By Matthew Marczi
When it comes to a player like Ziggy Hood, who not only does nothing special himself, but also plays a selfless position such as the 3-4 defensive end in Dick LeBeau’s scheme, all publicity is not good publicity. In fact, when Hood gets brought up, it’s usually in a negative light.
Even in articles on this site, people are quick to point out flaws in animated gifs included in articles about other players, when the gif was not included to highlight Hood’s play. After all, every player has inconsistencies on a down-to-down basis.
With that in mind, I thought it would be to put the spotlight on Hood for a change. While he’s always been given credit for his hard work and dedication, it’s usually the negative that gets the focus when it comes to his play. This is not to say that he’s a great players, or even an above average starter, but it is a reminder that Hood is a capable player who contributes to the team’s success, even if it isn’t always so obvious.
Hood most certainly is not known for his ability to rush the passer, but he got a few shots at Joe Flacco this past game. His first crack at it was easily the most impressive of his three pressures. On this second and long snap, Hood went toe to toe with Marshal Yanda and won. He first tried for the A Gap, and when that didn’t work, he manhandled Yanda, tossing him to his knees to get to the quarterback. He threw Flacco to the turf as he influenced the poor throw.
Late in the second quarter, Hood showed off some of his football sense, which goes under the radar. On the pass rush, he quickly realized with Flacco rolling to his right that it would be a running back screen. He abandoned his rush and trailed Ray Rice out of the backfield, bringing him down after just one yard.
Early in the third quarter, toward the end of the Ravens’ first drive of the half, Hood was able to get some pressure on Flacco again as he and Jason Worilds ran a cross stunt. Hood was able to work around right tackle Michael Oher and nearly got a piece of the ball as it left Flacco’s hand on yet another incomplete pass.
Every once in a while, he even makes a tackle in the running game. This time he beat the center to tackle Rice after a short gain.
As it seems Brett Keisel may have possibly played his last down as a Steeler, it is Hood’s turn to step back into the starting lineup. The Steelers can win and half won with him. He’s a flawed but competent starter who probably gets a bit more grief than he should.