Though Cam Heyward was one of several along the Pittsburgh Steelers’ staff to advocate for a more frequent rotation of snaps, he won’t be one to trot that out as an excuse.
“We just need to get stops,” he told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t think we can just say, oh it’s conditioning or, oh, we’re taking too many reps. We gotta get stops. I’m not going to hid behind the ‘I need to give reps to somebody else.’ We just need to have more production.”
Heyward played close to 90% of the time last season. Ditto for Stephon Tuitt, not including the snaps missed due to injury. Mike Tomlin had even expressed the desire for a strong rotation but made it clear the team simply lacked the depth to justify switching out the pair of stars.
Still, Heyward remained open to the notion.
“If we do, that’s a great added plus. But if we don’t, we can’t sit up here and whine about it.”
Pittsburgh added Ricardo Mathews in the offseason and though he mainly played inside at San Diego, figures to be in the mix as a base end. At worst, he’s someone who can sub into the team’s nickel, by far the most frequent personnel grouping. Javon Hargrave is another name who should get a look into the nickel rotation and though Heyward was quick to praise him, he knows there’s a long way to go.
“It’s only Day 2. If everyone was good after Day 2, we’d have a Super Bowl by now…if he continues to grow, he could be a big contributor for us.”
Heyward did seem to imply Hargrave’s role won’t be huge in 2016. Of course, that can change quickly based on his development and any regression from Daniel McCullers. As we recently wrote about, while Heyward has high expectations for McCullers, he pointed out a need for better technique and consistency from him.