Sound FX Segment On Cameron Heyward Offers A Glimpse Of An Emerging Leader

By Matthew Marczi

So much of the breakout year by Cameron Heyward during the 2013 season has already been exhaustively documented, both by us and by others. His emergence into the starting lineup injected some life into a stagnating defense that had already lost its bearings with Larry Foote being lost in the first week of the season.

Something that hasn’t been documented as well, however, is Heyward’s emergence within the team dynamic as a young leader of the defensive line, and the defense as a whole—that is until now.

The NFL Network had Heyward wired up for the Pittsburgh Steelers’s season finale against the Cleveland Browns for their Sound FX series, and it was quite telling as to how he has transformed into a leader on this team.

He barks out his keys and tells his teammates how to react to what the offense is doing. He encourages his younger teammates. He even challenges the Browns to go for it again on fourth down.

There are so many quotables from this segment, as when he gives feedback to Jarvis Jones after making a play—presumably his pass deflection: “Good job! I see you Jarvis! You’re waking up today, ain’t you?”

Nothing speaks more to his leadership, however, than simply his hustle and his determination. At one point during the game, he tripped up just before reaching Jason Campbell, missing an opportunity to get a sack.

As the segment now reveals, he spent the Steelers’ offensive series excoriating himself on the bench, imploring himself to “finish” next time, repeating it over and over like a mantra.

Later on in the game, he did finish, reaching his hand out and sacking Campbell, all the while being held by Joe Thomas on the play.

It’s the end of the video though that tells you everything you need to know about Cameron Heyward. As the game concludes with a commanding victory for the Steelers, Heyward stands on the sideline, hands on his hips, sighing and looking disgusted as he reflects on what might be, and what could have been.

Coach Mike Tomlin walks by and tells Heyward to get that look off his face. When nothing changes in his expression, Tomlin asks Heyward “what”. His revealing response: “I want one more”.

That is the kind of player that becomes a leader on a team, whether he wants to or not. His hunger and his energy is infectious, and the rest of the defense feeds off that. When they see him chasing a running back down the field and swinging him to the ground by his jersey, his teammates know that they can’t lollygag. The Sound FX segment is a powerful look into the mindset of an emerging force, and is essential viewing for anybody that follows the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • SteelerDave

    Love Cam’s attitude. Let’s get him signed to a reasonable 5 year deal now. He deserves it for his play and leadership potential. I cross my fingers that we draft NT – Daniel McCullers 6’6, 351 in round 3 or trade up for him to nab him early round 4.

  • westcoasteeler

    It’d love to see a rash of jersey #97 to fly off the shelves. Can’t wait for him to get a great nickname too!

  • Shea Fahr

    This just made my day. Love it!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Our defense is suffering from a serious lack of swagger. We don’t intimidate anybody. And rightfully so. We’re not very physical. Hopefully, Cam Heyward is step one to changing that.

  • SteelerDave

    Exactly. Well said.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It was plain to see that Heyward was better then Hood early in his career. I am by no means a expert but it was noticeable. Not sure what the problem was.

  • srdan

    I have goosebumps everywhere.

    “hit everything that walks”

  • srdan

    I would have agreed with you before the year, but we now are heading in teh right direction.
    Cam in the trenches, vince in the middle, shamarko in the back. They all have swagger. The intimidation comes with time. Rookies don’t intimidate anyone.

  • DrakePirate

    we do need that swagger back … !

  • DrakePirate

    I think we have a way to go before we get that Swagger back … we might be going in the right direction but we need a few more key pieces for sure

  • srdan

    I agree. This offseason feels different to me. At this point in past seasons we were waiting on teh draft to get swagger, and create position competitions. We are in a far more stable situation heading into FA and draft this year.

    Hayward is a field general out there. He holds others accountable. “wake up jarvis”. This role is much understimated on a team. When Dawkins left Philly, Ray left the Ravens and so on it left these teams scrambling for an identity. We have had good defenses since Joey left, but he played that role for us, and Harrison to an extent.

  • srdan

    Yes, it will be tough choosing between Cam and Bell.

  • DrakePirate

    if we could get lucky with a mid round Big, Physical DB and maybe one more success in the draft on Def I think we would almost be there … i wish they would be a little more aggressive in FA .. it looks like we will have plenty of money after cuts and extensions to pick up a decent FA for our defense much like a Farrior/Clark in the past … i say we go for it!

  • David Edward

    Cam is quickly becoming the leader of the defense. This is a good thing because Troy and Timmons were never vocal leaders (Farrior then Foote were that). The smart move would be to lock up Cam to a long-term deal in June (or prior to the season) after the cap space from the Woodley release frees up.

  • SteelerDave

    Cam at DE, Shamarko at safety and yes, I agree Vince has some attitude at ILB but he does not play too much pt because of our packages.

    We do need to draft D players with a reputation for being mean and nasty on the field yet of excellent character off the field and known as great teammates.

  • SteelerDave

    We need another James Farrior. Perhaps OLB Devon Kennard in round 6 – excellent character, excellent community guy. Kennard is also very strong against the run and decent in coverage and pass rushing.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Am I wrong in thinking Spence may be transitioned into a safety with the emergence of Vince Williams? There were rumblings that would happen when he was drafted, but the coaches shot that idea down saying he fit what they intended for an ILB. With Williams playing so well, moving Spence to safety may be an idea worth exploring again. He definitely has the speed, and is a tad undersized (height) for an ILB.

  • Callentown

    Yes!! That’s awesome! (Quote by Stiffler in Old School)


  • David Edward

    They are almost certainly going to have to draft an OLB for depth at some point on day three. I remember Devon’s father Derrick was an OT in the NFL in the 80s-90s. Seems like a good kid who missed all of 2012 due to a pec injury. 5th or 6th round is about where I think they’ll grab an OLB to develop.

  • srdan

    Maybe they see him in the roll that 43 played hte first half of hte season. A safety near the LOS especially in nickle situations. I don’t want to see Spence trying to keep on top of AJ green or Josh Gordon.

  • srdan

    That’s not a prototypical size for a 3/4 NT. But it’s not a prototypical league anymore. I don’t know who that kid is, but the size sounds more like his frame fits the outside of the line.

  • John A Stewart

    WOW a leader gotta love it but one thing I did not like Tomlin’s comment come on killer Cam need you to feed my wife and kid’s. Just like James Harrison said on CBS he’s one of us what a joke.

  • srdan

    The League is changing. This isn’t your fathers NFL anymore. Look around, top FA are leaving those teams that have coaches that rule wtih an iron fist.

  • Rosco

    Some call him iron head after his dad! I like killa’ cam heyward or cam “the hammer” heyward!

  • David Edward

    Seems highly unlikey they would move Spence to safety. Hopefully, he can fully recover enough to even play at the NFL level. Like Srdan says, I can see him playing the cover LB position in the nickel and dime packages. Originally, that was what they drafted him to do. Troy was playing that role for most of this year, and then Garvin some toward the end. I think they are thinking Garvin/Spence for that role again in ’14 with Vince playing in the base.

  • costanza2k1

    I loved it. Being a realist and results oriented

  • Patrick Reid

    He’s actually 6’8′ 370. He is a project. Leverage is horrible. As I have stated repeatedly Nix is our man moving Mac to end.

  • Patrick Reid

    Lee Flowers is a close friend. I have always loved the way he was an inspirational leader on D. Developing a few Lee’s,Joey P’s etc. to the squad is key.

  • Patrick Reid

    Andrew Jackson late in the draft from Western Kentucky is your man.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I said it another thread, but to me, this is the most important extension. They need to lock him up before he is a $7m/year player, Of the extension eligible young players they have, he is the best. They can’t wait until they need to apply the rookie option, which is quite expensive.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Nix is a cross between Ziggy Hood and Alameda Ta’Amu.

    He has great size and strength but he does not anchor well. We saw it in the BCS championship game last year, and various games this year.

    Also, he is limited in his pass rush ability. And he’s coming off a knee injury.

    Plus, we only play base D about half the time. So he wouldn’t even be on the field that much against good passing teams.

    If you want a dominate 1st round D Lineman, go for Rashad Hageman (DE) (Minnesota). At least he would be on the field every down.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    THAT I agree with. A. Jackson is an absolute beast of a man. With a nasty attitude.

  • sean mcmartin


  • alex

    if NT is our first pick, sounds like a trade down for these guys…

  • Bill Wood

    And a cool name!!!!

  • MC


  • Patrick Reid

    Wanted him last year but he changed his mind about coming out. I’m really thinking he could be a late steal.

  • Asmitty56

    Nix is not our man. He’s not even a 1st round talent. First off Nix doesn’t play with very much leverage either, he’s constantly standing up rather than keeping his pads down. He’s not a 3 down player and lacks hardly an pass rushing ability, he’s not a Dontari Poe who is well worth a first round pick. That means he lacks the ability to play on the Steelers defense outside of the base D, in which they hardly play in now. And you have to account for his multiple knee problems.

  • Asmitty56

    Not sure how I feel about McCuller. He’s a player because he’s bigger than everyone else but he lacks a lot of movement ability, you can really only ask him to occupy blockers, but he wont get moved off the ball so he can handle gap responsibilities and shed blockers as long as the ball carrier is with in his reach because he lacks the closing speed to scrap down the line and make a play. If he was a late round pick then maybe.

  • Asmitty56

    Tuitt is also an option. He’s more polished than Hageman but lacks a bit of his athletic up side, but neither are bad players. He can play all over the DL as well.

  • Steve

    Cam signed a 4 yr deal in 2011 with an option for a 5th year.

  • Cody Younkin

    all this guy needed was MORE PLAYING TIME to develop