Harrison showing off versatility

After Steelers linebacker James Harrison had a sackless first two games of the season, there were a few quiet rumblings in Pittsburgh wondering whether Harrison’s big offseason contract was a sound investment considering Harrison’s age — 31.

No one is wondering anymore. 

Harrison has eight sacks in the last six games, despite increased responsibilities in pass coverage.  The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review does a great job detailing Harrison’s various roles.  On first and second downs, he has an increased role in pass coverage, dropping back 59% of the time.  On third down, he generally gets after the quarterback, rushing 80% of the time.

It’s remarkable Harrison can contend for the league lead in sacks in this manner; it’s not like Jared Allen and DeMarcus Ware are backing up into coverage that much.  Harrison is asked to cover defenders as varied as Brandon Marshall and Antonio Gates.

Harrison’s quiet start to the season can probably be traced to his usage.  In his first two games, he played pass coverage more than he rushed.  Since then, he’s rushed 69% of the time.

His teammates say it’s nothing new.

“He has always been a complete player to me,” Lamarr Woodley said. “Is there anything he can’t do?”

While Harrison has some ground to make up, it’s not impossible to think that he could defend his Defensive Player of the Year award with a big second half.

40 responses to “Harrison showing off versatility

  1. He has an excellent bull rush onto unsuspecting women. But that’s par for the course out of Stillers camp. Ain’t that right Goldie locks Roethlisberger?

  2. Ware is tied for 5th in the leage for pass deflections by a LB.
    Harrison only has one break up.
    Harrison is good, but he doesn’t have the fumbles this year or near as many big plays.
    Ware doesn’t have as many sacks, but is hands down the best defensive player in the NFL and was last year.

  3. > he also beats up women in the offseason!! thats versatility!
    To my knowledge he only had the one incident. Maybe you were including the time he roughed up that Browns fan.

  4. Harrison is a BEAST. He is a prime example of hard work and determination paying off.
    Ding, ding!
    We have a winner!

  5. Harrison rocks!
    No silver spoon story here – no sir.
    #92 has worked his tail off into becoming a MONSTER of biblical proportions – dude has heart, soul and the well-deserved respect of EVERYone in his locker room including Coach Tomlin (not to mention opposing locker rooms as well).
    Sick respect – love that guy.

  6. Watch closely during any Steelers game, and take special note on Harrison. He is typically held at least half a dozen or more times, during the course of a game.
    His sack numbers would be far higher, if officials consistently called the holding used against him. It is the only he seemingly is slowed down.

  7. ughtoo….an article about James Harrison being a great player and being compared to Demarcus Ware and all the cowboys whining *ss fans come over to make their point. Your team isn’t any good, 4 wins a row now…GOOD FOR YOU! IF you make the playoffs we all know what happens.
    Moonunit….Demarcus Ware is nowhere close to being the best defensive player in the NFL. Well maybe…other than Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, Jared Allen, Champ Bailey (who Santonio was smoking Monday night), and Adrian Wilson. What a stooge.

  8. cowboys fans are so silly……i could care less if james harrison gets defensive player of the year again. they can give it to demarcus ware so he can finally get a trophy, while the steelers ascend on the stairway to 7!

  9. “Harrison’s quiet start to the season can probably be traced to his usage.”
    I agree, HGH does wonders.

  10. The painful facts.
    Last year James Harrison was the best player on the 1st ranked defense. Demarcus Ware was the best player on the 8th ranked defense.
    Advantage – James Harrison
    This season James Harrison is the best player on the fifth ranked defense so far. Meanwhile, Demarcus Ware is the best player on the 20th ranked defense.
    Advantage – James Harrison

  11. James is a very tough player who looks like he goes full out on every play. Glad he is on my team. It also looks like he gets held at 75% of the time he is rushing the passer.
    GO STEELERS

  12. I have not a doubt in my mind this guy is roided up to the gills. I would bet everything I own on it.
    Also, he is a BAD guy.

  13. Harrison is a BEAST. He is a prime example of hard work and determination paying off.
    replace hard work with steroids and replace determination with harrison growth hormone.
    you go from being cut three times by the steelers and once by the ravens to DPOY when you’re thirty? Throw in that monsterous forehead, and its a no-brainer.

  14. As much as it pains me to say this as a Pats fan. Harrison is by far the most dangerous LB in the league and I’d kill for a chance to sucker him to come to New England (Yes I know he just signed an extension earlier this year).

  15. @ Furious George and troll_aikman8 …
    Let me guess: You’re retired Mad Men, roommates in a Dallas retirement home where the orderlies “affectionately” call you Skipper and Gilligan. You sit by the communal computer pinching nursing aides while chuckling “hehehe” and coming up with sad Harrison-the-woman-beater comments because any creativity you had drowned in a martini glass circa 1964. Finally, the staff gets tired of listening to you, tosses a couple of seconal into your orange juice and you fall over into a drooling stupor for the rest of the evening.
    Oh staff, the boys are ready for their seconal. Please hurry.

  16. The one thing media outlets always fail to omit is the fact that the guy gets held almost every play. He has to lead the league in penalties draw in that category.

  17. @Deb
    I wouldn’t make Harrison-the-wife-beater comments if, you know, Harrison didn’t beat his wife.
    So I agree with the headline that Harrison is a versatile beast.

  18. “Ware is tied for 5th in the leage for pass deflections by a LB.
    Harrison only has one break up.
    Harrison is good, but he doesn’t have the fumbles this year or near as many big plays. ”
    Hey Moonunit he does have 2 Superbowl rings.
    How many does Ware have?

  19. Wait how many career interception does Ware have? Yeah, Harrison actually does drop into coverage and picks off passes that aren’t the result of deflections.
    If it weren’t for 43, he would be the best athlete in the league.
    Moonunit,
    Neither Ware, nor Harrison has a pass defended this year, and Harrison leads the league in forced fumbles again, doubling the number that Ware has. And last year Ware had no passes defended, no interceptions and 6 forced fumbles compared to Harrison’s 4 passes defended, 1 interception and 7 forced fumbles.
    Ware is good. Better than Harrison? No even close.

  20. [snip] After Steelers linebacker James Harrison had a sackless first two games of the season [snip]
    Sackless!?!?!?
    Really? Wow, I wonder what Mrs. Harrison had to say about that?
    Can you surgically replace something like that?

  21. # Deb says: November 11, 2009 6:40 PM
    @ Furious George and troll_aikman8 …
    Let me guess: You’re retired Mad Men, roommates in a Dallas retirement home where the orderlies “affectionately” call you Skipper and Gilligan. You sit by the communal computer pinching nursing aides while chuckling “hehehe” and coming up with sad Harrison-the-woman-beater comments because any creativity you had drowned in a martini glass circa 1964. Finally, the staff gets tired of listening to you, tosses a couple of seconal into your orange juice and you fall over into a drooling stupor for the rest of the evening.
    Oh staff, the boys are ready for their seconal. Please hurry.
    —————–
    sorry “Deb” you are incorrect. and your condescending rant is neither amusing, clever or as you bring up, “creative”. the irony. if you cant play with the big boys, stay on the porch…. or should i saw, stay in the kitchen. anyone that doesnt think that classless career backup isnt roided out of his mind is a complete fool.

  22. @troll_aikman8
    He has an excellent bull rush onto unsuspecting women. But that’s par for the course out of Stillers camp. Ain’t that right Goldie locks Roethlisberger?
    I bet after you wrote this you just sit and smiled at the screen didnt you?
    Ilove how the haters think that they are somehow insightful.
    But what can you expect. and they say Steeler fans are classless.

  23. Laxer,
    Harrison plays with the best safety in football in Polamalu, one of the leagues best nose tackles in Casey Hampton, and plays with excellent players like Woodley, Farrior, Ike Taylor, and one of the leagues most underrated safeties in Ryan Clark. Not to take anything away from Harrison because he is a great player but comparing the teams rankings is not an indication of how good they are.

  24. @Furious George …
    The best comeback a “Big Boy” like you can manage is “stay in the kitchen”? Oh my yes, I am awed by your creative superiority. LOL
    You must be the one the staff calls Skipper. At least Gilligan had a little more humor. Maybe the staff needs to toss in some Metamucil with your secanol.

  25. got steelers on the mind troll aikman? a few wins in october/november and this fruitcake thinks the cowboys can go toe to toe w/ the champs.
    your fail team is lucky they don’t play the afc north this year b/c the ravens, steelers, and bengals would hand romo his ass. and flacco, ben, and carson would humiliate the joke that is the cowboys secondary.
    do visions of james harrison returning that interception in the super bowl make you mad sweetie?
    or better yet..remember when romo completed a pass to deshea townsend FTL?

  26. Oh isn’t that just rich…..Cowboys fans of all people having the nerve to talk about players from other teams who’ve had off-the-field transgressions…..and then having the nerve to call somebody “classless” for calling them on their monumental hypocrisy.
    And what’s even funnier is the hypocrisy of a Cowboys fan calling out “crimes against women” when they signed some guy named Pac Man last year who grabbed a woman by her hair and repeatedly smashed her head into a stage.
    There aren’t enough cells in the Texas prison system for all the criminals that have passed through those locker room doors down there in Dallas.

  27. @i’m president charlie!
    Thanks for that little stroll down memory lane. Deshea Townsend. Alabama! Roll Tide Roll!!!!!!

  28. “This season James Harrison is the best player on the fifth ranked defense so far. Meanwhile, Demarcus Ware is the best player on the 20th ranked defense.”
    So you’re saying that there are at least four defensive players that are better than James Harrison? Also, does your method work for ranking offensive players, too?

  29. if an ass kicking means a touchdown w/ less than 20 seconds on the clock then then the cowboys vs steelers game last year was a severe ass kicking.

  30. LOL….the cowboys win some and my boy Voxxy is back making stupid comments. Oh lord, when will my little precious learn!! IF…AND ONLY IF…the Steelers make it to the SB this year, I want them to play the cowboys. The outcome of that game will shut these idiots up for a long time to come.

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