Steelers one of the 10 teams who will benefit from returns from injury

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have the talent in place to compete in the AFC North. The question, as it has been the last two years, can they stay healthy enough to do it?

"If you're a Steeler, then you're injured" seems like a perfectly logical equation over the last two years.

However you want to slice numbers of games missed and starters absent, the Steelers have been hit hard by injuries, both long and short term. NFL.com Around the League writer Chris Wesseling put the Steelers among the top 10 teams that will benefit the most this year with the return of injured starters.

He's not lyin'. According to Wesseling's article, the Steelers had a combined 51 games missed by starters in 2012:

Offensive guard David DeCastro (12), offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (11), safety Troy Polamalu (9), offensive tackle Mike Adams (6), cornerback Ike Taylor (4), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (3), linebacker Lamarr Woodley (3), wide receiver Antonio Brown (3).

It seems like more (it is, considering they only looked at players missing three games or more, and starting left guard Willie Colon missed five games but isn't on this list), but 51 games missed by starters is a lot of games. But more importantly, look at who is on this list. The team's first round pick in 2012, two offensive tackles, the team's two best defensive backs, its highest paid wide receiver, and that guy who's won two Super Bowls under center.

There are multiple reasons why the Steelers finished 8-8 in 2012, and excuses aren't being made, but the fact is when you have are replacing three starters a game due to injury, you're going to struggle to compete.

If the Steelers can stay healthy, there's no reason to think they can't compete.

But that's the big question. Can they?

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