Motivation is not a clear-cut there. There is not a single recipe for how to inspire others to do great things, because each person is affected differently by different inputs. Still, there are some commonalities to most people—such as direct comparisons to your peers.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward spoke to reporters earlier today and acknowledged that it does motivate him to have the opportunity to weigh himself, and his defensive line, up against opponents who also have stout defensive lines—such as the Philadelphia Eagles, whom they play on Sunday.
“When you look at teams we’ve played that have good defensive fronts, there’s definitely a competitive edge in that”, he said. “I look forward to those games where we get to play quality defensive linemen. You try to measure yourself up against them. You want to get the W first, but after that, I want to see if I’m ahead of them after the game”.
Heyward himself only has half a sack so far one the season through three games, but he also has five quarterback hits. Meanwhile, Stephon Tuitt has two sacks and seven hits, and Tyson Alualu has a sack and three hits. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree combine for six sacks and 16 hits.
Earlier this year, Mike Hilton and Vince Williams acknowledged that, as blitzers, they have a bit of a competition between themselves to see who could get the most takedowns behind the line of scrimmage, as players whose primary responsibility is off the ball. Heyward said the d-line doesn’t have a similar competition, but they’re always driven.
“We always want to get a piece of the pie. We always feel like we’ve got a shot to affect this play, and I hope everybody on our defense thinks that way”, he said. “We’re a hungry bunch. When we step on that field, somebody’s gonna have the advantage, and if one person gets an advantage, then we feel like they’re gonna slide to them, and then the other guys are gonna eat off of that plate too”.
Despite playing fewer games than almost everybody else, the Steelers are still second in the league in sacks with 15, while the Eagles have 17. Their 59 total pressures are far and away the most, however, as nobody else even has 50, and their 46.5 percent pressure rate is about 50 percent more than any other team. Only two others have a pressure rate of 30 percent or better.
The Eagles, for example, have 43 pressures and a 25.6 percent pressure rate, but they have been converting a high percentage of those pressures into sacks. Admittedly, the Steelers could clean up some of their pressures to maximize their efficiency, as they have definitely missed a handful of would-be sacks so far through three games.