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JensK
11-04-2009, 03:54 AM
Late October is generally not an ideal time to go to a beach north of the Mason-Dixon line.

That didn't stop Ziggy Hood from using the break last week to trek to Atlantic City, N.J., and see the ocean for the first time.

"It's like taking a Deep South kid and taking him somewhere where it snows," said Hood, the Steelers' rookie defensive end who grew up in the panhandle of Texas. "They're intrigued by it. So, I was out there messing with the seashells and just walking along the sand."

Hood also went in the water while in Atlantic City, which is fitting since he may feel like he is swimming against the current at times during another unfamiliar experience.

Hood has had to make the transition from tackle in a 4-3 defense to end in a 3-4 alignment. Progress has come in increments rather than leaps the next tackle Hood makes will be his first one in the NFL but the Steelers have been encouraged by what they have seen from their 2009 first-round draft pick.

"He's a tough guy to block on Wednesdays and Thursdays," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Hood, "which means at some point he's going to be a tough guy to block on Sundays. We'll see when that happens."

Hood is part of the three-man rotation the Steelers use at left defensive end in place of Aaron Smith, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Hood has played sparingly in seven games. The Steelers, however, may have to depend on Hood more with the midway point of the season approaching.

Travis Kirschke, the new starter at left defensive end, is questionable for Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos because of a strained calf. If Kirschke, who also has been playing through chronic back pain, is unable to go in Denver, seventh-year veteran Nick Eason and Hood will get the majority of the snaps at left defensive end.

"He comes in every day with the mindset to get better," Tomlin said of Hood. "He's a very hard and diligent worker."

The biggest adjustment Hood has had to make since joining the Steelers is as much mental as it is physical.

In the Steelers' scheme, defensive ends are required to stand their ground and occupy blockers.

That is a significant change for a player whose motto at the University of Missouri was "tackle the running back on the way to the quarterback."

"Here it's more get your hands on the guy, hold your gap," Hood said. "You've got to hold your point of attack and allow the linebackers to get there."

It may sound simple, but playing end in the Steelers' defense comes with as steep a learning curve as almost any other position. That is why the Steelers prefer to bring young defensive ends, like Hood, along slowly.

"Each game, I'm going to get better," Hood said. "I won't have a breakout game not until two, three years down the line. But I'm going to do what I can to make sure if I'm in (the game), nothing goes wrong."





I know he is not what pretty much all of us wanted from our first pick, and i know that he havnt shown us much yet and, as he said, probably wont for the first 2-3 years, but i really love this guys attitude. Looks like Tomlin is very pleased with him as well so far.

igor0190
11-04-2009, 09:14 AM
I know he is not what pretty much all of us wanted from our first pick, and i know that he havnt shown us much yet and, as he said, probably wont for the first 2-3 years, but i really love this guys attitude. Looks like Tomlin is very pleased with him as well so far.

:cursin: 2-3 years :cursin:
You can't be serious. Better be close to 2 than 3.

BlitzburghRockCity
11-04-2009, 09:15 AM
You can't declare any rookie a boom or bust in the first half of the season. The dude will take time to make the transition, so hopefully with increased playing time now his progress will speed up.

Black@Gold Forever32
11-04-2009, 12:45 PM
I didn't do cartwheels when Hood was drafted since I really wanted the Steelers to draft other players besides Hood.....But I'm all for giving Hood a chance and really hope he make the transition....I havn't seen anything to think he can't make the transition....He has the right attitude that is for sure....I'm rooting for Hood and hope he becomes the next Steelers standout DL......

K Train
11-04-2009, 12:58 PM
i hate evander....if he cant see the field much with smith AND kirschke out....then i lose hope in him that i didnt even have to begin with

BlitzburghRockCity
11-04-2009, 01:00 PM
Kirschke's status is still up in the air right now, as is Timmons' so we don't know for sure on that front, but in any event there's no reason to think that Hood won't get his fair shake at reps. This is his time to stand up and be counted on, he's a first round pick so let's see what he's got.

BlackGold4vr
11-04-2009, 01:09 PM
Our prototypical pro-bowl 3-4 DE had all of 1 tackle and 1 assist his rookie year. Lets not set that bar too high. Hood has 1 assist and needs a single solo tackle to equal Smith's accomplishments as a rookie. 2 tackles would put him ahead of Smiths rookie accomplishments. Just trying to keep things in perspective.

:2cents:

Tyson Jackson who everyone on this site agreed was THE best 3-4 DE player available in this years draft......and has started 7 games. Has 3 tackles and 2 assists through 7 games.

Hood hasn't even played in all our games.

K Train
11-04-2009, 01:16 PM
you can keep in in perspective all you want but i doubt it was decimated by injuries that year, we didnt need smith, and smith wasnt a first round pick.

lets go with a better comparions....richard seymour had 25 tackles, 3 sacks and started 13 games his rookie year. he was a first round pick to be a 34 end....that might be a better comparison.

marcus spears started 10 games, had 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks his rookie year

evander is warming our bench

i am as well just trying to keep things in perspective

DanRooney
11-04-2009, 11:17 PM
you can keep in in perspective all you want but i doubt it was decimated by injuries that year, we didnt need smith, and smith wasnt a first round pick.

lets go with a better comparions....richard seymour had 25 tackles, 3 sacks and started 13 games his rookie year. he was a first round pick to be a 34 end....that might be a better comparison.

marcus spears started 10 games, had 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks his rookie year

evander is warming our bench

i am as well just trying to keep things in perspective

Those guys didn't exactly play for the Steelers, who are always locked and loaded with great starters and solid backups on D. We do this all the time with defensive players, regardless of their positions. Polamalu, Woodley, and Timmons never had many snaps their rookie years.

ejsteeler
11-05-2009, 08:48 AM
Those guys didn't exactly play for the Steelers, who are always locked and loaded with great starters and solid backups on D. We do this all the time with defensive players, regardless of their positions. Polamalu, Woodley, and Timmons never had many snaps their rookie years.

:plus1:
Exactly. Can't compare Raiders/Patriots/Cowboys with our system in a true comparison. You are right in pointing out the injury factor, however.

steelcitysfinestXL
11-05-2009, 11:32 AM
Ktrain has been low on Ziggy since day one! As long as he sticks to his guns (which he does) Ill let Ziggy be the one to prove him wrong! Anyone who knows the Steelers and the 3-4 D WE run, knows not to expect BIG numbers from this position. But i look at a guy like Aaron Smith and say... "hes a probowl caliber player" he may only avg. 4.5 sacks a year but he does his job more than any DE in the league! I think Ziggy can be that guy! But time (and i mean game time) is the only way to find out. I think Ziggy has 2 tackles and atleast 2 qb pressures this week!

Zachintosh66
11-05-2009, 05:30 PM
Hes not progressing fast enuff if Eason has to start...

for christ sake, the browns didnt even wanna keep Eason