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Entering the season, the Steelers had a multitude of players returning from injury-riddled 2012 campaigns. The laundry list of names includes the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, David DeCastro, Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley.
While the return of these players hasn’t affected the standings, Steelers fans can take solace in the fact that these players have managed to stay healthy and at least give them a shot in most games. In fact, those five have missed just three of a possible 45 starts this year.
Last season, those five players missed 29 of a possible 80 starts. Woodley, Polamalu and DeCastro in particular, looked hobbled in the games they were able to play. This year, they seem to have returned to form.
Woodley leads the Steelers with five sacks, already one more than he managed in 13 games last year. More importantly, he looks committed to keeping in shape, something that came into question during the offseason. And though Polamalu’s stat line doesn’t pop out the way it used to, he seems to be playing with the aggression and instinct that’s made him such a factor throughout his career.
Lastly, there’s DeCastro. The 2012 first-rounder missed most of his rookie year and looked lost when he was on the field. This year, he’s returned with a vengeance and has unquestionably been the team’s best offensive lineman. That’s not saying much, but it at least provides some semblance of hope for the future of the Steelers offensive line.