Steelers’ Offensive Line Will Battle A Familiar Face Monday Night In Washington

When the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line takes the field Monday night in the team’s 2016 regular season opener against the Washington Redskins, four of those players surely won’t have to introduce themselves to one of the defensive ends on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

In case you haven’t heard by now, former Steelers first-round draft pick Ziggy Hood is expected to start at left defensive end Monday night for the Redskins after winning the job during training camp.

“Once we got the pads on him was really when he stood out,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Hood recently, according to Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. “The 1-on-1 drills, the team drills, he was in the backfield being very disruptive. It was a consistent thing. It wasn’t like one day he did well and the next day he didn’t do anything. He was consistently a nuisance and a problem for our offense.”

Hood, who signed a futures contract with the Redskins this past February, last started a game in the NFL in 2013 as a member of the Steelers. Since being allowed to leave Pittsburgh as an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of that season, Hood has since played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.

Just over one full year ago, Hood tore the plantar fascia in his left foot during the Jaguars preseason finale and while he quickly overcame that injury after being placed on Jacksonville’s Reserve/Injured list, he couldn’t manage to stick with Bears, who had quickly signed him following his October release from the team that had signed him to a four-year contract in March of 2014.

“I never really had to deal with an injury that serious before,” Hood said nearly a month ago, according to Anthony Gulizia of The Washington Times. “They told me I wasn’t going to be doing anything for eight or nine weeks. I was squatting 315 [pounds] at three weeks. I’m Texas Tough. That’s how we’re born and raised.”

While Hood failed to receive a second contract in Pittsburgh, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin still speaks very highly of the defensive end.

“Ziggy was always a hard-working professional, so it’s no surprise to me that he’s still sustaining himself and being helpful to a football team,” Tomlin said on a conference call Wednesday. “He’s always had a good natural get-off. He’s always working at his craft. He realizes that as a professional, detail is an element of it, and when he was with us that was always his approach to getting better.”

Monday night in Washington, expect the Steelers to try and run right at Hood early and often during the game with guard David DeCastro likely leading the way. DeCastro, who like Hood was also drafted in the first round by the Steelers, should know Hood very well being as the two practiced against one another for two years in Pittsburgh.

Hood enters the Monday night game against his former team with 12.5 career sacks and only one of them was registered since he left Pittsburgh. In short, while Hood should be applauded for being able to rejuvenate his career after so many thought he was done, the Steelers offensive line will be expected to keep his impact on Monday night’s game at a minimum.

  • Steelers12

    average player while here

  • Maureen A Gomes

    I personally like Ziggy. Better fit in a 4-3 scheme. He was and still is a beast in the weight room like JH. Hard worker. Played behind Aaron Smith & Keisel so playing time was limited. Strong character both on & off the field. He recently did an interview with Tim Benz where he spoke highly of the Steelers and put the blame on himself for not developing quickly enough.

  • LucasY59

    I thought he would be a good depth player, and still think he has enough versatility to backup across the DL, but also understand sticking with Walton/Lyons as a young developmental guy

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I thought he was better than average but not the dominant force I was hoping for. Hopefully, he does not wreak any havoc Monday night. Still have him at #176 on my 500 all-time Steelers list.

  • Steelers12

    just wondering who is 175 and 177

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Agreed, he was a little miscast here but I’d take him over Walton and Lyons etc.

  • dennisdoubleday

    I don’t think Gilbert/DeCastro will be too troubled by Ziggy.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    He was a 4-3 end trying to be a 3-4 end. Square hole, round peg.

  • dany

    true but seems like he’s been pidgeonholed into that as washington runs a 3-4 too. Maybe he’s gotten better>

  • 20Stoney

    Maybe he’s finally living up to the hype. Remember when he was in his first training camp they were comparing him favorably to Aaron Smith? Or maybe you can’t believe what people say in training camp.

  • Steelers12

    training camp hype must be taken with a grain of salt

  • The Notorious TOM

    I’ll always love Ziggy. As hard a worker as you’ll find and never caused us any trouble.

    Fairly solid player too, not a superstar, but definitely solid.

  • MC

    I dont’ think anyone is worried about Hood.

  • ObiRynDenobi

    If he brought one tenth of the intensity he brings to the weight room with him out onto to the football field, Ziggy Hood would be a perennial All-Pro.

  • Applebite

    Hood is a good player, he was just…a tweener trying to get over the hump(?). It wasn’t as if he wasn’t trying his best. Might have been a better OLB, who knows…