Found June 26, 2012 on Bleed Black & Gold:
Baltimore-ravens
The Steelers are going to have an all out battle on their hands at the left defensive end position during training camp.  Fourth year player Ziggy Hood will take on second year player Cameron Heyward for the spot that has been held down by Aaron Smith for so many years.  Both players have high expectations and are willing to put in the work.  This will be a fun battle to watch. I was not sure if this was going to be a battle this year as I thought Heyward would play a spot role behind Brett Keisel and prepare to take his spot next season.  Heyward is more suited for that role and will dominate that position when he gets the chance.  It did not come to my attention that this would happen until Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette made light of it this summer.  These two will compete for that spot and either way the Steelers win.  Neither one of these guys will let this team down. Ziggy Hood is the incumbent at the position so lets start with him.  Hood took over in the past 2 seasons for Aaron Smith each time he went down with injury.  Hood had a very impressive 2010 filling for Smith.  He recorded 20 tackles and 3 sacks.  It was a good first year for Hood as a starter. Hood was held back this season as the Steelers tried to keep Smith on the field until he was injured again.  Hood had more tackles in his second season starting but less splash plays.  His play did not decline but people expected a break out year for Hood when he returned to the lineup and that did not happen. Hood has taken that as motivation and has spent this entire offseason working out hard.  He has posted some videos of himself working out and showing how strong he is.  Hood also dropped his body fat from 24 to 18% and is looking lean and mean.  He dropped 18 pounds of fat and replaced it with 20 pounds of muscle.  Hood is looking good.  He is showing what he is willing to do to give his best for this team. I posted an article a few weeks back about how Hood is under estimated by many around Pittsburgh.  He is playing the way he is expected to be playing.  He takes up blockers and that gives the linebackers lanes to make plays.  He is becoming a five tech.  He is learning his craft.  He is doing what the Steelers need him to do. If Ziggy Hood wins this position over Heyward he will get a chance to show what he can do for a full season.  It will be the first time Hood plays a full 16 games as a starter instead of filling in once someone gets hurt.  That could make a big difference in how Hood is viewed by many.  He will not have to start and stop.  He can just go out and play his game.  Then there is Cameron Heyward.  Heyward played sparingly in his rookie season.  When he did play though he showed some flashes of brilliance.  His play in the preseason showed his strength and his potential for the future.  Heyward is trying to make that future now.  He is not going to wait for Keisel to hang up his cleats, he wants to play this year.  That is a great attitude to have.  Heyward has the entire offseason this year to prepare for this season.  With the lockout last year Heyward was unable to work out with coaches.  He was behind in learning the system and did not get a chance to learn in minicamp or OTAs as there were none.  He was behind the eight ball from the beginning.  That lack of ability to learn cost Heyward as he could have gotten a lot more playing time with the knowledge he lost out on. Now that Heyward can work out with his teammates and can talk to the coaches he is picking more of the defense up and is looking to step up this year.  Heyward was drafted as a 5 tech.  He did not have to learn as much about the position as Hood did as he spent much time playing that technique at Ohio State.  They use a similar version to the Steelers defense from time to time.  It is hard to pick between these two.  They both would be a great fit for the defense.  I think Heyward will be more disruptive in the backfield and as a pass rusher but Hood will help more with the addition of Larry Foote at Buck Linebacker.  He will take up more blockers and make a bigger hole for Foote and Woodley to make plays.  That being said the goal of the five tech is to make the linebackers better while you do the dirty work.  I think Heyward will have to wait one more year.  Hood has already played the position and he did well.  With the new body image and his work ethic I believe Hood will win this job even though it will be close.  Heyward will be a rotational player who can play either side and can help spell both of these guys to keep the line fresh.  That is the best option for this team. Left Defensive End Ziggy Hood
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Kelvin Beachum Has Impressed Kevin Colbert With His Versatility & Intelligence

We have heard Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin utter the statement, "The more that you can do, the more that you can do," more than once over the years. When it comes to seventh round draft pick Kelvin Beachum, he is doing just that. Beachum has shown his versatility ever since the Steelers drafted him and recently received accolades from General Manager Kevin...

Butler Likes His Chances Of Beating Out Kapinos For The Steelers Punting Job

Undrafted free agent punter Drew Butler likes his chances of beating out Jeremy Kapinos in training camp and he said as much in an interview last week on 680 The Fan. Butler of course is the son of former Chicago Bears kicker Kevin Butler, who kicked for 13 seasons in the NFL. Drew, like his dad, played at the University of Georgia, where he won the Ray Guy Award in 2009. Butler...

Lawrence Timmons Drop-off Last Season Merely An Aberration Due To Circumstances

The post on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons by Jeremy Hritz from earlier this morning warrants an even deeper look at the drop-off the former first round draft pick had last season. Timmons finished tied for 50th in the league in 2011 with 93 combined tackles after finishing 8th in 2010 with 135. The obvious reason that his tackle numbers dropped off last year was...

Steelers’ Harrison, Keisel were ‘packing heat’ in Mexico

Recently, Pittsburgh Steelers grizzled defensive end Brett Keisel joined WDVE’s morning show to discuss his trip to Mexico City for a youth camp and Steelers fan camp, which took place over the weekend. Among those who joined ‘The Beard’ was star linebacker James Harrison, arguably the most notable (and outspoken) Steeler to make it south of the border. Although giddy to begin...

2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Running Backs

Today we continue on with our look at the training camp roster battles for the Pittsburgh Steelers by looking at the running back position. The two things we know for sure right now is that Isaac Redman is the starter and that Rashard Mendenhall is all but guaranteed to open the 2012 season on the PUP list, where he will not count against the 53 man roster. In all likelihood the...

My Pittsburgh Steelers Dream 53 Man Roster (Not a Predicition)

With rookie camps in the books and all 32 NFL teams preparing for full blown training camps, it is time to take a look at the roster of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. What I am going to offer is not a prediction of the final 53 man roster like some have done, but my ideal 53 man roster I’d love to see including who I’d place on the practice squad. Quarterbacks(3) Ben Roethlisberger...

James Harrison had no idea he was headed to Mexico City

Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison thought he was heading down to New Mexico for a youth football camp.  Then his teammate Brett Kiesel who’s joining him,  cleared things up and let him know that he would in fact be going to Mexico City, Mexico.  He told the story on WDVE-FM (via NFL.com). “James sends me a text, like, before we agreed to do this...

Steelers futures prospect quarteback Jerrod Johnson could surprise in training camp

When Pittsburgh Steelers fans look around the AFC North, they see a division full of teams with starting quarterbacks that are younger than the top three signal callers on the teams roster are. While this may be a good thing for 2012 as the Steelers look to compete for a Super Bowl, but there is definitely a need to find a young developmental quarterback.With Ben Roethlisberger,...

Ike Taylor believes Mike Wallace will show up for camp

Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he believes that his teammate, wide receiver Mike Wallace will show up for training camp. “He’s going to be there (training camp),” Taylor told Albert Buford of The Times-Picayune on Saturday. “They’ll get it done. When you talk about that kind of money, it’s not an overnight...

Brad v. Ben; A look at their first eight years, Part Two

This is Part Two in my comparison of Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger through the first eight seasons of their respective careers. Be sure to check out Part One which covered their playoff and Super Bowl numbers. In Part Two, I’m looking at not just the the regular season numbers for the two stars but also the intangibles as I did in Part...

Steelers release Heisman winner Troy Smith

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released veteran quarterback Troy Smith, a former Ohio State star who won the 2006 Heisman Trophy. Smith signed with the Steelers earlier this year. He has also spent time with the Omaha Nighthawks (2011) of the United Football League, the San Francisco 49ers (2010) and the Baltimore Ravens (2007-2009). The Ravens drafted him in the fifth round (174th...

Steelers release QB Smith

The Steelers released veteran quarterback Troy Smith, the team announced via its official Twitter feed. Smith had been listed fifth on the Steelers' QB depth chart behind Jerrod Johnson, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger. Smith was a fifth-round pick from Ohio State and spent three seasons with the Ravens before joining the San Francisco 49ers in 2010.

Brad v. Ben; A look at their first eight years, Part One

One of the time-honored traditions in sports is that of the comparison between two great players. Most of the time, we already have a preconceived notion of who we believe is the better based solely on a couple of key statistics or key wins. For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the inevitable debate would surround the two greatest quarterbacks in the team’s history. One, now retired...

Pittsburgh Steelers cut former Heisman winner Troy Smith

                        In another shining example that playing in the NFL and owning a Heisman trophy doesn’t mean squat, the Pittsburgh Steelers have released 2006 Heisman winner QB Troy Smith. This was Smith’s second NFL team since being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. He also played for the 49ers and most recently the UFL’s...
Steelers 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!

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.