It’s no secret the 2010 Steeler defense is not a group full of spring chickens.
- James Farrior – 14th year
- Casey Hampton – 10th year
- Troy Polamalu – 8th year
- Aaron Smith – 12th year
- Brett Keisel – 9th year
- Larry Foote – 9th year
Guys like Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, are veterans still in the prime of their career. The young guys like Woodley, Timmons, Hood, and the like are the future of this team.
The eldest group on the defense, the Defensive Line, is the unit that more than anyone needs this super bowl win to help finish out some stellar careers. They more than anyone else besides Potsie (James Farrior) are the group that could realistically see their NFL careers coming to end in the next couple years. Not coincidentally, the line is the group on the defense that never gets the accolades but arguably the most important part of the team. A Dick Lebeau 34 defense is always predicated on the LineBackers, but if you don’t have a defensive line of 3 stallwarts that can stand up to their massive offensive counterparts, the defense just will not work. When a Steeler defense is tops against the run, you can thank that in large part to the front 3 doing their jobs. When the Steelers are in the top percentage for sacks & pressures, it’s the line that is doing their job to occupy their blockers so the LB’s and Safeties can get to the Quarterback. When the Secondary is able to post up an improving statistical record like they have this year, the defensive line deserves some credit for that too. Without a front 3 that understands their role, does it unselfishly, and to the level that the Steelers line does it, you have a whole lot of nothing.
Lest we forget, the epic Hines Ward made reference just this week that the team realizes the window for this unit is closing, having only another couple years left.
While the Steelers do have a great number of young players to make the future bright for a long time, the wiley veterans know their time is short and the opportunity to make history is now.
*Photo courtesy of Flickr.com