The Pittsburgh Steelers cannot win football games with the memories of Troy Polamalu's greatness.
Ike Taylor, Ziggy Hood, LaMarr Woodley — these are some Steelers defenders who stepped up during Sunday night's 24-17 win against the Bengals.
Future hall-of-famer Troy Polamalu was on the sidelines. That's where he will likely spend much of his time during the rest of his career, which should end after this season.
Polamalu is arguably the best safety ever to play the game. But a decade of hard-nosed football has left him unable to stay healthy for a significant amount of time.
Those who hope No. 43's career will last for years to come cite the team's losing record when he is not on the field. But it is unlikely that Polamalu will again be the magic elixir that turns Pittsburgh's average defense into the powerhouse it was a few years back.
For the Steelers defense to grow and improve, they have to move on. And there will likely be more veterans — some considered all-time Steelers greats — to leave.
A roster that includes James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel and Troy Polamalu reads like a list of all-stars. And at one time that was true.
But a changing of the guard is in process. The 2012-13 Pittsburgh Steelers need Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward and Keenan Lewis, among others, to step up.
(City Editor Rick Kazmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog, "The Kazmer Report," at dailyamerican.com. Smartphone users can access his blog by scanning the QR code at left.)