Should an extension not be announced for Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood by the time kickoff rolls around, he will most definitely be a restricted free agent following the season.
Last season, Hood started in all 16 contests and matched a career-high with three sacks and set a new single-season career-high with 40 tackles. In addition to that, he tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries and also finished third on the team with 17 quarterback pressures. However, head coach Mike Tomlin is looking for bigger numbers from the Missouri product this season.
"I would like to see a better ratio," Tomlin told Bill Hillgrove during his pre game interview. "He always has done a nice job of pressuring the quarterback, but doing the things associated with finishing those rushes – turning some of those pressures into sacks – is what we’re looking for."
Sunday against the Titans, Hood will be seeing a lot of rookie right guard Chance Warmack, who was drafted in the first round this past April. Warmack wasn't perfect during the preseason and he did allow a sack and three hurries in 62 pass blocking opportunities.
The Steelers defensive ends will supposedly be allowed to rush the edge more in 2013 than they have in previous seasons, so that is something we will have to pay close attention to starting Sunday. Hood, however, knows that despite it being a contract year for him that the team comes first.
“I do whatever coaches tell me to do, and if that is to bring the heat on the quarterback, then I'll do it,” Hood told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I'm never trying to make a play for myself. It's all about the team.”