Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site: http://www.observer-reporter.com/section/BLOGS08

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Big news Tuesday

The Steelers have officially signed former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison to a contract to return to the team and help improve the depth at a position that was beaten up in the win over Carolina with injuries to Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones.

Harrison, an outside linebacker, will improve the team's depth at outside linebacker, where the backup would have been inside linebacker Terence Garvin had nothing been done.

Jones was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after suffering a wrist injury in the 37-19 win at Carolina.

Harrison, 36, last played for the Steelers in 2012. He spent the 2013 season with the Cincinnati Bengals after being released when he refused to take a salary cut.

Harrison is no longer the pass rusher he once was, but he is still a very good run defender. I would expect the Steelers to use both he and Moats, who has shown himself to be a solid pass rusher after coming over from Buffalo in the offseason, in a rotation opposite Jason Worilds.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said Harrison likely won't play this week when the Steelers host Tampa Bay, as the team eases him into things and finds out how much of the defense he has retained while also testing his conditioning.

In other news, Tomlin said Sean Spence will replace Shazier at inside linebacker until the rookie is ready to return from his sprained MCL in a couple of weeks.

At cornerback, the situation is a little more in flux.

While Antwon Blake moved into the cornerback rotation against the Panthers, Tomlin said the team will take a look at Brice McCain and B.W. Webb there as well.

The team is intent on keeping William Gay in the slot on passing downs, and he's done a great job there the past two seasons. But Blake and McCain are both 5-9, while Webb is 5-11.

Webb would seem to be the best suited to play on the outside, though Blake does have a 40-plus-inch vertical leap.

Rookie Shaq Richardson could also be activated from the practice squad, but it's doubtful he would be an option on the outside just yet. That would be more of a move to help out on special teams.

Safety Shamarko Thomas played the nickel role at times as a rookie, but he was in the slot and has not done any work there this year with Gay playing well and Blake and McCain also learning that position.

@ Tomlin also said that rookie receiver Dri Archer and guard Ramon Foster, both of whom missed the game against the Panthers will ankle injuries, could return this week.

29 comments:

marc said...

will Harrison play special teams? would love to see him down field laying someone out.

probably the best they could do in this situation. steelers are fortunate to have winless teams the next two weeks. hope they can capitalize while learning to get over these injuries.

Anonymous said...

"Harrison is no longer the pass rusher he once was, but he is still a very good run defender. I would expect the Steelers to use both he and Moats, who has shown himself to be a solid pass rusher after coming over from Buffalo in the offseason"

Glad you got that in there, both very good points. You never want to see someone get injured but honestly this could be a blessing in disguise.

"will Harrison play special teams? would love to see him down field laying someone out." Lol that's a joke right?

marc said...

yes and no. I know he won't play special teams, but it would also be cool to see him go full circle and destroy someone on a punt return.

adamg said...

I saw that video of Deebo not only taking the ALS challenge, but sitting in an ice filled tub for 10 minutes! I think he'll be fine, esp if his back is ok.

Theosa said...

I agree Harrison would help in run defense and will play in rotation albeit a lot less snaps than Moats. I was hoping Steelers will make some kind of trade or give future picks to acquire a decent corner from another team. I saw Blake on game film and he is like Dri Archer of defense, he got speed but is very small.

Anonymous said...

With Deebo knowing this is it, and the respect that he has for this organization, I expect him to lay it all on the line. Not that he didn't do that before, but you know what I'm getting at.

Can Moats play inside with Timmons?

So much for getting younger for the time being, I hope we have 50 cent back by Ravens week.

Zeke

Easley said...

Has there been an official diagnosis on Shazier yet?

Anonymous said...

I wish there was someone we could sign at CB. We have so little depth there.

I hope Shamarko sees the field more now.

BlackNGold said...

Is McCullers going to give up 92?

Anonymous said...

Play McCullers at CB!!! It's the solution to all our problems!!!

Imagine the jam he could put on at the line!!

Theosa said...

McCullers would be Steelers NT next year, McLendon would be the DE providing breaks to McCullers :) Steelers will finally sign or draft a CB, life is good!!!!

Anonymous said...

"McCullers would be Steelers NT next year, McLendon would be the DE providing breaks to McCullers :)"

Seriously stop being ridiculous.

Theosa said...

Stop hiding, get a name or sould I give you one? A have a few good ones for you!

You're Mom said...

List em moron. I'd like for you to say McCullers should take over McLendon's job to his face.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha You're Mom. That guy doesn't know proper english

Snarky said...

Tomlin and Colbert have done it again. They ignored a position of weakness and now that Taylor is hurt there is no one ready to start opposite Allen. Lake is an excellent coach but he has to have something to work with.

adamg said...

Initial report was that Shazier has a sprained MCL, figure 2 to 4 weeks out of action.

Theosa said...

“List em moron. I'd like for you to say McCullers should take over McLendon's job to his face”
“Hahaha You're Mom. That guy doesn't know proper English”
You’re not fooling anyone troll, you are the same person!
It’s funny, thanks to internet, every mouse and squirrel out there can hide behind the keyboard and act like tiger, lol. You don’t strike me as a person who could say this to my face. It’s a blog everyone is free to comment, you don’t like it don’t read it. My comments here is not like my d*ck, so don’t take it too hard :)

Anonymous said...

“List em moron. I'd like for you to say McCullers should take over McLendon's job to his face”
“Hahaha You're Mom. That guy doesn't know proper English”
You’re not fooling anyone troll, you are the same person!

Lol no really you figured that out all on your own? Yea i'm 4'6 95 lbs but don't let that fool you. I could hit you in your Lady parts and you still wouldn't do anything.

Anonymous said...

Actually there are several people who think you're obsession with McCullers is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

like McCullers mom, for one

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, I know there are a lot of internet tough guys out there, but this debate isn’t going to be resolved until somebody brings somebody’s mother into it…. I meant won’t be resolved until a few seasons from now. Just remember, we’re all rooting for the same team.

The upcoming game has all the markings of a trap game. The last couple of seasons, the Steelers have managed to played down to their opponents and lose to teams like the Raiders, the Titans and the Vikings. It’s hard to get up for teams like the Bucs and Jags, but come December, every win counts in the standings and seedings. The Bucs are average in defense and are a getting a couple of players back. Their offense sucks but the Steelers need to take them seriously. I have a feeling that the Steelers might not be as good as they showed in Charlotte the other night and the Bucs aren’t as bad as the blowout on Thursday in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dale - With Ike down, any chance Steelers make a run at Morris Claiborne? He's young, good pedigree and can benefit from Carnell. His contract would be an issue but, all things are possible. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I doubt the Cowboys want to trade Claiborne at this point, even with the walkout. Plus, he hasn't been very good for them.

Just because they signed Harrison doesn't mean they're done looking at cornerbacks. Harrison just happens to live in Pittsburgh, so it was a quick, easy signing.

Steve-O said...

Dale I noticed you referred to Archer as a rookie "receiver". The team website lists him as a WR/RB so I suppose your label is accurate. That said, I've always seen him as a gadget runninback who can catch the ball. Do you see his role primarily as a receiver or am I reading too much into it?

Anonymous said...

I found this researching for fantasy football. It's some Tampa Bay Bucs article. Just like you predicted Dale.

"Pittsburgh had a couple of rough weeks to begin the season, allowing opposing running backs to run rampant. However, the team really began to get it together on the defensive side of the ball in Week 3 against the Panthers, allowing a total of just 42 yards on the ground.

Mike McCarn/Associated Press
The Steelers have been getting consistently better against opposing running backs each week.

According to ESPN.com, the team has decreased its fantasy points given up to ball-carriers each week, giving up 29 to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, 15 to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 and just six to the Panthers in Week 3.

This Pittsburgh defense is becoming a formidable opponent for any running back—especially one in a timeshare—and under the guidance of defensive guru Dick LeBeau, that will continue to hold true despite the likely absence of linebackers Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones on Thursday."

Joe Jones said...

How about Champ Baily?

Joe Jones said...

How about Champ Baily?

Dale Lolley said...

No, Archer is both. I probably should have just put RB if I'm only going to list one.

I would guess they at least kick the tires on Bailey, but I don't think he's got anything left.