Newsday's Bob Glauber goes the extra yard for the inside scoop on the NFL.
Harrison will rush the passer more
Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison used to be one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL, although he had been more involved in pass coverage his last few seasons with Pittsburgh. But now that he is with Cincinnati, the Steelers’ AFC North rival, Harrison will be asked to rush the passer more.
Fine by Harrison.
“With some of the stuff they're doing now, it looks like I may be rushing a little more than I had in previous years,” Harrison said, via Geoff “Butch” Hobson (or, Hawbson, as we like to call the Bahston native) of Bengals.com. “I think I'll be covering a little less here.”
The transition is somewhat slow for Harrison, who has been used to playing for veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. But Harrison is joining a defense led by another respected coordinator, Mike Zimmer, so the change doesn’t seem too drastic.
The biggest change is the scheme; Harrison played outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, while he’s now the strong-side linebacker in Zimmer’s 4-3 defense.
“It's just that I'll switch where I'm lining up,” he said. “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. Their terminology is some of the same terminology, but it means something different. Every now and then I'll revert to doing something that was previously done with the Steelers but means something different here. Once I get the terminology together and just getting used to certain fits, I think I'll be all right.”
Marvin Lewis likes what he sees.
“I've watched James since he's been in the league,” Lewis said. “Each week we're playing the common opponents and so forth. So he's a great fit and an easy fit to plug and play with and what we're doing. A lot of our principles are identical to what he learned as a player in Pittsurgh, some things that I have transferred through the years. So it's been a pretty easy transition for him, and as he keeps going, we keep having an opportunity to expand on his skills and his ability in what we do defensively.”