Originally written on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 6/5/12

Steelers Defensive End takes a lot of heat for his performance in the Steelers defense.  He gets compared to Aaron Smith and no one likes the fact that he does not put up the numbers that Smith put up.  Hood is not Smith and nor will he ever be.  Smith was the perfect 5 tech defensive end.  He ate up blockers and still made his way to the QB.  The man had an outstanding all around game.  He is a once in a generation player.  Smith is the best 3-4 defensive end of his era.  You can not be mad at Hood for not being that guy.

While Hood is not Smith he has played above average as defensive end.  He is just now finishing his third year in the position.  He had to transition to the position and we have all heard over and over how people need 3  years to be comfortable.  Hood seemed to get comfortable this season.  He may have made fewer plays for the team but he also took up more blockers.  He made holes for his teammates and gave them the ability to make plays.  He opened up to the fact that his role is not to be the splash player.

Hood did not get to start right away.  Aaron Smith was the starter at the beginning of last season.  Smith while a legend was one of the reasons that the defense struggled early.  Smith was being pushed all over the field.  His age and his injuries held him back.  Smith was not the same guy that he used to be.  Smith was allowed to stay in even though he was not effective.  Hood would have spent the entire year on the bench if Smith would not have been injured.  The Steelers defense would have struggled right a long with him.

With Hood taking to his role different aspects of the Steelers defense improved.  Hood’s strength helped the Steelers run defense improve.  The Steelers were giving up 4.78 yards per carry and 119.5 yards per game with Smith in to 3.74 yards per carry and 93.25 yards per game.  That is over 1 yard less per rush once Hood entered the game.  That yards per game average would have given the Steelers the 3rd best rush defense in the NFL.

The Steelers also gave up 2 100 yard rushers in the first four games.  In the last 12 they only gave up one.  That was in a blow out win over the Rams.  Stephen Jackson worked his way over 100 yards in that game.  The defense really improved against the run with Hood on the field.  Smith just could not hold up anymore.  It was sad but it was easy to see.

Another person who can attest to Hood’s on field play was LaMarr Woodley.  Woodley started off the season slow in the statistical categories.  In the first four games Woodley only had 1.5 sacks.  He was spending much of his time working against the run before being able to pass rush.  He was covering for Smith.  He was unable to play his true game.  He could not really rush the passer the way he wanted to.  He had to make sure it was not a run before he could head towards the QB.  It caused him to struggle.

When Hood came in the game Woodley had a player that he knew could hold up against the run.  It gave Woodley the ability to do what he does best.  Crush the quarterback.  Before his injury Woodley played 4 games with Hood.  During that time Woodley had 7.5 sacks.  He had at least 1.5 in each game.  Woodley was a ball of fire.  He was a different player when Hood was in the game.  Woodley was on the way to a possible Defensive Player of the Year before he got hurt.

So while Hood may not be the best 5 tech in the league.  He may not be Aaron Smith.  His value is being taken for granted.  Hood can play and he is doing his job.  He is making it easy for others to make plays.  He will continue to progress and we will be better for it.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

One pitch away: Carrasco loses no-hitter in bottom of the 9th

England loses World Cup semifinal to Japan in heartbreaking fashion

Braxton Miller had 'successful' check-up visit

Raptors signing Carroll is shrewdest move of free agency

Report: Los Angeles Clippers will sign Paul Pierce

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

With Kevin Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Aldridge crosses Lakers off list, did not mesh well with Kobe

Jerry Dipoto officially steps down as Angels GM

Report: Rajon Rondo wants 'all of' Kings' $10M cap space

Reports: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson returning to Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Heat reportedly progressing in contract talks

David West explains why he opted out of Pacers contract

Warriors, Draymond Green agree to 5-year, $85 million deal

Twins call up top prospect Miguel Sano

Robert Griffin III speaks at UN to advocate for protecting oceans

Cavaliers re-sign Iman Shumpert to four-year contract

Mike Green is joining the Red Wings on a three-year deal

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans until 2020

ESPN denies censoring Keith Olbermann commentary

The best and worst MLB players in the month of June

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on Aldridge

Danny Green takes the Andre Iguodala path

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.