PDA

View Full Version : Steelers have to change recipe with Smith out



fordfixer
10-18-2009, 03:18 AM
Steelers have to change recipe with Smith out

By: Mike Bires -
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... h-out.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1424/2009/october/18/steelers-have-to-change-recipe-with-smith-out.html)

Sunday October 18, 2009 12:08 AM


To explain Ziggy Hood’s minimal contributions as a rookie, coach Mike Tomlin used a metaphor with a culinary twist. “He’s not out of the oven yet,” Tomlin said of the Steelers’ first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Hood agrees. “I am still cooking,” he said. “I’ve been in the oven ever since I got here.”

Starting today, the oven gets hotter for Hood as he continues his transition from defensive tackle at Missouri to defensive end for the Steelers.

With left end Aaron Smith done for the year with a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, Hood will play more than he has in the first five games. And when he does play, Hood will be asked to do something productive.

That’s something he has yet to do.

He has yet to make a tackle as a pro.

He has nothing to show yet for the five-year, $11.3 million contract he signed in late July that included a $6 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.1 million this season.

“I can only do so much right now. There’s still a lot I got to learn,” Hood said. “There’s a lot more I need to know about the defense and how it works and getting my technique down.”

Tomlin said as much at his weekly press conference Tuesday when asked if there was any chance that Hood might be able to start in Smith’s place.

“By no means is Ziggy Hood a potential replacement for Aaron Smith at this point,” Tomlin said emphatically.

In time, Hood will be a starter. For now, though, 13-year veteran Travis Kirschke will take over for Smith. But because the Steelers like to rotate their defensive linemen whenever possible, Hood figures to get more snaps. He and Nick Eason will back up Kirschke and right D-end Brett Keisel.

Hood, who’s only 22, said he averaged “two or three” snaps in each of the first four games. But he did play 16 downs in last week’s 28-20 win in Detroit when Smith’s throbbing shoulder forced him to the sideline.

With Kirschke’s number of snaps the rest of the season dependent on how his chronically sore back holds up, it figures that Hood will get as many as 15 snaps a game starting today when the Steelers host the Cleveland Browns.

Maybe more playing time is just what Hood needs to heat up his progress.

“It’s time for him to step in and show everybody why they drafted him so high,” linebacker James Farrior said.

“More snaps will definitely help,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “Ziggy needs work on everything. But we’ve seen nothing to deter us from thinking we have a potentially very solid football player. I see him getting better every day. He’s working hard to get there.

“It’s tough losing Aaron, but it will give Ziggy more snaps, and in that respect, it will be a good thing for that young man.”

In other words, the Steelers hope that Ziggy Hood will soon be getting out of the oven.

Mike Bires can be reached at mbires@timesonline.com

Discipline of Steel
10-18-2009, 08:38 AM
Intuitively, I see Zigs contributing more on passing downs and EXPECT to see some sack production from him in that regard. However, I can also easily see him out of position on run downs and that is most certainly where ASmith excelled.

Division of Labor = Kirshcke on run downs (which we likely see a lot of today at first) and Zigs on pass downs (which hopefully we see more of toward the end of the second half). Im not sure where Eason fits in except not that often...

phillyesq
10-18-2009, 11:07 AM
Intuitively, I see Zigs contributing more on passing downs and EXPECT to see some sack production from him in that regard. However, I can also easily see him out of position on run downs and that is most certainly where ASmith excelled.

Division of Labor = Kirshcke on run downs (which we likely see a lot of today at first) and Zigs on pass downs (which hopefully we see more of toward the end of the second half). Im not sure where Eason fits in except not that often...

I agree that rotating Hood in more passing situations could make sense.

I think that Eason is going to factor in more than many may think. He played much better last year, and while he is not great, he has developed into a solid reserve.

stlrz d
10-18-2009, 11:18 AM
Intuitively, I see Zigs contributing more on passing downs and EXPECT to see some sack production from him in that regard. However, I can also easily see him out of position on run downs and that is most certainly where ASmith excelled.

Division of Labor = Kirshcke on run downs (which we likely see a lot of today at first) and Zigs on pass downs (which hopefully we see more of toward the end of the second half). Im not sure where Eason fits in except not that often...

I agree that rotating Hood in more passing situations could make sense.

I think that Eason is going to factor in more than many may think. He played much better last year, and while he is not great, he has developed into a solid reserve.

I was worried about losing Eason when he was waived to activate Eye Sack Red Man.

phillyesq
10-18-2009, 11:53 AM
I was worried about losing Eason when he was waived to activate Eye Sack Red Man.

That really shows how far Eason has come. Two years ago, most of us (I certainly include myself) wanted to run him out of town.

Zigs
10-18-2009, 12:11 PM
Intuitively, I see Zigs contributing more on passing downs and EXPECT to see some sack production from him in that regard.

Thanks for the vote of confidence DOS..... but I get plenty of production from my sack already!!! :lol: