With the Pittsburgh at a bye week halfway through their season, it is a great time to reflect on the first half of the season. Using a random number a generator, we will pick a group of players on the roster and see whether or not they have met preseason expectations to date, and whether or not they can hit those expectations in the second half of the year. Today, we look at James Harrison.
The Steelers slowly but surely prepared us for this. After the first preseason game, Joey Porter mentioned that Harrison would be used as a relief pitcher to rookie T.J. Watt. The young and athletic Watt can exude his energy on tackles, and the closer James Harrison can finish them off with power and technique.
Through Eight Weeks
Watt has overshot those expectations and in no way needs a closer. This has almost rendered James Harrison useless. Harrison has played in five-percent of the team’s defensive snaps on the season. In two games he was straight up inactive and in two games he was inactive but played zero snaps. He did play in 15 snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs, and Eric Fisher, a left tackle he beat to seal the AFC Divisional round playoff game in the 2016 season. He got another sack off of Fisher, but it is his only sack on the year, and really his only chance to record one.
Second half outlook
It doesn’t feel like this is going to change. 15 snaps in a game may be a ceiling for Harrison, and he may only hit that bar in one or two games moving forward. Watt is playing exceptionally well and the team does need to sub him out for Harrison. Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo play special teams, so it will be interesting to see if Harrison will be inactive at any points throughout the next half of the year.