The Pittsburgh Steelers will get back to work on Monday as they prepare to host the 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday at Heinz Field and they hope to do so with a few extra healthy bodies in uniform, specifically two former first round draft picks. In addition, all three bodies look to help in all three areas of the game.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall, who tore is right ACL in the season finale last year against the Cleveland Browns, looks likely to make his season debut on Sunday and the running game could certainly use whatever spark that he can provide. Through the first three games the Steelers have rushed for a total of 195 yards and are averaging 65 yards on the ground per game and 2.6 yards per carry.
While Mendenhall looks to spark the offense, safety Troy Polamalu looks to be on course to return to the lineup after a two game absence because of a calf injury. The defense has yet to play a game this season with both of their starting safeties in the lineup at the same time as Ryan Clark was forced to sit out the season opener due to his sickle cell trait.
Ryan Mundy, who filled in for Polamalu both and Clark the last three games, has not played well and the defense only has one interception coming out of the bye week, which was a gift by Carson Palmer in the loss to the Oakland Raiders prior to the bye.
While not a starter or a former first rounder, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester also looks to make his season debut against the Eagles, which should help a special teams unit that has floundered on defending kickoffs prior to the bye week. So far through three games the Steelers kickoff coverage unit has allowed a 33.2 yard average, good for 31st in the league.
While linebacker James Harrison is not expected to be ready, getting these three players back against the Eagles will certainly give the Steelers help in all three phases of their game.