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mesaSteeler
06-17-2009, 11:55 PM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_629989.html#

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers' Tomlin addresses weighty issue

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, June 18, 2009

As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin delivered a not-so-subtle conditioning message to his players at the end of voluntary practices last week, one of his intended targets was nose tackle Casey Hampton, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Tomlin also praised defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, the team's first-round pick.

At the start of training camp last year, Tomlin held Hampton out for the first week, when he failed to complete a conditioning run. When asked if Hampton is in better shape this year, Tomlin didn't exactly give Hampton a ringing endorsement.

"I'm always in a wait-and-see position (with Hampton)," Tomlin said.

When it came to Hood, a 4-3 defensive tackle at Missouri who is learning to play 3-4 defensive end, Tomlin had plenty of good things to say.

"The one thing that stands out about (Hood) is him running to the football," Tomlin said. "He covers a lot of ground for a big man. It's unique for his position.''

According to Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell, end is more difficult to learn than nose tackle.

Hood, though, has an advantage in that he is a natural one-gap defensive tackle, the type the coaching staff prefers (Hampton is a natural two-gap.).

One-gap nose tackles are counted on to attack and shoot the gap between the center and guard and make plays in the backfield. Two-gap nose tackles are expected to read and tie-up multiple offensive linemen, thereby allowing linebackers to make plays.

Perhaps Tomlin's comments regarding Hampton's conditioning is a signal that Hood could receive playing time at nose tackle early in his rookie year.

Also, the Steelers have veteran backup Chris Hoke, who started three games last season, when Hampton was injured, and rookie Ra'Shon Harris, a sixth-round pick out of Oregon.

For the moment, at least, Hood will play outside.

"I just know defensive end right now," Hood said. "That's what I'm working on. My goal is to focus on my job, not on anything else. If they move me to nose tackle, I'll have to pick up even more. With me playing end, I kind of know what the nose is doing.

"I've got great teachers, especially with Hoke and Big Hamp. With those guys teaching me, I'll be able to adjust to anything.

"I'll just have to be able to put more weight on, plus become a better player at that position if they decide to move me. Not to say I'm going to develop as much as Casey, but I'll probably be a little quicker. Maybe on passing downs, I can come in and aid them a little bit."

Like Tomlin, Mitchell addressed Hampton's conditioning issues after the Steelers drafted Hood in the first round.

"Casey, I think he was embarrassed when he came back (to training camp last summer) with the weight situation," Mitchell said.

If Tomlin doesn't think Hampton's conditioning is where it needs to be at camp, Mitchell sounded like he believes Hood - the first defensive lineman taken by the Steelers in the first round since Hampton in 2001 - can play defensive end and nose tackle.

"He is not going to have any problem learning our scheme because we ask our defensive ends to do a lot," Mitchell said. "It is easy to play nose tackle because we do a lot of things with them, but it is simple."

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Galax Steeler
06-18-2009, 03:35 AM
Nice read. I am starting to like Hood more and more. He should be a good player for us and who knows he might see some playing time this year.

mulldog24
06-18-2009, 10:03 AM
It's good to know that Hood is versitile enough to play all of the positions on the D-line in case of injury.I hope "snaks" gets his weight under control but he will be great anyway.

revefsreleets
06-18-2009, 11:04 AM
I think this is really a not-so-subtle message to Hampton that not only had he better get in shape, but also that we may be grooming his replacement for next year.

MasterOfPuppets
06-18-2009, 11:54 AM
i'd have thought after last years problem, hampton woulda realized that the extra blubber wasn't gonna fly with tomlin. dude should make an effort to avoid the buffets starting in about febuary.

TackleMeBen
06-18-2009, 01:26 PM
he should know coach tomlin isnt playing when he benched him last yr at training camp. if he wants to keep his job, i suggest he does what the coach ask.

The Definiti0n
06-18-2009, 03:07 PM
Hampton may be over weight but I never seen that effect his production on the field. He has been in the top 3 at his position since he came into the league.

steelreserve
06-18-2009, 03:23 PM
That's downright awesome if Hood can play NT as well as DE. That would take a LOT of pressure off of us in terms of who we draft as eventual replacements on the D-line.

Much better to have the choice of picking a DT or a DE instead of being forced into one or the other.

AllD
06-18-2009, 03:27 PM
All you have to do is tell Big Snack that the football is now made into a deep fried chocolate donut.

RoethlisBURGHer
06-18-2009, 03:30 PM
Hood is going to be a helluva football player.

As far as Hampton, I don't think he's having weight issues right now, but that can quickly change now that OTA's are over and guys are out of the coaching staff's sight.

I think this is just a reminder to Hampton to mix some salads in with his meals.

wezx
06-18-2009, 04:20 PM
Hood seems like a class guy from the quotes I've read from him.

wezx
06-18-2009, 04:21 PM
TacklemeBen - LOVE your Roethlisvader banner...great!

Dino 6 Rings
06-18-2009, 04:27 PM
Just a warning message being shot toward Hampton...don't do like last year buddy.

Vis
06-18-2009, 04:31 PM
There won't be a new contract.

Steel_Bus_24
06-18-2009, 04:32 PM
Big Snack best be ready to get lit up by Tomlin again if he doesn't come into camp fit

Please Tomlin...don't let them fall into any sense of complacency

steelerchad
06-18-2009, 04:44 PM
I don't know if Hampton is or isn't in shape right now. But to say it hasn't affected his play because he is in the top 3 statistically, may not be correct.
I think we need to ask the question, how good could this guy be if he was in shape? Could he be number 1 instead of top 3? Could he be one of the best of all time? A hall of famer?

These guys get paid big money to do a job. Their job is to play the game of football at the highest level. The job is extremely physical and common sense would tell you that being in shape would probably make the job easier and better production would follow.

I understand he's a big man and size is important also, but he showed up last year more than 30 lbs overweight. He packed on more than 30 lbs in less than 6 months last year. That's tough to do if you never get off the couch and just eat the entire time.

Hope he reports to camp in shape.

LVSteelersfan
06-18-2009, 11:31 PM
Hampton better have his act together because Tomlin does not suffer fools gladly. If he is grossly overweight again this year, Tomlin may drop the hammer on him big time.

JackHammer
06-19-2009, 12:40 AM
I think this is really a not-so-subtle message to Hampton that not only had he better get in shape, but also that we may be grooming his replacement for next year.

i'd have thought after last years problem, hampton woulda realized that the extra blubber wasn't gonna fly with tomlin. dude should make an effort to avoid the buffets starting in about febuary.

he should know coach tomlin isnt playing when he benched him last yr at training camp. if he wants to keep his job, i suggest he does what the coach ask.

All this because Tomlin said:

"I'm always in a wait-and-see position (with Hampton),"

I'm not ready to lose faith in Big Snack, especially because of that one little sentence from Tomlin. This is just a well placed preemptive strike to make sure last years problem doesn't become this years problem.

revefsreleets
06-19-2009, 09:50 AM
No, it's more than that. Hampton will probably try to overstate his case and hold the Steelers hostage for a Kings ransom in salary. This is a warning shot across the bow that we will have other options in place.

I sincerely doubt that Hampton stays a Steeler. Someone will dramatically overpay him for his last few golden years in the NFL. My guess is the Jets.

fansince'76
06-19-2009, 10:13 AM
All you have to do is tell Big Snack that the football is now made into a deep fried chocolate donut.

NO - he might eat it! :laughing:

CanadianSteel
06-19-2009, 10:14 AM
There aree always questions when guys pack on 30 lbs in the off season ?
...Maybe Snack should get off the roids :chuckle:

JackHammer
06-19-2009, 04:55 PM
No, it's more than that. Hampton will probably try to overstate his case and hold the Steelers hostage for a Kings ransom in salary. This is a warning shot across the bow that we will have other options in place.

I sincerely doubt that Hampton stays a Steeler. Someone will dramatically overpay him for his last few golden years in the NFL. My guess is the Jets.

I don't see it like that at all. We're the Steelers. The players are well aware of how we operate. If Hampton would try to hold us hostage in contract negotiations, we'd just cut him loose and use what we have to replace him. On top of that, Hampton knows he's replaceable because Hoke has already replaced him before. He doesn't need a warning shot across the bow to know that. IMO the only real warning shot would have been if we drafted his replacement. A one gap DT, who's true role in the 3-4 is at DE, is not the kind of player you draft to replace a nose whose sole job is to occupy offensive linemen.

I'm not gonna try to guess whether or not he stays after this season. I will say that if he gets overpaid elsewhere, it won't be by much. He doesn't have the numbers, he's on the wrong side of 30, and NG isn't generally overpaid like DE's and O-linemen who are on the QB's blindside are. If anything, I like our chances at keeping him for the right price, but who knows.

MongoSteeler
06-20-2009, 04:28 AM
Do the name Albert Hanesworth and 100 million mean anything to ya
?