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Defense ready for either Packers QB

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Steelers will be ready no matter who starts at QB on Sunday.

Preparing for either QB: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers still hasn’t been cleared by doctors to return to play after suffering a fractured collarbone on November 4.

Rodgers practiced in a limited basis on Wednesday, leaving the Steelers to prepare for either him or Matt Flynn to start against them in Green Bay on Sunday afternoon.  

“You do your best to study as much of both guys,” said safety Ryan Clark. “Usually the offense stays the same when it’s a system like they have in Green Bay. Hopefully you know sooner than later who is going to play. But you study what they do as a team and understand what attributes each quarterback has.”

Flynn has started in Rodgers’ absence and led the Packers to a come-from-behind 37-36 win over the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, a win that seemed almost improbable when down by 23 points at halftime.

“He excels in their program,” said Clark. “That is the reason people were touting him as a starter because of how well he plays in the system. He is extremely smart and he is an LSU guy so that means he is tough. He has done a great job there. Think about the comeback last week against Dallas. For him to be poised enough to stick in there and play like that down 26-3 was huge. It shows what type of character he has. He is a good quarterback.”

If Rodgers is back, Clark knows the defense will have their hands full.

“Aaron Rodgers is the most talented passer in the league,” said Clark. “I am not talking about from a mental standpoint like the things Peyton (Manning) and Tom (Brady) are able to do. Just physically throwing the ball, fitting in tight places, being able to get down the field, and drive the ball into small areas.

“I don’t think there is a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers.”

Hood keeps making plays: Brett Keisel’s nagging foot injury meant another start for Ziggy Hood last week against the Bengals, and the defensive end has been taking full advantage of his playing time.

Hood sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton for an eight-yard loss, and had four tackles in the 30-20 win.

Hood, who lost his starting spot after week four to Cam Heyward, has started four of the last five games, and saw significant playing time in the fifth game when Keisel couldn’t finish because of the foot injury.

“If there is anything for me to prove, I have to prove it to myself,” said Hood. “I think I am my toughest critic. I evaluate myself after every performance. If I feel like I did well there are things to still work on. If I feel like I did badly I know there is still room to grow.

“Other than that I go out there and play hard and give everything I’ve got. If I can wake up in the morning and know I gave it my all, and sacrificed everything for the team, I know I did a good job.”

Hood said he is putting in the same effort now as he always has, it’s just that he is making plays.

“It’s just that when I have been blessed to have the opportunity to make plays, I was there at the right time and took advantage of it,” said Hood. “You aren’t going to be perfect every game. But if you can see where you can improve and attack things differently, you see changes, you see yourself making more plays out there.”

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