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Steelers DE Cameron Heyward To Be Featured In Sub Packages This Year


The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted defensive end Cameron Heyward in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and with this now being his third season, he is expected to play a lot more than he has in his first two seasons. Head coach Mike Tomlin talked about the Ohio State product Tuesday during his press conference.

"We feel very good about Cam Heyward," said Tomlin. "We feel he's had a very good preseason and training camp. "We're going to feature in some sub package football, you'll see him out there in the game. He's going to play in a manor of which he's played in the past. He's going to get a number of snaps."

In an effort to save wear and tear on the starters along the Steelers defensive line this season, Heyward will likely spell Brett Keisel the most during the season. Over the course of his first two years with the team he has averaged a little over 15 snaps of playing time a game, so that number is bound to go up.

The use of Heyward more in sub packages in 2013 should allow for him to rush the passer more off of the edge. Last season, Heyward registered only 8 total pressures on 144 pass rush attempts, according to Pro Football Focus, so he will definitely have to improve that ratio if he is going to be considered an upgrade over Keisel in that area of his game.

With the possibility that 2013 could be the final year for Keisel with the team, Heyward will be expected to take a big step forward early in the season and the hope is that he will push hard for the starting right defensive end spot sooner rather than later.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    IT is About Time for this #1 Draft Pick to do Something OR is he another Mistake by Colbert ??

  • Weiss Chad

    Its not easy picking at the bottom of the round just about every year.Look at all these teams that lose year after year and pick in top ten constantly.I think colberts done an awesome job building the teams we have been spoiled with.Theres no gm in football who hits on every pick and when colbert misses he seems to find a better piece of puzzle to fit.

  • Eric

    Except for Dick Haley, Todd’s Dad. He NEVER missed in round 1. You can arrgue SR. Sack, but the car accident shouldn’t count.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Another mistake by Colbert? lol. As long as you’re keeping track, you should mention all of the late round gems for which he’s responsible too. Judging by your tone, I assume you’re also a Tomlin hater, but I promise you that someday you’ll realize that Colbert and Tomlin are both among the best in the business. You’ll yearn for this 2nd golden era of Steelers football. You may not admit it, but you’ll know it.

  • sean mcmartin

    Colbert and Tomlin are the best in the business? Id give Colbert the props. But Tomlin is not one of the best NFL coaches.
    He still has trouble managing the game clock in crucial moments, And I do not see the motivation in this team every game..

  • Douglas Andrews

    About the only thing Colbert and Co. hasnt’ done well is hit with all there 2nd and 3rd round picks but great track record with not only the 1st round but the later picks. Either way the playoffs the championships, and the SB’s clearly show that this front office is one of if not the best in the NFL during Colbert’s tenure.

  • steeltown

    They are pretty good with WRs in the 3rd Rd in the last few yrs, between Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and now seemingly Wheaton…. oddlt enough Ward was also a 3rd Rd pick way back when ’98 I think… I say we should always pick WRs in the 3rd ha!

  • Mkeller

    Being critical is part of being a fan. Colbert has not been nearly as good since 2008 as he was prior to that. Regardless of who did what…at this point Cam Heyward should be able to take the job from a 35 year old man. At the very,very least he should be taking more than 8-10 snaps/game away from Keisel. No knock on Brett, but its time for the youth to step up. Colbert’s hit some gems on offense (I don’t count Wallace because of the silly 3 year contract and not being able to retain the young talent) but he has been lost on defense since the Timmons/Woodley draft. Like it or not, this has been the Ben Roethlisberger era not the Kevin Colbert era.

  • steeltown

    You’re right about the Ben Roethlisberger era.. but It sure looks like Cortez Allen, Shark Thomas, Vince Williams will be good players.. and honestly we still cant really gauge how good Worilds, Heyward and Spence can be as FULL TIME starters… after this season we will know

  • cencalsteeler

    Just don’t understand the Colbert bashers. One of the best, if not the best in the business. It’s easy to look out the back window and say woulda, coulda, shoulda. Try looking out the front window and picking talent at the bottom of the order.

  • Mkeller

    I hope those guys all become full time contributors and maybe one or two can become pro bowlers. Unfortunately we’re only hoping at this point. Jarvis takes that job after week one I’ll lighten up a bit. I thought that was an insane pick. I’m ok with an injury concern, or a speed concern, or a size concern but all three? Looking like I’ll have been wrong about him and am happy to say it.

  • Weiss Chad

    I would rely more on game tape than measurables.Its what they put on film.

  • Mkeller

    I would agree for the most part. There are some exceptions to that. Its just that Jarvis had the red flag trifecta. Nonetheless….if he becomes all we hope I’ll gladly eat that crow.

  • joed32

    If a player leaves at the end of his contract for the big bucks that means he was a good draft pick not a poor one.

  • Marcus

    It’s crazy how fast fans jump on these kids and call them a bust. I remember when everyone said the same thing about Timmons. Heyward will be solid. Ziggy continues to improve as well. You can’t compare them to Aaron Smith, who in my opinion was the most under rated player of all-time; at least for the Steelers.

  • Intropy

    You have to take the good with the bad. If not for that trifecta (stenosis, 40 time, and what’s the third?) Jones would have been the top edge rusher in the draft and therefore probably gone at #3.

  • Mkeller

    My complaint is why sign a 3rd rd draft choice to a 3 yr deal like a delicate genius when the rest of the league signs players to 4 year deals. Keenan Lewis and Mike Wallace both left after 4 yrs. That 4th yr is invaluable because the cheap labor is needed in the NFL. Now in their 5th yr you can restricted tender the player. Thankfully the league has saved the Steelers from themselves and all those contracts are 4 yrs now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Keenan and Wallace signed on restricted tenders this yr while contemplating their future value? We are spending just over 3mil on RBs this yr…a position that was to get a major overhaul for a team that wants to focus on the run. My point is they have blown it on the cap. You do not get a pat on the back for losing quality young talent after 4 yrs!

  • Weiss Chad

    I cant wait til butler spends some time w him and improves his technique a little.I believe the skys the limit for this kid.The only thing that scares me is can he stay healthy .Im no fortune teller but w jones, wheaton,bell,Shark,arnfelt who i think will be on roster no later than next yr, vince williams,Man this was a monster draft providing bell performs well.I thought d line and ilb was weak.Boy was I wrong.Im scared about cb and o line but Im not telling you guys anything you don’t know cause I know most of u guys are like me and eat sleep drink steeler football.All I can say is thank god for steeler depot the best site on the web.

  • Weiss Chad

    That’s kinda contraversial.I don’t exactly agree but have a hard time debating it.I believe worilds is a fine olb,but believe he’s injury prone and jarvis has higher ceiling.I think keenan lewis and wallace was above avg obviously.Woodley was a steal.Adams, sanders,bell,certainly look productive.Spence had a great report and wheaton was a steal.I know there was a bad pick or decision to let someone go to early, but I can’t express enough how grateful I personaly am to have colbert leading the franchise that I love.

  • Weiss Chad

    It’s a great reason not to pay Wallace, and not put up w holmes bs..Next man up or next man drafted.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m not a Colbert basher, but you can’t look at this through rose colored glasses either.

    Draft…since Woodley and Timmon in ’07, he’s whiffed on every LB drafted. You can’t do that playing a 3-4. That has forced them to keep Foote on the roster the last 2 seasons…not b/c he’s a great player, but b/c he’s the best option they have…no other LB was ready to play inside.

    The Steelers have been extremely tight against the cap imo because they chose to reward aging players who were still good but past their prime such as Aaron Smith, James Harrison, Brett Keisel, Ward, even Troy P. Most of these players were way over paid based on recent production. They’ve been forced to cut these guys and carry the dead money which further cripples your cap space.

    As a result…they didn’t have cap money to lock up young proven players before they hit FA, such as Lewis and Wallace.

  • cencalsteeler

    I tend to think Foote is there based on his play last season. And let’s not forget about the drafting of Sean Spence. Colbert can’t predetermine injury. So, even if Foote’s numbers were to drop, I think personally Spence and Timmons were the tandem he foresaw.
    Based on our 3-4 you mention, we now have a rotation in place because of so much talent at our outsides, Woodley, Worilds and Jones. If you ask me, that’s a nice predicament to be in.
    And, it seems we almost had too much talent at the lb position during training camp. Baxter, Garvin, Rolle, McFadden, Sylvester, etc. So, I tend to disagree with you in regards to Colbert whiffing on lb talent since 07.

  • Bob Graff

    Ok let me get this right. If you put someone in to play and say they are featured that’s going to change performance. Nice trick, why not feature everyone. Now we have superstars everywhere. WHAT BS.

  • Bob Graff

    Now Colbert fans let’s go back to 2008 these are guys that should be in there prime playing for the Steelers right now. Mendenhall , Sweed, [we passed on Ray Rice and Jamal Charles ] Bruce Davis ,Tony Hillis and Denis Dixon. he sure has been knocking it out of the park??? Hope he keeps up the good work. And to make things worst the few he did hit on are gone. Remember Hood, Heyward, DeCastro and Jones have done nothing to date.

  • Madi

    Go away.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m clouded by the Alonzo Jackson, Ricardo Couclough (Sp) Bruce Davis, Limas Sweed, Willie Reid…but those later rounds have produced some gems like A brown. K Bechum D Paulson D Johnson C Allen. Some good players drafted after 3rd round.

  • Douglas Andrews

    You make good points with the recent draft picks. Colbert has really hit some home runs with the 1st round. Our entire O line have been drafted by or signed as undrafted FA’s by Colbert

  • Bob Graff

    no, you go away i want my old school steelers back

  • falconsaftey43

    2008 wasn’t the best draft. Mendy was productive when healthy. His 3 healthy years he had 3309 yds, 4.1 avg, 29 TDs. 66 Rec for 582 yds and another TD. Turns out he didn’t have great attitude, but can’t deny that production. Also picked up Mundy in the 6th who was a solid contributor. Not his best draft, but not a total whiff. Everyone is bound to have a bad draft every now and then.
    Hood has done nothing? He has started for 3 years on the # 2, 8 and 1 run defense. He gets ripped because he doesn’t jump off the screen or dominate like Smith did, but he is definitely a solid starter.
    Of our starters on Defense Colbert drafted or signed as UDFA: Kiesel, McLendon, Hood, Woodley, Timmons, Foote, Worilds, Taylor, Allen, Troy. That’s 10/11. I think it’s safe to say the defense has been pretty good recently (1, 1, 2, 5, 1, 1, 9, 4, 1, 9, 7, 1, 7) that’s where the defense ranked the last 13 years Colbert was with the team.
    Every offensive starter was a Colbert draft pick or UDFA..
    All pro’s he drafted or signed as UDFA? Troy, Harrison, Pouncey
    Pro Bowlers?: Troy, Harrison, Hampton, Pouncey, Ben, Parker, Miller, A. Smith, Keisel, Woodley, Wallace, M. Smith, A. Brown, K. Bell.
    That’s 14 pro bowlers acquired in 13 years, not bad.
    2/3 super bowls, 135W – 72L (that’s a little better than 10-6 avg over his tenure)
    Colbert has done a fine job. Us Steeler fans are a little spoiled in that the Steelers are perennial contenders. The standards in Pittsburgh are high because people like Colbert consistently put a good team on the field.

  • Bob Graff

    Yes you are dead on. But is it Colbert ??? All of them picks have a Cowher touch and most definitely a Lebeau brush stroke. How has he drafted without Cowher holding his hand ??? 2009 Hood, 2010 average draft, 2011could very well be a complete bust,2012 i’m praying DeCastro pans out or this is also a disaster. BTW Steeler consistently isn’t 8-8

  • falconsaftey43

    I’m not sure what you are getting at, Hood did start 3 years and his stats and play have increased in each.

    Since you insist on coming up with reasons to degrade Colbert, let’s look at his “non-Cowher” drafts 2007-2013.

    Here are the players Colbert drafted that are on NFL rosters.

    2007 netted Timmons, Woodley, Spaeth, Gay.

    2008 Mendenhall, Mundy

    2009 Hood, Urbik, Wallace, Lewis, Summers, Shipley, D. Johnson.

    2010 Pouncey, Worilds, Sanders, Gibson, C. Scott, A. Brown, Worthington

    2011 Heyward, Gilbert, Brown, Allen, Carter

    2012 DeCastro, Adams, Spence, Ta’Amu, Clemons, Paulson, Beachum

    32 players in 6 years, granted that’s a little scewed because recent drafts haven’t sorted out yet.

    But I count 15 that are slatted to start this year, 16 if Paulson starts for Miller. Again not bad.

    If you look at the older drafts with players that have had time to develop: Timmons, Woodley, Spaeth, Urbik, Wallace, Lewis, Pouncey, Brown (Maybe Mendy when healthy) are all proven good players.

    You can throw in Hood, Worilds, Sanders, DeCastro as players that are on the verge.

    2011 a complete bust? Isn’t Allen a pretty good CB? Heyward hasn’t gotten a change yet behind Keisel so who knows there. Gilbert has been ok, hopefully he will improve. 2012 a disaster? Decastro and Adams have shown potential in only 1 year, Spence looked good and seems like he will recover, Beachum and Paulson are already great returns for 7th rounders.

    So yes, it is Colbert.
    And you are right 8-8 isn’t Steeler consistency. But the 10-6 avg over his tenure is. As well as 3 super bowl apperances. Again, many teams strive for 8-8 for years, Steeler fans have the luxury of considering a single 8-8 season a complete failure.

  • Pete

    EVERY single team wiffs in the draft. It’s impossible to draft “right” every time on every player. Nobody can predict the future and that’s what all teams are trying to do. It’s always hindsight.

    In order to remain competitive, you have to draft well. That means getting more hits than your rivals. The Steelers, Patriots, Packers and Ravens have all remained competitive for long periods of time. For the Steelers to be in this group, they have to draft well over the long term. This means that the Steelers front office has done a pretty good job drafting and evaluating talent.

  • Pete

    I’m a long time Steelers fan too. You can’t be competitive for long stretches without drafting well overall. You just can’t. You can cherry pick a player here or there but overall is what matters. You have to make more good draft hits than your rivals and the Steelers consistently do that along with the Packers, Patriots and Ravens. They’re not perfect but nobody is. Going back to 2008, the Steelers regular season record:
    2012 8-8
    2011 12-4
    2010 12-4
    2009 9-7
    2008 12-4

    Two Super Bowl appearances and one championship. That doesn’t happen if you don’t evaluate talent well.

  • Madi

    Well I gotta hand it to you, it takes a special kind of Steeler fan to conjure garbage and complain about it.

  • steeltown

    I was speaking in terms of WRs in the 3rd Rd.. I’ll give you Willie Reid, but the others don’t relate. In all Colbert has been damn good with drafting WRs in the 3rd

  • ATL96STEELER

    “pretty good job…”

    idk about pretty good…I’ll say a fair job.

    ’08…no contributors on the squad now.

    ’09…Hood is the only contributor, no $ to keep Wallace or Lewis.
    ’10…Pouncey is the only proven contributor…trying to find out about Worilds as a starter.
    ’11…Heyward was not good enough to beat out Keisel, but overall draft was solid
    ’12…Rainey, Ta’amu, Clemons, Fredrick all cut…are Adams & Paulson players? So far DeCastro looks like one and Beachum was a steal

    ’13 is just taking the field so nothing to evaluate in real football games.

    So from ’08 to ’12…not one LB drafted that we know can play…I think if we researched each one of them we’ll find they are not in the league, or on the bench if they are.

    WR/CB…excellent job.
    RB…so so imo
    DL…okay
    LB…poor imo.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Spence…no, certainly can’t pin that on Colbert. Yes, he looked promising in camp, but we’re talking about a hybrid guy here…if healthy maybe he can play inside. Unfortunate…maybe he can really come back, but something tells me the Steelers are setting this guy up for live after football by paying him for last year and this year. I really hope he can make it all the way back.

    The other names you mentioned…of this group I don’t think McFadden, Sylvester, or Baxter (PS) made the 53…hopefully the others can develop into NFL players, but I don’t expect much from that group of LBs…this season we’ll have to see down the road.

  • Bob Graff

    I thought we were talking about what’s on the roster today. Has Colbert invested too much in 2003-2007 and left the roster watered down today. And has he made mistakes drafting so high and often on both sides of the line. This season will tell.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hines could have been a 1st rounder easily only problem was with him he didn’t have a position in college. Sanders, Wallace, HR’s for sure, and Wheaton so far looks like a great pick. Limas not sure what happened..stress, depression,? We should get a message to Colbert and Co. when the 2-3rd round comes up stick with the WR pick.

  • steeltown

    I think Cam Heyward might surprise you this season.. and next

  • steeltown

    Yes..we as Steeler fans are spoiled, one bad season and the sky is falling right, ha! Some Teams are striving to win a single playoff game because they have failed to do so in the last decade.. I’d say we’re pretty damn spoiled.

  • steeltown

    Exactly, we’re talking about a Team that does not pick up big name FA’s…so how else are we accomplishing this… its clear to see we have good scouting and player eval

  • Bob Graff

    The BUS enough said

  • steeltown

    That’s was ’96.. long time ago.. aren’t we talking about Colbert and Company??

  • ATL96STEELER

    Bob…want to revisit one of your pet peeves on the Haley OFC…the quick out pass…yes, the one the normally only gains a few yards,

    I’m sure you saw some of the game last night…Manning called that play several times and much like the Steelers…it gained 2 or 3 yds…then they hit one that went for 70+ and 6.

    My point here is every team runs that play…all 32…every now and then the WRs will get good blocks and the play will get big yards. The pass to Bebe Thomas last night was a good example of it.

  • Bob Graff

    Actually the Broncos were pretty efficient with it [they also had a bunch of modest gains with it also] the reason being they have wrs and te’s willing to block and they are also able to get a lineman or 2 involved. When the Steeler’s run this play it always ends up being pretty much 1 on 1. And to make matters worst other teams are reading this trend and getting in the passing lane for a knock downs or a pick 6 as was seen in the preseason. When you have have a play that your personnel can run that’s good [example the Broncos] but we just haven’t been able to make this work and Haley insist on running it anyways.

  • Bob Graff

    Not that i’m the O/C . but if i were i would run some bootlegs, misdirections runs, slants, double moves patterns. These type of plays better fit our personnel and there strenghts. The inside draw and bubble screen have shown to be pretty much useless over the past 3 years. And i don’t buy into this zone blocking scheme [IF YOU CAN BLOCK THEN YOU CAN IF YOU CAN'T A SCHEME ISN'T GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU] BTW we don’t have the personnel for it any ways.

  • Rick Tilves

    I am A Big Steeler Fan AND Season ticket holder. I am just saying their Drafts have been Far from Stellar ! Passed on Ray Rice for Mendenhall while I was screaming at the TV to take Ray Rice. Just count the Number of Failed picks over the last 4-5 years. Colbert is Not a Good GM !

  • ATL96STEELER

    Execution is critical obviously, you got to get somebody out on the edge blocking for the play to work, but imo the hope IS a one on one. In space your WR can juke a guy, stiff arm a guy, etc. and get positive yards.

    But my point here is if you watched every team in the league every week like we do the Steelers we’ll see that every team uses that play. Often time to set up another play later based on how fast the CB closes on it…a hitch & go for instance.

  • ATL96STEELER

    OC…I’m not either of course, but I’ve seen enough football to know some things…the trademark Steeler trap blocking play really worked with Jerome, and at times I saw it working with Dwyer LY, but I think the play is better for Felix Jones or LSH…quicker hitting RB.

    Zone blocking…I understand the concept…you have an area to block vs a particular player, but I do agree the basic fundamentals of blocking are not changed…FWIW I think this OL is going to have some bad plays early, but will be better as the season goes along and should be a pretty good OL.

  • Bob Graff

    Hey ATL nice talking again, you are probably right to a certain extent i just think they over use the 2 plays. Have fun watching the games this weekend. GO STEELERS!!!!

  • Bob Graff

    As i was watching the gators today it dawned on me. They were doing the same thing the Steelers do, running up the middle and wasting plays gaining no yards. And just doing it over and over to no affect. This makes no sense what so ever.

  • Bob Graff

    Now who was right , the cupboard is bare. The problems are Colbert and Haley until it’s fixed brace for more of the same.

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