Colts: Steelers’ Cam Heyward Defends Quenton Nelson From Criticism

Steelers DT Cam Heyward came to the defense of Colts offensive lineman Quenton Nelson.

Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Quenton Nelson got a shock this weekend when he realized that OL studs are now officially subject to the same inane criticism rules as wide receivers and quarterbacks.

Even the most consistent superstars are prone to a poor performance every now and then. Since these players are held to a different standard than their colleagues, it’s absolutely fair to criticize them when that happens. What’s totally irrational, however, is when said player is completely written off in terms of his standing as an elite talent on the heels of that one forgettable showing.

That’s precisely what an anonymous NFL defensive assistant did to Nelson after he was dominated by Cam Heyward in Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

To call the quote, which surfaced this weekend, reactionary and misguided would be an understatement.

Thankfully, ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler didn’t let that ridiculous assessment of Nelson sway his judgement while ranking the NFL’s top 10 interior linemen. He slotted the Notre Dame product No. 1 ahead of the likes of Zack Martin, Brandon Scherff and David DeCastro, respectively.

What makes the assistant look all the more foolish? The fact that Heyward swiftly defended Nelson’s honor on Twitter. Essentially, the Steelers star asserted that there’s nothing wrong with a great player coming up short against another great player, and he’s absolutely right.

This post further confirms that Heyward is one of the classiest players the NFL has to offer. Did he have to reply to the criticism? Obviously not, but he felt like Nelson was being disrespected, and he wasn’t about to let that happen after one bad game.

If you were to poll the league’s elite defensive lineman, they would undoubtedly say the same about Nelson, who’s been named an All-Pro in each of his first two seasons as a pro. The former No. 6 overall pick is just 24 years old and is already considered a perennial world-beater.

Truth be told, Nelson probably couldn’t care less about the criticism. However, it’s still awesome to see one of the NFL’s most respected veterans come to his defense and shower him with praise.