Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line
Karl Walter/Getty Images

The perennially strong defensive front of the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a different feel this season. 

Ziggy Hood will no longer have to live in the shadow of the now retired Aaron Smith and Steve McLendon will be the plug in the middle in place of the injured Casey Hampton. 

Brett Keisel will be the elder statesman of the defensive line, starting at right end. However, Cameron Heyward should begin to push Keisel for playing time as the season progresses. 

While Smith and Hampton helped make the Steelers one of the most dominant forces over the past decade, the infusion of new blood will be good for the defensive line. It was time for a change. 

Injuries and age took a toll on both Smith and Hampton last season as neither player played to their usual standards. 

Now as the defensive line undergoes changes, there may be some growing pains. But as the younger linemen develop, they should help form one of the strongest units on the team.

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