Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Heyward To Start Over Ziggy Hood This Sunday


 

Although Cameron Heyward was an enormous question mark at the beginning of the year, the former first round pick has apparently earned the starting nod at the left defensive end position for this Sunday’s game according to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.

Heyward’s play during Pittsburgh’s first four games has been solid, and head coach Mike Tomlin had this to say about the move:

 

He will play more and deservedly so, … He has played really solid. Not taking anything away from Ziggy [Hood], both guys will continue to play. We just want Cam to play more than he has been playing and in order to ensure that we are going to put him in the starting lineup.

 

To his credit, Heyward has had his best season so far for the Steelers. Currently, the former Ohio State Buckeye ranks second on the team in quarterback pressures (nine). In addition, Heyward has also racked up six tackles and batted down two passes during the first quarter of the 2013 regular season.

With Heyward set to start, Ziggy Hood will conversely lose playing time in the process. Now in the final season of his rookie deal, Pittsburgh’s 2009 first round pick will now be forced to fight for his starting gig back over the final 12 games.

If Hood is unable to produce or Heyward finally realizes his potential as a starter, then the cap-strapped Steelers could very well allow the former Missouri Tiger to walk this offseason as a free agent.

Heyward in turn has a golden opportunity to unseat Hood and earn a second contract for himself, so the competition between the two down the stretch should be interesting to watch.

 

 

 

Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.com , Spotrac, and Pro Football Reference

 

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Tags: Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers Ziggy Hood

  • Nick Kelly

    Sadly, there is a decent chance Ziggy Hood comes back for the Steelers next season, with a good shot at the starting spot. Like Ryan Clark, this looks to be Brett Kiesel’s last season as a Steeler, and with Heyward figuring to get the nod, their will be a spot open. Maybe this is filled through the draft, but Ziggy Hood looks to be a Pittsburgh Steeler in future years, by default. Another blown pick by the Steelers in recent years.

    • Dom DiTolla

      I’d rather see them keep Keisel for an extra year, develop Al Woods, Brian Arnfelt, and a 2014 draft pick than spend money on a new deal for Hood.

      How they can justify bringing him back when he lost his starting job to a player who has barely seen the field during his first two years in the form of Heyward makes zero sense.

      They need to make as much future cap space available as possible during the upcoming offseason, and allowing upcoming UFAs like Hood and Sanders will be the best thing for the franchise.