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Hawaii 5-0 11-30-2012 12:06 AM

Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
Steelers linebacker Harrison is heating up

By Mark Kaboly
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/si...YPE=image/jpeg

Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler has coached James Harrison enough to know when he isn’t healthy, and through the first month Harrison was on the field following knee surgery, Butler knew the All-Pro linebacker wasn’t fully recovered.

For a player who bases his game on power and leverage, Harrison had neither.

“If you can’t bend your knee … you don’t have as much power,” Butler said.

Slowly, the power has returned and Harrison is rounding into shape as the Steelers head down the home stretch in what has become almost a weekly must-win situation.

Harrison has recorded a sack in back to back games for the first time since the start of the 2011 season and took his game to another level against the Browns last week when he added 10 solo tackles.

“The Cleveland game and the Baltimore game he looked like he was running like he usually does,” Butler said. “This was the first time I saw him look like he used to look. He looks like he is about there.”

It’s been a slow and tedious process for Harrison, who sat out of the majority of offseason practices before electing to have surgery during the middle of training camp.

“Each week is better. Each week there’s a little more explosion back in the knee,” Harrison said.

Harrison’s knee won’t likely get to 100 percent any time this season, but he now is healthy enough to pressure the quarterback from where it is most expected — outside linebacker.

The Steelers have 12 sacks by their outside linebackers: Jason Worilds five, LaMarr Woodley four, Harrison three. That projects to be the fewest from that position since coach Mike Tomlin’s rookie year of 2007, when they had 161⁄2.

Overall, Steelers linebackers have only 16 sacks. San Francisco’s outside linebacker Aldon Smith has 161⁄2.

“Yeah, that’s not enough for us,” Butler said. “People are getting rid of the ball against us is one reason, but we want to have more than that, that’s for sure.”

The Steelers are hoping that some of those sacks come from Worilds, who will fill in for the injured Woodley (ankle) Sunday in Baltimore.

Worilds leads the team in sacks despite playing only 40 percent of defensive snaps. That includes three games he didn’t get on the field.

“It can be frustrating at times (waiting),” Worilds said. “Coach says that the hardest position on the field is being a backup.”

Worilds had his best game of his short career last week against Cleveland when he filled in for Woodley and had five tackles, two sacks and a pass defense.

“He is finally figuring out what he is supposed to be doing,” Butler said. “There was hesitancy when he started to play because he didn’t know what he was doing.”

Worilds was drafted in the second round in 2010 and made the switch from defensive end to linebacker. The transition hasn’t been smooth. He saw limited action his first two years and missed all summer and training camp workouts coming back from wrist surgery.

Butler has full confidence in Worilds if …

“As long as he plays with a sense of urgency, and that’s my biggest fault with him up until this point,” Butler said. “When he does, he is a pretty good football player.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2DgBv8qtp

tony hipchest 11-30-2012 02:02 AM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
so basically worlids has been playing a bit tenative because he is still catching up with the complex defense and still making the transition from college DE to NFL LB?

it was so much easier when we were plucking tweener atheletes like him in the 5th round back in the 1990's when immediate expectations were much lower.

steelfury02 11-30-2012 09:16 AM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tony hipchest (Post 1055883)
so basically worlids has been playing a bit tenative because he is still catching up with the complex defense and still making the transition from college DE to NFL LB?

it was so much easier when we were plucking tweener atheletes like him in the 5th round back in the 1990's when immediate expectations were much lower.

Question for you Tony - or for anyone really - would it make sense to put Worilds in the formation at the same time as Harrison and Woodley? I was thinking of ways they might come out and show something really different to create more pressure/turnover opportunities.

Terminator 11-30-2012 09:43 AM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
Can Worilds transition to MLB and replace Larry Foote?

67 calsteel 11-30-2012 09:51 AM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
it can be done.
simple way- take foote out,move Harrison inside and worlds to harrison's olb spot.

Get everyone upset way 4-3
woodley,mc clendon,hampton,keisel can add hood for hampton for pass rush
worlds,timmon and harrison at linebacker

steelfury02 11-30-2012 10:02 AM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 67 calsteel (Post 1055936)
it can be done.
simple way- take foote out,move Harrison inside and worlds to harrison's olb spot.

Get everyone upset way 4-3
woodley,mc clendon,hampton,keisel can add hood for hampton for pass rush
worlds,timmon and harrison at linebacker

I was even thinking of just taking him and adding to line in place of hood for pure rush - just shooting the shit

Hawaii 5-0 11-30-2012 12:38 PM

Re: Steelers LB James Harrison is heating up
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by steelfury02 (Post 1055938)
I was even thinking of just taking him and adding to line in place of hood for pure rush - just shooting the shit

I have been thinking the same thing,

Worilds may still not understand all of the complexities of LeBeau's defense but there's no reason why he couldn't be used more often as a situational pass rusher since that is what he seemingly does best.


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