs. Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele. Watch the final game vs. Cleveland and he played very well vs. Joe Thomas.

  • sgtrobo

    the lack of Ziggy’s production is due to a poor fit. The lack of Heyward’s production is lack of chances. Watch him vs. Baltimore or Cleveland (Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, and Joe Thomas) and you’ll get an idea of what we should have in there

  • Douglas Andrews

    Some of it is due to the sceme itself but we need to see more controlling of the line of scrimmage especially the point of attack for Hood and Heyward along with more QB pressures not necessarily sacks. Aaron Smith who is one of the best DE’s we had was known for being able to do that. These guys are former 1st rounders who should be making more of an impact than former 4th and 7th rounders who play or have played in the same defensive scheme.

  • sgtrobo

    Heyward did an excellent job controlling the LoS in the games where he had substantial playing time. He made a lot of impact.

    I swear, people missed the Baltimore and Cleveland games last season when Heyward was in.

    Watch the All-22. It’s right there. It’s painfully obvious.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Seems like were missing the point here. All I said is I’d like to see more from both guys I never said they were bust. They’ve both been okay shown some things in a few games but the problem is it’s not consistent. We’ll see this year if there is a big jump for both. I’ll agree to disagree on this one.

  • sgtrobo

    I agree that I’d like to see more from Heyward, but when he’s actually in the game, he produces. He has been consistent. What hasn’t been consistent is LeBeau and Mitchell putting him into the game. That’s his biggest issue, actual playing time.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’ve been alittle more impressed with Cam than Ziggy. At year 5 I think Ziggy is what he is IMO. Hopefully with more snaps this year maybe Cam can be this years Steve Mcclendon.

  • sgtrobo

    I think Cam can be our next Aaron Smith to be honest. Ziggy is just a poor fit. I think if Ta’amu really progresses, a line of Cam – Ta’amu – McLendon could be pretty darn good. With Al Woods and Brian Arnfeldt as our backups, we might be set for several years on the DL

  • Douglas Andrews

    Woods has been unblockable so far and good versatility being able to play NT and DE . I liked what I saw out of Meda and Arnfeldt. D line has some good young potential for sure. Gonna be interesting this year as Lebeau is going to try and let the DE’s rush the QB more. Glad he’s making an adjustment. The decrease in sacks could be a result of teams figuring out how to block that defensive scheme. Hope your right about Cam cause A Smith was a BEAST! 2 guys we miss the most…A Smith and J Bettis

  • sgtrobo

    agreed 100% on all points Doug. Agreed 100%.

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