With the return of outside linebacker James Harrison and strong safety Troy Polamalu, this team regains two players that have been sorely missed on a defense that's allowed an uncharacteristic 25 points per game.
Harrison hasn't played since last season, and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau plans to bring him along slowly against the Eagles. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Harrison will rotate with Chris Carter. Another veteran, LaMarr Woodley, will rotate with Jason Worilds, with an eye toward keeping the veteran linebackers fresh through four quarters.
"I have to come off," Harrison said. "It's no need being out there, being dog-tired, and not be able to do what's necessary to play the position. You want to stay fresh. You don't want to go out there and play every snap in the first half and come out sluggish in the third and have nothing left in the fourth."
Harrison and Woodley have been two of the team's best players over the years, but this defense blew a 10-point lead in a Week 3 loss to the Oakland Raiders. That's what eats at LeBeau, who wants to keep his outside linebackers driving at the quarterback until the end.
We're not sure if Harrison's presence will do enough to stop some of the long runs this team has allowed. Polamalu will remedy the turnover drought, but who can rescue the Steelers' defensive line, which has been a mess during the team's 1-2 start? These familair faces will be welcomed back, but not to a defense they're used to.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.