Tomlin on Ziggy Hood
Head coach Mike Tomlin said today that starting right defensive end Brett Keisel is officially out for Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury.
This is a situation where before the season started, it was widely believed that 2009 1st round pick Ziggy Hood would step into the starting lineup if there was an injury to Aaron Smith or Brett Keisel.
However, that’s not the case as Hood, a second year pro has been disappointing thus far and is having little impact in his second season.
“I need to see more from Ziggy, ” head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Hood had an excellent training camp but his performance in practices never translated to the preseason or now in the regular season.
So far he has been seen as nothing more than a “practice player”.
Tomlin would not commit to Ziggy Hood or Nick Eason starting for Keisel but Eason is the best bet.
Hood has 2 tackles on the season, while Eason has 3 tackles on the year and 1.5 sacks. Eason though has been the more impact player getting pressure to the quarterback and being a more reliable player against the run.
Being a 1st round pick who was a four year player in college, becoming an impact player in his second season was expected from Hood.
With Keisel out for this week, Hood has a good opportunity in front of himself but his biggest obstacle is getting on the playing field over Eason which says a lot for the slow development from Hood.
This is a big week for him.
Right Guard Situation
Trai Essex (ankle) is listed as questionable for this week. Essex went through an individual workout again this morning according to Tomlin and is progressing but his status for this week remains up in the air. He could practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday.
What to watch for is whether Essex gets his starting job back. Two weeks ago offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said that Doug Legursky will likely be the Steelers starting guard for a long time. Today, Tomlin wasn’t ready to anoint Legursky his starting right guard with Essex getting closer to returning.
“First lets see whose healthy, ” Tomlin said when asked about his right guard situation. “We’ll see as the week unfolds.”
Emergence of Timmons not a shock to Tomlin
Lawrence Timmons has been dominant at inside linebacker and Mike Tomlin said today that if Timmons wasn’t injured last year, this is the kind of football people would have seen from him.
Tomlin said he even saw this kind of impact from Timmons going back to 2008 when he was playing primarily in a nickle base.
“What he’s doing right now shouldn’t be a shock, ” Tomlin said. “He’s an emerging, emerging player.”
Timmons leads the Steelers 59 tackles on the season and has been a dynamic playmaker in the middle of the field. To go along with his 59 tackles, Timmons has 3 sacks and 1 interception.
Undecided on Sanders
Tomlin said today that he is undecided on whether Emmanuel Sanders or Antonio Brown will dress this week. “Undecided on that, ” Tomlin said.
However, Sanders will stay in the lineup due to his ability in the passing game. He came up with two big third down conversions against Cleveland.
Brown though is the better returner and one option for the Steelers could be to make Arnaz Battle inactive as Sanders appears reliable as the No. 4 receiver.
For all of the hype that surrounds Battle (2 tackles) in the coverage teams, the Steelers would be fine with out him. He’s not an Anthony Madison by any means.
Brett Keisel (hamstring) – Out
Trai Essex (ankle) – Questionable
Rashard Mendenhall (Left shoulder contusion) – Expected to practice this week
Doug Legursky (MCL Sprain) – Expect to practice this week