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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Harrison wants to play

Linebacker James Harrison tweeted Sunday that he's packed and ready to fly to Arizona to begin workouts in preparation for the 2015 season - not that he ever takes any time off.

Harrison would like that to be with the Steelers. But that will be entirely up to the Steelers and if they want him back.

Outside of that, it's likely the only other team Harrison would consider would be Tennessee, where he could again work with Dick LeBeau.

The Steelers likely won't know if they want Harrison to return until they see what happens in free agency.

If they lose Jason Worilds and are unable to acquire a suitable replacement, Harrison could be back. If not, they won't bring Harrison back simply to be a backup.

They need to allow Jarvis Jones to play the spot without Harrison breathing over his shoulder.

@ After the workouts of Vic Beasley and Dante Fowler Sunday, there's no chance the Steelers get a crack at either in the draft.

They'll both be top-10 picks.

Randy Gregory likely also will be gone, but he's too light in the pants for the Steelers, anyway.

The Steelers did meet with Bud Dupree of Kentucky at the combine, and he wasn't able to do a lot of the workout stuff because of an injury. But he did run a 4.56 40 at 269 pounds.

Dupree's production didn't always match that kind of athleticism, but he'll be intriguing.

So too will Eli Harold of Virginia, who worked out Sunday with the defensive linemen, then stayed on for some linebacker drills. He played some linebacker, and it showed Sunday. He was fluid in his drops and change of direction.

He also ran a 4,6 40 at 6-3, 247 pounds.

@ Local product Mike Hull had a solid weekend. He led all linebackers with 31 reps on the bench and looked fluid in the linebacker drills.

Hull's 40 time of 4.68 wasn't as fast as I'm sure he would have liked, but it was better than most and plenty fast enough to play in the NFL.


LexingtonLegend said...

I'm a big fan of Bud Dupree. I'm quite biased as a UK alum but he's also freakishly athletic. Seems like Kentucky has been doing well with linebackers lately. The titans start two with Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard. The Broncos have Danny Trevathan. Along with Dupree, Z'darius Smith is trying to get drafted. His 40 time was rather slow though.

LexingtonLegend said...

Regarding James Harrison I'd feel much better about the team if he came back.

Anonymous said...

Count me in on Bud Dupree. Love his size and strength, experience as a DE and LB and most of all, his ability to rush the passer. Not just coverage sacks or coming in unblocked, he is beating OT with a variety of moves.

adamg said...

Dale, do the Steelers have any interest in Pitt's Todd Thomas? He's not really big enough for LB, but he's a terrific athlete and is aggressive on the field. I could see him as a safety in the mold of Chancellor.

Dale Lolley said...

If the Steelers signed Thomas, it would be as a camp body. Don't see him as an NFL player.

Jerry Lynch said...

@ Dale Lolley: How can you consider a man 6'2" and 230 lbs. only a "camp body?" I've been unable to find out his speed but if he is fast enough he could play a hybrid defensive back/LB much as Trot has done over the years. His current (college) playing weight may be a bit light for the LB position exclusively but it seems much the same thing as was said about some small school guy named Jack Lambert.

Anonymous said...

"They need to allow Jarvis Jones to play the spot without Harrison breathing over his shoulder."

Why?????? Is JJ's psyche that fragile?

Why not let em compete in the preseason and let the best man win?

Why not give Jervis some competition for a starting spot instead of just handing it to him?

What has Jervis done yet to be handed the job?

Maybe if Jervis had to compete for the job he might decide to see what the inside of weight room looks like.

Then again, maybe one of Greg Lloyd's golfing buddies can take over for Jervis.

Joe Jones said...

Could we be overlooking the idea of an offensive tackle in the first round?
Better protection = better Ben, we saw what things looked like when you take away his check down.

Anonymous said...

Could Harrison man the right side?

Worlids is as good as gone.

Tim said...

What about moving Jarvis Jones to LOLB? Is the team considering that?

I'm a Jarvis supporter, but I don't see him ever having much pass-rushing success against NFL LTs. I think he's a 5 sack guy there. I think a move to the left side could boost him like it did Worilds, and he could be a 8-10 sack guy.

Dale Lolley said...

You're seriously comparing Todd Thomas to Jack Lambert? Get real.

Lambert is a Hall of Fame linebacker. Thomas played on a horrid defense.

I don't care what his size is. I've seen plenty of guys over the years who were 6-5, 280 and nothing but camp bodies.

Offensive tackle could be a fallback option. There's a lot of time to sift through all of this stuff.

adamg said...

In Thomas' defense, he got shuffled around/in and out of the line up a lot by the various coaches he had at Pitt. I don't think he ever got settled there. He also had a couple health problems with his knees and elbow that set him back some.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, they need Harrison to teach these young players how to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Dale Lolley said...

Oh, and Harrison has played on both sides over the years. He was the backup to both Porter and Haggans early on.

But the strong side guy has more coverage duties - on the tight end side more often - and that is definitely not James' strong suit.

But they have played other guys over there over the years who weren't strong in coverage.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the LOLB typically covers any more than the ROLB. In Cover 3 in their base 34 the SS takes the left flat and the ROLB drops into the right flat. LOLB rushes. Over the years that was their was their preferred coverage and base.

Maybe that was different last year with less C3. Dunno. In packages, both tend to rush. Not always, but usually/generally.

I keep hearing about how much Worilds dropped last year. Numbers like 30 to 40%. I have a hard time believing that.

Where is that coming from anyways? The coaches or PFF?

Anonymous said...

PFF isn't all that, but I'm pretty sure they can figure out the difference between rushing the passer and dropping into coverage on a pass play and counting those.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, maybe not. Worilds was on the field for 571 pass plays. If he dropped on 30% of those that's 171 coverage drops. Or better than 10 a game.

I haven't gone back and counted specifically, but I have rewatched a half dozen games in the past month paying attention to nickel and base tendencies to see if some other project I'm working on is tracking properly. And of those games (Cle1,Bal1, Ind, NO, KC, Cin2) Indy was the only game Worilds sniffed 10. Maybe I just picked all the wrong games. But he'd have to average around 13 or 14 drops in all the rest to hit 170. Or maybe they count a drop differently. I only considered actual drops into coverage. And not cutting a rush short and finding a TE or RB to hug up on whenever the QB abbreviated his drop on alert for screens/hots/dumps. But even still, 170 is a lot and I don't know if those are enough to make up the difference. Or should even be counted as dropping into coverage if they are.

Could just be they misidentified Worilds or confused 98 with 93 for example. VW afterall was an unexpected addition to their nickel package.

Anonymous Brian said...

I think they should sign Harrison now.

He was their best pass rusher last year. I wouldn't be worried about having "too many" of those, or Jarvis Jones's feelings.

I don't see how having Harrison on the team isn't, by far, a net plus.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Harrison will set a pretty lofty standard in terms of dedication and work ethic, I don't know how much of that will translate to the field when you're in your late 30's but it'll at least motivate people not to be out-worked by an "old" man.

Steve-O said...

I did a little post-combine research and there seems to be a growing opinion amongst mock drafters that Eli Harold will become a Steeler. The kid certainly holds promise but I don't see him contributing right away. With that in mind I'd be more inclined to take a cornerback and play him in the dime package and special teams. Of course if the Steelers lose Worilds then you have to go OLB first.

marc said...

dale, are the steelers expecting shamarko to step in as the starting SS?

I think the first two rounds almost have to be OLB/CB, in either order, unless something freaky happens.

Noel said...

An overlooked element in Worilds' dropping into coverage vs. having the other OLB drop into coverage is that Harrison really couldn't do that any more and that made the defence more one-dimensional despite how well he rushed. We need that flexibility back and that's why I'd rather not see Harrison back as a starter as much as love the way he plays the game.

marc said...

if Harrison starts at OLB next year then something has gone wrong.

Joe Jones said...

Thanks dale.
I remember Todd Thomas when he signed with Pitt as WR. Wasn't aware that he was a highly touted prospect. Infact, I'm pretty sure he's not. Might be worth a look tho.

I think the corner from Washington is worth taking a shot at. Franchise CB's are just as rare as Franchise QB's, and we have Jameis Winston going 1st overall, so I'd have no problem with
Marcus Peters.