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Vis
08-27-2012, 06:44 AM
Steelers’ Hood finding his groove

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — For years, the Steelers relied on the old guard, a sentry of salty defensive linemen — Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith.


But time, age and injuries have ushered in a new era. The Steelers are transitioning, if reluctantly, to a younger defensive front.


In the past, the old guard would brush off talk of being replaced. Now they are accepting their roles as mentors to a young corps of linemen, including defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward and nose tackle Steve McLendon.


No one, it seems, learns faster than Hood.


Hood was clearly the most dominant linemen on either side of the ball as the Steelers thumped the Buffalo Bills, 38-7, at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Saturday night. The fourth-year lineman helped disrupt Buffalo’s blocking schemes and forced quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Vince Young to flee the pocket.



“The longer I play, the more I can produce,” said Hood, who spent much of the offseason working on strength and conditioning. “I don’t want to keep coming off the field to take a blow.”


Hood, with Keisel sidelined with a high left ankle sprain, didn’t let up on the Bills. He was at full throttle from start to finish.


“Once we got comfortable, we played fast and comfortable,” McLendon said. “We pushed each other real hard, and Ziggy brought his A game like he has all preseason.”


Hood, though, wasn’t nearly as impressed with his performance.


“It was far from my A game,” Hood said pointedly. “I still have a lot of things to clean up. It was an OK game for me.”


Hood was far more impressive than the stat sheet tally: three tackles, a fumble recovery, a pass defended and a quarterback hit. More importantly, Hood controlled the line of scrimmage by attracting two, sometimes three, blockers.


“That’s what we do because we have to help each other out,” Hood said. “If we hold our point of attack, we can buy the cornerbacks a little more time to get their spots, and everything takes care of itself.”


Cornerback Ike Taylor said he doesn’t pay attention to what goes on up front. Yet he admitted Hood and the defensive line made life relatively easy for the secondary, which surrendered only 192 yards passing as Fitzpatrick and Vince Young were a combined 19 of 44.


“We feel like when we are on the same page, all 11 guys, we are hard to stop,” Taylor said. “(Hood) made a couple of plays, and I think that helped turn things around.”


The shift in momentum came when safety Troy Polamalu intercepted Young. Then, rookie free-agent Robert Golden swiped a Young pass to set up a Byron Leftwich 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Derrick Williams that gave the Steelers a 28-7 advantage.



“Basically, we were trying to get the QBs off their timing,” Hood said. “We don’t have to get sacks, but we have to free up our linebackers and cornerbacks to make plays.”



http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2480289-85/hood-defensive-steelers-tackles-game-ziggy-bills-buffalo-fitzpatrick-front

Bayz101
08-27-2012, 06:48 AM
A positive story? I couldn't find anything negative from his on-field performances. Dude is a BEAST. Our defensive line is going to be something to reckoned with.

Vis
08-27-2012, 06:49 AM
A positive story? I couldn't find anything negative from his on-field performances. Dude is a BEAST. Our defensive line is going to be something to reckoned with.

A positive story for the team as a whole. Wonder if he can play OG

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-27-2012, 11:09 AM
Who is gonna make that last DE spot?? Bryant or Woods?

Neither is a Beast ...........yet.

Fire Arians
08-27-2012, 11:58 AM
A positive story for the team as a whole. Wonder if he can play OG

we should send all our linemen to that conditioning camp he was at on the offseason haha

Steelersfan87
08-27-2012, 05:11 PM
Who is gonna make that last DE spot?? Bryant or Woods?

Neither is a Beast ...........yet.

I'm pulling for Woods, partly because of Bryant's practice squad eligibility, but also because I believe he's outperformed Bryant.

tony hipchest
08-27-2012, 09:35 PM
Who is gonna make that last DE spot?? Bryant or Woods?

Neither is a Beast ...........yet.its a good problem to have-

By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Aug 27, 2012



BATTLE ROYALE

Perhaps the Steelers’ best roster battle is being waged on the defensive line between ends Corbin Bryant and Al Woods.

In his five previous seasons, Tomlin kept six defensive linemen in 2007 and 2010, and seven defensive linemen the other three seasons.

If Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon, Casey Hampton, Cameron Heyward and fourth-round pick Alameda Ta’amu all make the team, as expected, Bryant and Woods are fighting for a seventh spot. And they’re playing so well Tomlin could justify keeping eight.

“I definitely feel a lot more confident than last year,” said Bryant, who spent last season on the practice squad and was even one the active roster for a week.

“I feel I’ve gotten a lot stronger, got a better understanding of the scheme, and so of course I’m going to play a lot better,” he said.

Weighing the same 305 he did two years ago at Northwestern, Bryant is a bit more active than Woods with four tackles, a sack and two QB hits this preseason. Bryant entered the last game early in the third quarter. Woods entered the last game one series later than Bryant, and on the second snap Woods sacked Vince Young – although it was wiped out by a preferred offensive holding penalty.

For the preseason, Woods has one quarterback hit and an interception that he nearly returned for a touchdown.

“This year I just feel like I’m better in a lot more areas,” said Woods, a third-year vet who has never made a team out of training camp. He has taken regular-season snaps with both Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

“I feel I’ve got a great grasp of the playbook,” he said. “When I get out there I’m feeling really confident. I’m not second-guessing myself when they call a certain play. So I feel I can just go out there and show them what I can do.”



http://burgh.us/fth