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mesaSteeler
08-09-2009, 10:50 AM
Steelers: Blocking Harrison hard call
Sunday, August 09, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09221/989662-66.stm?cmpid=sports.xml

A crew of NFL officials who spent the past several days in training camp with the Steelers showed a video, examples of some of the new rules in the league.

There's the Hines Ward rule about crackback blocking to the neck and head area, the Tom Brady lower-leg hit rule, the Denver-San Diego lost fumble rule and a handful of other no-nos the owners made illegal in a March vote.

The Steelers, especially one certain NFL defensive player of the year, still await the James Harrison Clothesline Rule. That's the one where 6-foot-6, 340-pound left tackles, about to get beaten like a drum by the 6-foot Harrison, stick out their left arm. Instead of hanging a blanket from it to dry, the beefy arm catches Harrison under the chin and saves a quarterback for another play.

It's mostly a legal tactic.

"Now, that's something we got to talk about," said Harrison, lunging at the topic as if it were carrying a football.

He has asked the officials about it this week, and he got some answers. Three of them hail from the Pittsburgh area, brothers Gene and Tony Steratore, and Jeff Bergman. They are at Saint Vincent along with some college officials and renowned retired NFL official Red Cashion, now their assistant supervisor.

They were mostly empathetic with Harrison but sometimes, just like him, their hands are tied. Gene Steratore, a referee, explained that the clothesline tactic actually is legal in many cases. It depends on whether the tackle slings his arm up there as a last-ditch effort to keep Harrison from getting to the quarterback (illegal), or if in the process of Harrison's rip move, he gets beneath the tackle and under the arm himself (legal).

"I hear it as an official, 'They're holding on every play, they're holding on every play.' They're really not," Steratore said.

It's not a snapshot of a play, said Bergman, a line judge.

"As Harrison comes off his edge, you'll see the offensive lineman's left arm up around his neck and you'll say, 'Look he has a headlock almost.' We have to try to see it from the very beginning to the end."

Harrison set the Steelers record with 16 sacks last season and one of his advantages actually is that at only 6 feet tall, he can use great leverage against taller tackles. But, because he also is only 6 feet, those tall tackles' arms settle in around his neck and at times it appears they're putting a choke hold on him.

"The ref told me if he has his arm around me on the front, and my feet are past his feet, then that's a hold," Harrison said. "We'll see if that works, if that's called."

No matter what the officials told them, his teammates believe he's justified in complaining about the tactic. They watched many times as Harrison beat an offensive tackle, only to be impeded by his outstretched left arm.

"He gets held all game," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who plays next to Harrison. "I understand where the refs are saying if we call it all game, it'll turn into something. But we have to get a few of them. I mean, he's beating people constantly.

"He probably would have had 30 sacks last year if guys wouldn't hold him like they do."

Harrison became a starter in 2007 and he believes word got around quickly among the offensive linemen of how to "block" him.

He explained the conspiracy probably goes like this:

"If you get your arm around his neck or somewhere along there, just hold it long enough until he throws the ball. Sometimes they'll call it, most of the time they won't call it.

"I think they're rolling the dice. The only thing you can do is try and lift the arm off."

As it was, offenses treated him differently last season than they did in 2007, Harrison said.

"They started turning their offensive linemen toward me, keeping a back in to check. Sometimes you had the tackle and guard, they both set to you. I get used to it."

Harrison turned 31 and signed a fat contract extension this year. He says he feels better and stronger entering training camp now than he did last summer because of an adjustment in his training routine.

"I'm down two percent of my body fat, less body fat than I had my whole career."

And the man who authored the longest play in Super Bowl history when he returned an interception of Kurt Warner 100 yards at the end of the first half in February, relishes all thoughts that he might be the new prototype pass rusher.

"I might be changing the trend!" said Harrison, imagining a conversation between scout and young player: "You might be the new James Harrison. We need a 6-foot guy, 5-10 to 6 foot. That's it, outside linebacker."

And bring along a strong neck.

Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09221/989662-66.stm?cmpid=sports.xml#ixzz0NhXswVGQ

wootawnee
08-09-2009, 02:10 PM
Jimmy gotta step up his game and get a dip move like Dwight Freeney.......Just make some new moves and quit complaining...........Be original..........The world always welcomes new moves like it welcomes new songs if they are great..........Out side the Box Bra......... Like the....... MOONWALK

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef011570a5b101970c-800wi

revefsreleets
08-09-2009, 03:28 PM
So...um...it's okay and legal for them to take his head off?

OOOOooooookkkkkkaaaaaaayyyyyyy....

fansince'76
08-09-2009, 03:46 PM
If the refs are going to look the other way when Harrison gets choke held, maybe they'll look the other way if he starts administering head slaps. Doubtful, though.

Milkman
08-09-2009, 03:51 PM
The refs are always trying to protect the QB, but the last time I checked they are still "football players" playing "football". :banging:

tony hipchest
08-09-2009, 09:36 PM
whats that... 4 anti-steeler rules that will be inacted or finally enforced/not enforced this season?

-ward rule
-clark rule
-you cant hit brady/re-emphasis of von oelhoffen rule
-and the "you cant call holding on harrisons opponents" rule.

that has got to be a record. :banging:

expect the zone blitz to be banned next season and goodell to banish dick lebeau to ireland or zimbabwe for some bogus amassador role.

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
08-09-2009, 10:28 PM
Soon enough the NFL Rulebook is going to be longer than War and Peace!

Preacher
08-10-2009, 12:10 AM
whats that... 4 anti-steeler rules that will be inacted or finally enforced/not enforced this season?

-ward rule
-clark rule
-you cant hit brady/re-emphasis of von oelhoffen rule
-and the "you cant call holding on harrisons opponents" rule.

that has got to be a record. :banging:

expect the zone blitz to be banned next season and goodell to banish dick lebeau to ireland or zimbabwe for some bogus amassador role.

Well, it all just means that the 2000s steelers are, in one more way, statistically achieving the same status as the 70's steelers.

devo_17
08-10-2009, 12:45 AM
If you think the NFL was bad on hits on the quarterback just wait till you see Tom Brady this year. You wont be able to get within 2 ft of him when the ball is gone. The NFL trying to protect their assets which must not be Champs.