Cameron Heyward got here to the Pittsburgh Steelers because the thirty first total NFL draft choice in 2011. At age 22, Heyward was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rookie along with his entire skilled soccer profession in entrance of him.
Now 32, Heyward may not be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed anymore, however he’s even hungrier than he was as a rookie.
Few individuals are as comfortable as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin with Heyward’s aggressive urge for food, particularly on condition that he’s an outdated man now — in soccer years, that’s.
What’s it that permits Heyward to proceed taking part in at an elite stage 11 seasons into his profession?
“I don’t know. I’m gonna proceed to joke about Cam’s age,” Tomlin mentioned with a smile throughout his September 14 press conference.
“We’re all motivated in numerous methods. Cam is a type of guys that’s at all times in search of causes to stand up within the face of one thing,” mentioned Tomlin. “You throw his age in his face, and regardless that he is aware of what you’re doing, he has to reply. That’s the competitor that man is.”
“Please preserve speaking about [his age],” Tomlin continued. “We totally count on him to proceed to do what it’s that he’s doing and has carried out for us, which isn’t solely make high quality performs however be a top quality chief.”
PFF’s Highest-Graded Participant
Heyward is sort of a high-quality wine; he solely will get higher with age. That’s a rarity within the NFL — as put on and tear take its toll, efficiency tends to say no.
However, no… not Heyward. He pressurized Buffalo Payments quarterback Josh Allen a staggering 12 instances in Week 1. This efficiency earned Heyward a Pro Football Focus grade of 95.3, the very best of any participant on protection or offense.
T.J. Watt and Melvin Ingram joined Heyward on the enjoyable, as each linebackers utilized eight pressures each on Allen.
“We stress getting four-man stress,” Heyward mentioned in his postgame press conference on September 12. “You’ll be able to’t simply depend on your blitzes. You’ve acquired to have the ability to combine it up. After we’re hitting dwelling with 4 males, it makes us a tougher staff to beat.”
Much less Is Extra
All of that manufacturing got here off simply 66percentof defensive snaps (Heyward averaged 83% in 2020), per Pro Football Reference.
In a September 14 interview with Pittsburgh’s WDVE radio, Heyward mentioned he advised Tomlin and line of defense coach Karl Dunbar that he wished to play fewer snaps.
“You get to some extent after the season the place you’re like, ‘Wow, I can imagine I performed that many snaps.’”
Heyward shared that taking part in much less and, thus, staying contemporary by way of a 17-game season comes from the power to belief others. “I do assume now we have the fellows that may do it,” he mentioned. “A variety of our guys, particularly within the trenches, are battle-tested. I don’t have to play each single down or each single third down.”
Late Corridor of Fame defensive finish Reggie White’s success with taking part in much less and producing extra is what Heyward mentioned impressed him to do the identical. “He received the MVP at 37 years outdated and was taking part in fewer reps than he ever had earlier than,” Heyward mentioned. “That’s as a result of he was contemporary within the fourth quarter, and he was in a position to dominate.”
Talking of Dominate
Heyward has been elected to 4 consecutive Professional Bowls relationship again to 2017 and has the numbers to again it up. He has registered 233 tackles (140 solo, 44 for loss) and 82 quarterback hits in that span. His 33.0 sacks in 4 seasons included a career-high 12.0 in 2017.
Total, in 150 video games, Heyward has amassed 455 tackles (289 solo, 87 for loss), 59.0 sacks and an astounding 137 quarterback hits.
The Steelers just one week into the common season, but when Heyward’s mantra of “play much less, produce extra“ continues by way of the season, we all know who the Steelers’ MVP could be.
https://heavy.com/sports activities/pittsburgh-steelers/mike-tomlin-cam-heyward-fun-age/ | Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Makes Enjoyable of Cameron Heyward’s Age