Cam Heyward on his goals for 2022: Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP

For the first time in 18 seasons, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not be in uniform leading the Pittsburgh Steelers as we know them, on the field. He was the undisputed leader of the team, and as the owner of virtually every Steelers passing record with two Super Bowl rings, it was easy to see why. One player who will now step up and arguably be the vocal leader of not just the defense but the entire team is seven-time team captain and two-time First Team All-Pro defensive tackle Cam Heyward. Frequently considered the best defensive tackle in the league aside from Aaron Donald of the Rams, Heyward has always set the bar high not only for himself but for his teammates as well, and his 64.5 sacks rank first in the league. franchise history among defensive linemen, an insane statistic. given some of the linemen the team has seen donning the black and gold.

However, even he realizes that there is a shift in the horizon, particularly on offense, and whether or not it’s free agent pickup Mitch Trubisky or first-round rookie Kenny Pickett starting at QB for the new look team.

“First we have to figure out who our quarterback is going to be,” Heyward said on The Playbook Podcast by YouTube. “Whether we go with who we have or we go to free agency, we have to understand that. The pieces we have on offense must continue to grow.

The presumed starter as we sit here today will be Trubisky, but as we all know the NFL stands for “Not For Long” and that can change in a heartbeat. Pickett was seen as the future of the job, as he was hailed by analysts around the world as the most pro-ready QB in the draft, drawing comparisons to Joe Burrow of the Bengals.

Another area Heyward certainly hasn’t shied away from is his defense, especially after the team was repeatedly swindled on the ground last season, ultimately ranking dead last in run defense. He cited that the yje defense needs to continue to grow, as does the offense, and will look to do so after adding several free agent starters, including inside linebacker Myles Jack, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and running back. corner Ahkello Witherspoon. Heyward even made a bold statement about himself, and one that should have given opposing linemen nightmares the night before games.

“Personally, I think I can play even better. And I look forward to this challenge. I’ve already challenged myself for next year trying to get a Triple Crown, Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl MVP and MVP. So let’s go.

When it comes to the DPOY, Heyward will face an uphill battle in that department as teammate TJ Watt earned those honors last season and is one of the favorites to do the same in the upcoming season. The other two seem a bit more far-fetched, but you can never say never. A huge figure in the community, Heyward was also rewarded for his efforts last year when he was voted the team’s 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year, and was also up for the award against his peers at league-wide, recognizing both the work in the community. as a stellar play on the field.

If Heyward’s game steps up a notch, it will elevate the Steelers defense to an elite level and the 6-foot-5, 295-pound player will add another chapter to what is shaping up to be a career at the Hall of Fame. fame when his playing days are over.

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