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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: Top 5 Concerns for 2013 Season

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Top 5 Concerns for 2013 Season

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After a frustrating, injury-filled 2012 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a number of offseason moves that has them in position to make a return to the postseason, reclaim the AFC North division, and make a run at bringing a seventh Super Bowl trophy to the Steel City. Although the Steelers cut ties with some valuable veterans, they did a great job of filling the voids via free agency and by putting together one of the best draft classes in 2013.

However, despite the valuable additions to the roster, there are still some things that I feel a bit concerned about regarding Pittsburgh for this upcoming season. One of the most disturbing things that comes to mind for myself and many others in Steeler Nation is health. Last year, the injury bug played a key factor in the demise of the Steelers’ tailspin after a 6-3 start.

Another thing that raises a red flag in my head is if certain key players will finally step up and play to the level that is expected of them on a consistent basis. This definitely holds true to both the offensive and defensive lines.

All in all, on paper, Pittsburgh looks to be a much improved team from last season. Even with the improvements, there are still a number of things that could cause panic for Steelers fans. Positions such as cornerback, wide receiver and outside linebacker all have question marks going into training camp later this month, but there are a few other things that worries me more. Here’s my top five concerns for the 2013 season.

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5. Ziggy Hood & Cameron Heyward's Performance

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward both need to live up to their first and second-round billings respectively. This is even more important for Hood, who is entering the final year of his contract with the Steelers.

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4. Tight End position

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The return of Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller after his reconstructive knee surgery is still uncertain. Losing the most reliable weapon in third-and-long and red zone situations could hinder the success of the Steelers’ passing game. Reserve tight ends David Paulson and David Johnson could potentially have big shoes to fill.

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3. Troy Polamalu's Health

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, safety Troy Polamalu showed that Father Time is quickly catching up with him. If healthy, Polamalu could still be an important part of the Pittsburgh’s defense. If the former Defensive Player of the Year is plagued with injury again, rookie safety Shamarko Thomas may have to step up to the learning curve quickly.

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2. Mike Adams' Performance

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

In last year’s draft, the Steelers took a chance on offensive tackle Mike Adams in the second round. Adams’ overall performance from last season wasn’t that great. Hopefully his move to the right side of the offensive line will help the improvement of the running game and the protection of their franchise quarterback.

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1. Ben Roethlisberger's Health

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows the success of the Steelers is determined by the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After a 6-3 start in 2012, Roethlisberger went down with an injury, which resulted in Pittsburgh not being able to rebound. Big Ben’s health is the biggest concern of Steeler Nation going into 2013.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+