The Pittsburgh Steelers are a strong enough football team that they can overcome losing one or more starters to injury.
LaMarr Woodley left the Steelers game against the New England Patriots with a hamstring injury and never returned. Further testing will determine the severity of the injury, but no matter how long the pass-rushing fiend will be out, Pittsburgh will be fine. Troy Polamalu is really the only player on the Steelers who's indispensable, as has been proven over the past couple of years.
They beat the Tennessee Titans 38-17 this season without James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Rashard Mendenhall or Chris Kemoeatu. Pittsburgh was still without Harrison, Hampton and Smith in wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals the next two weeks. On Sunday against the Patriots, the Steelers were without Harrison yet again, but this time he was joined in street clothes by Hines Ward and James Farrior—and still Pittsburgh came out on top.
It isn’t an insult to Woodley that the Steelers defense won’t miss him, but a compliment to that unit as a whole. In fact, the unit on the other side of the ball has even held its own without Ben Roethlisberger. Last season when Roethlisberger was suspended, the Steelers went 3-1 with their only loss coming by three to the Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh isn’t the most talented team on paper, but they execute and play within their system better than their opposition more times than not.
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Woodley has seven sacks this season. He single-handedly boasts over 40 percent of all the sacks the Steelers have recorded in 2011. Losing a player with such a large percentage of the defense's production would be detrimental to a team more times than not, but Pittsburgh has proven week in and week out that there is no “I” in team.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer. Follow him on Twitter.