James Harrison thinks too much is made of switch from 3-4 to 4-3


Bengals linebacker James Harrison took a break from the massage table on Wednesday to talk about the transition from playing in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense to the 4-3 look favored by Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Harrison said that he’s been picking up the defense gradually despite occasional stumbles with the terminology used in Cincinnati. In general, Harrison feels like people worried about his ability to fit in the new scheme are making too big a deal of the differences between the defenses run by the two AFC North squads.

“Yes, you all do,” Harrison said, via the Bengals website. “I’m playing SAM, so I’m basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense. It’s just that I’ll switch where I’m lining up. I’ll be in a 40 or 30, stacked behind a tackle or guard or whatever it may be. And I’ll do my job from there.”

And Harrison says that job description won’t be too different than it was in Pittsburgh. While 4-3 linebackers tend to have more coverage responsibilities, Harrison said that he expects to be rushing the passer “a little more” in 2013 than he did with the Steelers in the last couple of years. Thanks to the presence of other skilled pass rushers in Cincinnati, Harrison added that Zimmer has come up with ways to isolate Harrison in single coverage on some of those rushes.

That bodes well for Harrison’s chances of making an impact in his first season away from the Steelers.

22 responses to “James Harrison thinks too much is made of switch from 3-4 to 4-3

  1. Absolutely jacked to have him on the field with Vontaze Burfict, Mike Johnson, Carlos Dunlap & Geno Atkins. Thats 1 heck of a pass rush on 3rd downs… You basically have 3 double digit sackers along Dunlap(top 5 in hurries) and Vontaze 174 tackles as an undrafted FA… Harrison has taken Burfict and Soft Rey under his wing..Actually Burfict’s locker is right next to him…Pick his brain boys..get all you can because if he gets hurt we will only have him for 1 season… As stated back when we signed him… You got 1.5 seconds to get the ball out in 2013.. Olines better be ready!

  2. You will always be a Steeler James no matter what jersey you have on. Steeler nation misses you. Good luck in upcoming season and ty for the great years in Pittsburgh.

  3. Yeah, but Harrison also thinks too much is made of this “Don’t lead with your helmet” business, too, so…

  4. excellent point @jwil007…If Geno is destroying the A gap again there’s no reason Harrison wont see double digit sacks this year, you just can’t double team both of these dudes without limiting what you can do downfield.

  5. Some Steeler fans act so bitter towards ex-players even if they were cut from their team or not offered a new contract. A little childish considering someone gave 10 years to an organization.

  6. You cinci fans are TOTALLY OUT OF YOUR GOSH FOR GIVEN MINDS!! The BUTT-GALS are not going anywhere anytime soon, you can forget it with all your thoughts. Your qb is not elite enough to take you to and win the dance, wake up!! HELLO!!!

    James, you were a machine in Pitt and brought hell and high water with The Beast but your days of having great seasons are over, and it’s all because of where you are. That D in cinci can’t shake a stick to the # 1 DEFENSE in the league therefore your number WILL NOT BE THE SAME. You heard it here 1 fst!!!

  7. Harrsion will definitely have a huge impact this year with the Bengals. He has been hampered by injuries the last few years and he played the last Super Bowl with the Steelers basically with no feeling in his neck and back because of the injuries he had as a result of being held constantly by offensive lineman. There was one game a few years ago where he was held during at least 20 plays and there were zero penalties called. This is a guy that took a headbut to his face and broke his orbital socket and still got in on the tackle, with no penalty called there either. If he can now hit gaps created by the front four, he is going to be a force.

  8. 6sbtitles2sweet,

    If James does have a pro bowl season and Andy does lead us to a playoff win….Come back and give us some props…Don’t hate even more with your “6sbs” comment. That’s weak sauce football fan…We enjoyed sending you home last year without the playoffs…I hope we sweep you this year but lets see how both teams end up at the end of 2013. I will be here win, lose or draw…I never run. Look forward to seeing you again…


  9. As a Steelers fan, I wish James the best in every game he plays except the two against Pitt. I will always support James Harrison style of play and think the Steelers will miss it this year. To all of those who said “you only support his head hunting, hard hitting style because you are a steelers fan and he is a steelers player”, well now he is a member of a division rival and I STILL want him to continue playing football the way it is meant to be played.

  10. What’s comical is that Bagels fans set their sights so low. Making the playoffs and losing in the first round is NOT a successful season–at least, it’s not a successful one if you’re an actual top-tier team as the Steelers (Ravens, Pats, Packers, Giants, and others) usually are.

    To a Steelers fan, the last two years have not been successful, and this year may not be, either. But unlike Bugles fans, we know our organization knows how to get it done, and we are confident that our team will be there again.

  11. jwil007,

    O trust me I’m not going any where either pal! I’ll see you soon……yea you got us last year. I’m pretty sure were up overall huh….just to jog a little past memory that really counted when we needed it to…..rememeber 05’……who dey…..don’t mess with the towel Hoosh!!!!!!

  12. mazblast
    What’s comical is that Bagels fans set their sights so low. Making the playoffs and losing in the first round is NOT a successful season–at least, it’s not a successful one if you’re an actual top-tier team as the Steelers (Ravens, Pats, Packers, Giants, and others) usually are.

    And if Bengal fans started talking about the Superbowl you’d rip us for that too. You’re just a hater, that is all.

    Bengals must be doing something right, there wasn’t all this chatter a few years ago…

  13. As a Viking fan who thinks the Vikes blew it by not selecting Andy Dalton, anyone who doesn’t think the Bengals aren’t going to be a top 3 team this year is fooling themselves. This team is nasty, and will make some huge noise this year! I’m actually excited to watch them play! I love the Coaching , and the teams knack for taking questionable “character” guys, and watching them evolve! Kudos to the team!

  14. 6sb i dont know why you re so upset over us cheering our team, thats pretty pathetic you get worked up over people cheering the team on calling us names man. Let us enjoy our winning seasons they havent come often in the past and they seem to becoming more frequent of late now that marvin lewis seems to have gotten more control from mike brown and the organization is finally taking a lot moe consistent and right decisions, hey flacco was never seen as a champion quarterback but now he is, its any given sunday man ….and just fyi the bengals are the only team to have ever swept the AFC north, something your steelers have never done nor the current super bowl champs. we re coming in hard watch out this is a yr we go back to afc championship at least

  15. Don’t listen to anything from the haters. Anyone who tells you Harrison is washed up must have put their eyes in backwards. The back issues he was dealing with have cleared up. He started the season with a knee injury but that cleared up too. Now he’s has a full, healthy offseason in the gym training. This dude trains HARD.

    He’s going to be a beast with the Bengals. He’s going to terrorize offenses, including the Steelers (unfortunately for us Steelers fans). Like someone else stated, I will be rooting for Harrison every game this year with the exception of two. You got a good one, Cincy.

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