The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to see a bounce back season from their defense.
People are generally inclined to refer to Pittsburgh’s defense as an aging unit, and in certain cases that is true. That is not the case in every spot, however, and with the infusion of some youth on that side of the ball, the Steelers’ most famous defender will be able to play more in his natural position.
That would be Troy Polamalu, who played the equivalent of inside linebacker more than the Steelers would have liked to have seen last season. With the arrival of Ryan Shazier this season, Polamalu can shift his focus back to the safety position. To hear him tell it, he is certainly happy with that development and believes he can have another good season back in the secondary (from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
Yes, he probably could do that, but, as he enters his 12th NFL season, Polamalu finds himself back where he belongs, at strong safety after a year in which he played more at inside linebacker than he did his given position…
…“God willing, I prepared for that, for sure. I feel good. I’m not going to tell you a lie and be like ‘I’m in the greatest shape of my life.’ In truth, I’m in the best shape that I can be in right now, in my 12th year. Time will tell whether that’s relevant this year.”
In 2013 Polamalu recorded 69 tackles, forced five fumbles and had two interceptions. Being back in his natural position, even having lost a step, should set him up for success again in 2014.