Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu appears to be the healthiest he’s been in several seasons, and the team will need him to remain that way in 2013 if they expect to make a run at a seventh Lombardi Trophy. With that being said, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday during his talk with the media that just because Polamalu is in the lineup, it doesn’t mean that it will change what the team will try to do defensively from a play calling standpoint.
“Really, believe it or not, we only have a few defenses that are what I would call Troy defenses,” said LeBeau. “It’s just the defense that we call will look a little bit better when Troy’s in there. I would like to say that we do some kind of mastermind scheme, but it’s just Troy’s presence.”
So how important is it to have Polamalu healthy and playing in the season opener? Over the course of his career, the veteran safety has recorded five of his 30 regular season interceptions in season openers with one forced fumble to boot. Two of those five interceptions have come against the Tennessee Titans, who the Steelers just so happen to face in Sunday’s season opener. That’s not too shabby considering that Polamalu has only played in seven season openers since he was drafted in 2003.
During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin refused to compare the 2013 version of Polamalu to previous years, but you could certainly tell that he is happy about his current health. On Thursday, LeBeau shared Tomlin’s sentiments.
“I think Troy’s in good shape, and I thought he played well at the end of last year when he got back in the lineup, and I think we can look forward to a good year from Troy,” he said.