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Steelers Ziggy Hood says Joe Flacco is the toughest quarterback he's faced

The Steelers fifth-year defensive end notes the challenges of facing the reigning Super Bowl MVP, not one of several Hall of Fame quarterbacks he's faced, as the toughest he's seen in the NFL.

Streeter Lecka

Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood recently did an interview with Amarillo Globe News reporter Terrence Huntley in wake of receiving an award in Amarillo for donations to the Khiva Shrine Center.

Hood, an Amarillo, Texas, native, noted his gratitude for his roots, and fond memories of the time he spent there.

When asked who the toughest quarterback he's faced, he said, "It would probably have to be Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. He won the Super Bowl this year. We've got to improve ourselves against him twice a year. We've got to do whatever we can to prepare for him and get ready for him this season and get where we need to be."

It isn't noted, but readers can only hope Huntley didn't pass on the easy follow-up question, "do you feel concussions hinder clarity of thought while you're still in the league?"

Hood has faced, multiple times, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. He's seen Drew Brees and he has practiced against Ben Roethlisberger since coming into the league in 2009.

Seems like a softball answer, but perhaps that's his legitimate opinion. The context of the word "tough" can vary widely. Flacco gets hit plenty often but has started every game of his NFL career. The only ones he hasn't finished have either been blowouts or one throwaway Week 17 game against Cincinnati in 2012.

Flacco has done increasingly well against the Steelers in comparison to the first few years they faced him. Still, in two games against Pittsburgh this year, he is 36-for-66 (54.5 percent), one touchdown, one interception.

He didn't play poorly in those games. Even the interception was a third and long Heave 'n Pray that wasn't anything less than an early punt. Outside linebacker James Harrison forced a fumble that was recovered by Hood in the Steelers' Week 13 win over Baltimore.

Maybe that's what Hood means, ultimately. The Steelers had to bring the action on him in the second game to pull out a win. Flacco may not have done a whole lot statistically in the first game, but he didn't make a mistake, either, and he got the win.