Steelers notebook: Defense healthy, finally fully staffed
For only the second time in a year, the Steelers' defense will be the Steelers' defense.
James Harrison has missed seven games to injury over the past two seasons, plus another for a suspension, and fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was out for six games last season. If both play Sunday against the Eagles as expected, it will be only their second game together since an Oct. 2, 2011, game against Houston.
Add in Troy Polamalu's two games missed to a calf injury, and it's easy to see why the Steelers' defense had second-half letdowns in losses to the Broncos and Raiders.
“I think when you have (Harrison) and LaMarr in there together, it's more difficult for the offense to single on which side they want to protect,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
Ex-Pitt star Lewis waits
LeSean McCoy isn't the only former Pitt running back on the Eagles' roster. But while McCoy has developed into one of the NFL's best backs — he is No. 3 in rushing — Dion Lewis is waiting.
Lewis was McCoy's successor at Pitt but chose to leave after rushing for 2,860 yards and 30 touchdowns in two seasons. He lasted until the fifth round in 2011 and has had trouble getting on the field.
Lewis hasn't been activated in four games this season, and all of his 102 yards rushing came last season. He averaged 21.6 on 21 kickoff returns in 2011.
Good time for bye
The Steelers are 4-1 after a bye under coach Mike Tomlin.
When they returned to practice, offensive coordinator Todd Haley could see the difference having healthy bodies makes.
“There is never a bad bye week,” he said. “You get out of it what you put into it. I thought our guys worked extremely hard.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Rossi: Brown has caught on to leadership role
- Analysis: Despite injuries, Steelers well-positioned entering stretch run
- Rookie linebacker Chickillo adjusting to role with Steelers
- Rossi: Ben, Steelers in good position entering late-season bye week
- Steelers defense has taken to adjustments made by Butler