It's no secret that the '08 Steelers defense had one of the best defenses in the history of the NFL. I believe that this years defense has the potential to be MUCH better than the SB defense of two years ago. Before you guys think I am a fool for posting this, hear me out...
Let's go area by area.
-Defensive Line - Brett Kiesel, Casey Hampton, and Aaron Smith are all much older than last time around, but these guys are all very good at what they do. Thrown in Ziggy Hood as a legitimate rotational player to keep these guys rested and this D-Line suddenly seems better than the one of two years ago.
-Line Backers - James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, and Lamarr Woodley are all outstanding 'backers. I know that Farrior and Harrison are older now ,and as a result their play has fallen off. Keep in mind, in terms of football experience, Harrison isn't old at all. I believe, by the end of the ear, Timmons will be back at his normal ILB postition, the Mike LB. I believe Foote with be the Will. Because of Farrior's age he will have to adjust to being a back-up (That said, I still think he will get a lot of snaps_. I think it is evident because of the game against the Ravens that he is just too old to be a starter (Just ask Ray Rice). Two years ago, Wood was emerging as a strong pass-threat. Now, he is entering his prime as an elite pass rusher. That thought alone is scary... The addition of Foote will be huge to this group. Also, Worilds and Gibson will be BATTLING for snaps when someone needs a break, and I am confident they can fill in admirably.
-Cornerbacks - Not much to say here. We all know that my grandma is a better CB than Willie Gay. The return of B-MAC will give this group much needed stability that it lacked last year (See Willie Gay). I think Ike will get back to his swaggin' ways after his worse year as a professional. Keenan Lewis could, potentially, become the number two corner if he is as good as it seems (Or, at worst, platoon with McFadden). Joe Burnett looks like he can fill in as a good nickelback, and I think Crezdon Butler will make the team as one two. I still can't believe Willie Gay is still here...
-Safeties - Again, not much to say here. Pretty much the same unit as 2 years ago. However, if Troy goes down (knock on wood), this would be a serious blow to the Steelers. Obviously we know that from last year, but I don't think Ryan Mundy can fill in as good as TC did. TROY IS BACK!!! (which by the way makes Ryan Clark look like a Pro Bowler :) )
The defense alone should win at least two of the first four games. Hopefully, BA realizes the play making ability of Dennis Dixon. I hope this kid sees the field in some way (Wild-Cat -ish?) because he is a great talent. IF Lefty fills in as good as '08, the Steelers can easily go 4-0 or 3-1 with Byron. Add this in with a much better center (Pouncey) and RB than 2008, and I think the Steelers can easily be considered contenders for 2010. Oh, did I forget mention that when Ben comes back, he will be twice as focused leading to... I dare say it... Seventh Heaven???
Please leave a comment expressing your opinions or any criticisms.