Tomlin Thinks Heyward Has Been ‘Really Solid’ So Far This Season

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward has been limited to mostly playing in sub packages in the first four games of the 2013 season and it resulted in him only getting 19 snaps in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Those snap limitations will now change, however, as Heyward will now start over Ziggy Hood Sunday against the New York Jets.

“He has and he will play more, and deservedly so,” said Tomlin when asked Tuesday if Heyward has now moved ahead of Hood in the base defense. “I think he’s been really solid, not taking anything away from Ziggy [Hood], obliviously, both guys will continue to play, we just want Cam to play more than he’s been playing and in order to ensure that, we are going to put him in the starting lineup.”

Heyward has registered two tackles, seven quarterback hurries and one quarterback hit in the 114 defensive snaps that he’s played thus far this season. Despite Hood being demoted, Tomlin insisted that all of his defensive linemen will continue to play moving forward with the primary goal being to get Heyward more snaps.

“All of those guys are going to play like they have,” Tomlin said. “We just wanted to redistribute the snaps to make sure that Cam is getting more than he’s gotten until this point and that’s the reason for change.”

  • Dr. Doom

    Keith Butler mentioned Hood needed improved technique in the off season. Guess all that jumping on youtube was useless.

  • dollardoughtnut

    it’s about time-thought I was the only one that saw it

  • Dan

    Just think how mediocre he’d be if he didn’t do all that jumping. At least Tomlin is being careful not to hurt his feelings. Wouldn’t want that.

  • Douglas Andrews

    It’s a shame neither one of these guys can produce like Old Man “Da Beard”. Theses guys are former first rounders and we still haven’t seen much production especially out of Hood.

  • TheBlitz

    His conditioning has always been pretty good and he’s rarely (never ?) injured. So I wouldn’t qualify it as useless. We know what the injury bug or less that ideal conditioning can do. He will continue to contribute while refining his technique. Better than having him sit on the sideline nursing a hamstring.

    With that said, I’m glad Heyward is getting more reps. We need to know what he’s got and what he’s capable of.

  • Jeff

    By far the funniest post of the day. +1

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m excited to see more of Heyward! What if he looks really good and Hood never reclaims the spot? Do we draft a de high or let Arnfelt try it out!? Or move Mclendon over and draft a nt?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    My definition of our “nose tackle” there is only one in the draft. Its not either Notre Dame products (Nix or Tuitt) but it indeed is Tennessee’s Daniel McCullers. At 6’7″ and 377 lbs, ran sub 5.10. As for DEs, let Ziggy Hood go because our coaches doesn’t know how to use him, give Arnfelt more meaningful snaps next season.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Heyward over the last couple of years has looked better than Hood but we were patient with Hood. He just doesn’t quite have the talent or smarts…not sure which one. Excited to see Heyward do his thing.

  • dgh57

    It’s about time someone pushes Hood out of the starting lineup! Heyward was playing 15 fewer snaps per game than Hood and he has one more quarterback hurry, per Pro Football Focus. He has less than half the amount of snaps as Keisel yet, has one fewer hurry (seven) than Keisel (eight).

  • Mike Carroll

    Right, I think it’s so ridiculous Tomlin seems to be worried about hurting his Ziggy’s feelings. But, Tomlin has always liked to coddle the defensive players that were drafted high under his tenure with the team. It’s part of the reason I really am doubtful of Tomlin’s own ability to evaluate talent.

  • JC Chuta

    Ziggy is in worse physical shape then when he was first drafted! I would like for Tomlin to comment on Ziggy’s work ethics in the gym. I believe this is a reason why Ziggy is not the dominant player Steeler’s thought they drafted šŸ™

  • Matt Manzo

    I like the sound of a 6’7 377lb NT! Crossing my fingers for that one!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    That just might be a bad thing, no leverage for that size but if he get his hands there first, still could command double-teams.

  • Jollyrob68

    Hood is a 3tech they’d try to make a 5 tech. I still like him but they need to play him like San Fran’s line play 34

  • Jollyrob68

    Play the run on the way to the QB

  • MC

    The only posts i angrily responded to over the net regarding the steelers were the ones that called Heyward a bust. I’ve watched him attentively ever since he was drafted cause i had a gut feeling he would be a fixture in this d and it infuriated me how often people threw the bust label on him. Many were grading him and his progress in line with Hood but fail to remember that Hood was drafted two years before him!
    He’s shown he has more splash play ability than Hood and I always knew he would take over that spot. He has better technique and gets to the passer quicker, all in all he’s just more of a football player than Hood.

    I wouldn’t call Hood a bust cause he’s started many games and is rarely injured but I just think Hewyard was better all along.
    Sorry if this sounds so “I told you so” but those people who called Hewyard a bust have no clue!

  • Johnny Loose

    Been waiting for this. I’ve like Heyward since his days at Ohio State. I think Cam will be able to offer more than what Hood is giving us. BTW, whatever happened to that intense workout regime Hood went through? I mean, he was literally becoming a beast. How did that NOT work out? Not giving up on him but somehow I feel like maybe Hood is being misused, just my take.

  • Johnny Loose

    agreed. I always smh in disbelief at some of the stuff written about him. I feel like his upside will finally show if given more clock. He absolutely has a motor. The tricky thing about these DE in this scheme is that they are supposed to occupy blockers. We really need to implement a pass rush like 5 weeks ago. I’m waiting to see how the coaches respond to the lack thereof and hope we get some quarterbacks dirty down the stretch. 12-4 here we come!

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I think people “bust’ him because as a 1st rd pick most fans expect(ed) him to surpass Hood (who most are disappointed with) or an aging Keisel sooner. I think D line will be the strength of this team in years to come for years to come. Check it out, Heyward, McClendon, Arnfelt, N. Williams and Fangupo. Add a draft pick or two at NT we look to be pretty set, now we just gotta start getting the young guys some meaningful minutes in games.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Not sure if he is a 5 or a 3 all I know is that he isn’t productive enough.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I think you are on it Matt. Move Mc to DE and draft a top tiered NT.

  • Ahmad

    About time Heyward gets the starting job.

  • SteelerDave

    I have said many times that I view our D-line as good players who are not playing their ideal position. Hood is a 4-3 DT. McClendon is a 4-3 DT. Heyward is a 4-3 DE. Da Beard is actually a 3-4 DE and has always played it well.

    Heyward will prove more productive getting to the passer then 4-3 DT Hood playing 3-4 DE but Heyward will struggle against the run as a 3-4 DE.

    Maybe next season when Dick retires we finally return to a 4-3 defense. Many of our LB’s are also more ideal for a 4-3 D than a 3-4.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I’m not saying the move is bad…I’m saying stats can be. To date, Heyward played on more passing downs than those other two and has had less run responsibility. .