Sub Package Heyward Not Off To A Sub Standard Start

Through the first two games of the 2013 season, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward has been credited with two total tackles, two passes defensed and four quarterback pressures in 63 snaps played. While that might not be an eye-popping stat line, it’s important to remember how he’s being used.

Prior to the season starting, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Heyward would be featured in sub packages and he did not tell a lie. According to our charting of the first two games, 46 of Heyward’s 63 snaps have come as part of a sub package and 27 have come on third downs.

Using Heyward in those situations will lead to less tackles for him, but the hope is that he will make up for it in pressures and hurries.

Heyward has rushed the passer 41 times in 63 snaps and hasn’t dropped into coverage once. When he is on the field, offenses know that he is coming. When you consider he has made his mark on six plays as a pass rusher, that’s once every seven times and not totally awful.

42 of Heywards 63 snaps have come on the left side as he has predominantly replaced Ziggy Hood on defense and not Brett Keisel.

Against the Chicago Bears Sunday night, the Steelers will need a big game out Heyward as a pass rusher if he indeed continues to rotate in the way he has thus far. The Steelers have only recorded one sack in their first two games, so look for the Ohio State product to get home for one this weekend.

  • Eric

    Glad Heyward is doing good. Young guys like him and next years high draft choices bode well for our future.

  • Thomas Rancy

    so why isn’t he starting? we need pressure in base 2

  • Eric

    Keisel is still playing well and getting a lot of tackles in addition to being a Captain.

  • Nolrog

    And Hood?

  • alex

    all hands on deck on the D side of the ball…replacing Foote and Cortez has brought this on and i cant help but notice the energy the youngsters bring on ST and D…

    so far these two aspects of the team are showing-up…will the offense and coaching follow suite…mistakes will be made, but we win or lose with everybody this year…

    lets turn up the volume at home!

  • walter mason

    I always saw him as a replacement for Hood.

  • CrazyTerry

    LeBeau gets a major pass locally , but he has been worse than Haley in recent years at getting young players up to speed faster. This does not invalidate his great career. But ;let’s be honest about the slow development of young players in the past few years. It’s one thing for that strategy when you have a top quality veteran D. But that hasn’t been the case in the post SB 43 era. McClendon and Heyward should have had more snaps last year. We kept hearing from some local press about how lost Heywardl looked. Well, let him learn.
    What I have seen from Heyward this year. When matched against Zeitler, he was gettting more push than Hood. Hood was being pushed back a tad while Heyward was pushing Zeitler back a tad on the snaps I noticed. Opposite directions.

  • CrazyTerry

    Another thing, on the second drive of the half where th4e Steelers gave up a TD, Hood was in . Heyward was in on the first drive where Steelers just shut down Cinci. Hood did not make a SINGLE play on that entire drive. He did not look like starter material on a single play. ONe play, he had penetration, Zeitler steers him away from the QB who steps up quite easily. On another play, just as you thought Hood did a smart thing from peeling away from the traffic area to tackle their #84, Hood just loses balance and falls down and is unable to stop him. Why lebeau kept Hood oin the field for that ENTIRE drive falls squarely on LeBeau .

  • CrazyTerry

    One las tthing. Maybe we should use heyward as a situational FB the way Bengals use Peko or Belichick used one of his DL guys.

  • bgsteelfan

    Lebeau has never been big on playing young guys on the defense. That is part of what got the defense in the situation it is in today.

  • bgsteelfan

    Same here