Harrison's return adds to Steelers' pass-rush punch

Posted Oct. 06, 2012 @ 12:25 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

If ROLB James Harrison can return to form after missing time early this season with a knee injury, a defense that couldn’t quite get enough stops in early-season losses to the Broncos and Raiders will benefit. The Steelers’ pass rush hasn’t been as ferocious without Harrison, notching just five sacks in the first three games. Harrison’s presence gives the Steelers two proven edge-rushing threats with LaMarr Woodley on the opposite side. Said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau: "I think when you have [Harrison] and LaMarr in there together, it’s more difficult for the offense to single on which side they want to protect because both are very accomplished pass rushers.”

One league evaluator, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested leading up to Week Five that Harrison could take a few games to shake off the rust, considering the time he had missed, though he would likely show flashes of top skill even early on his return. Harrison had nine sacks in just 11 regular-season games in 2011 and has played at a high level since entering the starting lineup in 2007, so his return is definitely a positive for Pittsburgh.