Steelers linebacker James Harrison played his most snaps of the season in Week Six against the Chiefs and helped close out the game with a key sack of Alex Smith, but any notion that this was a sign of things to come was quickly snuffed out.
Harrison was back down to seven snaps against the Bengals the next week and didn’t play at all against the Lions last Sunday night despite dressing for the game. Harrison has 29 snaps all season, which outside linebackers coach Joey Porter knows is going to make Harrison “frustrated at times.”
Porter does see a point in the season when Harrison will be able to take out his frustrations on opposing offenses.
“Having him out there covering, that ain’t what he’s doing right now,” Porter said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s not his strong suit. His strong suit is when we get to this cold weather and someone is going to try to come here and run the ball, I can put him in there and [running] isn’t going to happen. We get into the cold and playoff time, I can have him in those tough situations and go rush the quarterback and get a sack because the situation is not too big for him. It’s frustrating right now, but his time will come when we’re going to need him.”
There’s been no reason for the Steelers to deviate from their preseason plan to make Harrison a relief pitcher behind T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. With eight more games and perhaps a playoff run still to come, that could change and Harrison showed against Kansas City that there’s still some gas in the tank.