Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward has been cranky of late, at least during calls with the media. It could be any number of things that’s getting the All-Pro upset. It could be the update from his agent about the progress on a contract extension. It could be a perceived lack of respect from his peers. (Recall that he promised to “exercise [sic] demons” when he was rated just 84th-best on the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list.) Maybe he’s just ready to get out on the football field and do some hitting, which he and his teammates haven’t been allowed to do yet.
During a recent interview on the Adam Lefkoe Show—the same show where former Baltimore Ravens LB Bart Scott insisted Ed Reed was on a different ‘level than Troy Polamalu—he said people are getting ahead of themselves getting ready to “crown a new king” in the AFC North division.
Cam Heyward: ‘We’ve Got a Gauntlet of Heismans’
“One thing is, we’ve got a gauntlet of Heismans [past Heisman trophy winners] that I’m looking forward to wrecking this year,” Heyward said. “I think, you look around and you see these great offenses, but as a defense that doesn’t have the Heisman player, but has the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, we can’t wait.
“We’re salivating at these opportunities,” Heyward continued. “These guys are great players and it’s up to us to knock them off the totem pole. Everybody’s ready to crown a new king and as I see it, nobody in our division won the Super Bowl [last year]. It’s all a race for it.”
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) August 10, 2020
Of course, Heyward is referring to the other three quarterbacks in the AFC North, all of whom are Heisman Trophy winners: Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns and rookie Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, the latter of whom was selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Notably, Jackson and Mayfield haven’t had a lot of success against the Steelers. Mayfield is 1-2 against Pittsburgh, having completed 57 of 100 passes for 569 yards with five touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. His lone win against the Steelers came when Ben Roethlisberger was out of the lineup.
As for Jackson, he’s 1-0 as a starter vs. the Steelers—again, when Roethlisberger was injured. But in three games vs. Pittsburgh he has completed just 20 of 29 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Steelers Defense Poised to Set a New Sack Record in 2020
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ highly-ranked defense is poised to have a big season, thanks to the efforts of Heyward & Co. Specifically, the Steelers have the potential to set a new franchise record for consecutive seasons of 50+ sacks, equaling a record that hasn’t been challenged since the 1980s.
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