View Full Version : Steelers defensive linemen learning on go

09-26-2011, 08:54 AM
Steelers defensive linemen learning on go
By Ralph N. Paulk (rpaulk@tribweb.com), PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 26, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS At some point, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin must come to grips with the inescapable reality that his aging defensive ends, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel, aren't the impact players they once were.

It could be argued that Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert began looking toward the future two years ago when the Steelers plucked Ziggy Hood off the draft board with the 32nd overall selection. Then, with the 31st pick this year, the Steelers opted for Cameron Heyward.

Hood and Heyward appeared worthy of the Steelers' first-round investments even as the Steelers struggled Sunday night against the surprisingly stubborn Indianapolis Colts en route to a 23-20 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Hood, who started for the ailing Keisel, went most of the way with Heyward pitching in relief. Together, they were more than adequate against the run.

More importantly, they often frustrated Indianapolis quarterback Kerry Collins, who suffered a concussion in the second half and was replaced by Curtis Painter early in the fourth quarter.

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau didn't panic when Keisel was shelved with a sprained knee last week. But his pulse probably sped up having Hood, in his third year, backed up by a rookie who spent much of his career at Ohio State playing defensive tackle.

For Hood, this was a pivotal game. He had to prove he could be as effective against the run as he is rushing the passer as he did in swatting down Collins on a third-down throw that fell well short of his target on the Colts' first possession.

"I had a good week of practice, and it showed on the field," Hood said. "They came out in the second half and ran the ball on us, but we held strong at the end. We made some mistakes not catching them cutting on the backside, and I was late on a couple of plays."

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09-26-2011, 08:59 AM
The time for Aaron Smith to sit is now. He needs to be the relief. Both him and Farrior are killing me. Cam Heyward looked strong at the point of contact. I'll have to look at the game again but #97 seemed to stand out.

09-26-2011, 09:17 AM
What the hell did Ziggy have to prove? He started the entire second half of the season last year with great results. He should have started from game one on this year. Tomlin's love affair with Smith needs to end!

09-26-2011, 09:29 AM
Hood and Hayward on the field at the some time more often.

Brett Cottrell
09-26-2011, 09:55 AM
It was sad to see Smith getting pushed around on the line...Sorry Aaron, it's Ziggy's time. Maybe they can switch Smith to offensive tackle. I mean really, can he be any worse than last night's debacle?

09-26-2011, 09:56 AM
Ziggy has ZERO to prove after last year. He should be starting and we shouldnt be wasting 6mill on Smith, he shouldve been cut.

Boy could we have used a blind side lineman with that money. Now we have huge oline problems and no money.

09-26-2011, 11:11 AM
Now all we need is McClendon in for BigSnack, . . . and I'll be happy.

09-26-2011, 07:52 PM
The time for Aaron Smith to sit is now.

Uuuuhhhh, not with Keisel out.

09-26-2011, 09:35 PM
Now all we need is McClendon in for BigSnack, . . . and I'll be happy.

What??? Hampton is playing better then any of our D lineman right now. He's been neutralized in a lot of chop blocks that are for some reason legal, but there's nothing a NT can do about that.

09-27-2011, 02:49 AM
Hampton is slow and overpaid...He is just ok now..