It’s easy to slap the phrase “make or break year” on any player, but one look at the Steelers and you’ll see quite a few players that must stand up in 2013. The Steelers need players to break out, and in some cases they need veterans to come back to life.
WR Emmanuel Sanders:
Sanders is expected to be a 1,000 yard receiver in 2013. That’s quite the expectation, especially for a player that has come nowhere close to the 1,000 yard mark in his career. He needs to step up not only for the team but himself. I don’t believe he’s fully capable of being a No.2 receiver in the NFL, Markus Wheaton may even give him a run for the No.2 spot.
NT Steve McLendon:
McLendon has backed up Casey Hampton since joining the Steelers. Now, he gets his chance to show if he’s capable of being a full-time starting nose tackle in the NFL. When filling in for Hampton over the last two years, McLendon has shown us quite a few splash plays. The only thing left to be answered is: Can he play full-time?
DE Ziggy Hood:
Hood was hyped up x100 last year during the offseason. He was training very hard, he even lost 18 lbs of fat and gained 20 lbs of muscle. Hood has been nothing but a complete bust up to this point. 2013 is Hood’s last chance.
OLB Jason Worilds:
Look out Jason, you’ve got a first-round selection on your tail. Worilds is entering the last year of his contract, and if he doesn’t produce, he’ll be sent packing. Worilds managed to total 6 sacks last year while filling in for Woodley and Harrison. I’m pretty optimistic about Worilds, I think we could see a pretty productive season from him.
SS Troy Polamalu:
Troy must find a way to stay healthy in 2013. He missed several games last year with a calf injury, and hasn’t looked the same since 2010. If Troy ends up on the sidelines multiple times again this season, I’m willing to bet we’ll see him released following the conclusion of the 2013 season. Keep in mind, Troy missed more than half of the season in 2009, then came back the following year and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.