The Cincinnati Bengals signed linebacker James Harrison to a two-year, $4.5 million contract earlier this year to be a factor on defense. Obviously, several fans and players were ecstatic about the move considering the reputation Harrison has built for himself. However, the 35-year-old has yet to live up to the hype.
Through three games this season, Harrison has recorded just one tackle. Obviously, this is not what the Bengals had in mind when they acquired him in the offseason. They expect Harrison to be a dominant force who commands the full attention of the offense. The good news is Cincinnati’s defensive coaches are not even close to being worried about the 10-year player.
“He’s good,” defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said, according to ESPN.com. “He’ll be an impact.”
Zimmer fully expected Harrison to take some time to adjust to the defensive scheme that has been implemented. The blitz packages the Bengals utilize can be complicated, especially when Harrison is required to line up in different areas on the field.
“I was calling so many blitzes and he was going to be in a different spot, so it was going to be a little unnerving for him because he had a short time to learn all of them,” Zimmer told ESPN.com.
Another reason the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker has only appeared in 57 snaps this season is because any time Cincinnati falls behind Harrison will not be on the gridiron. The reason is because he is not a linebacker who drops into pass coverage.
Fans may be disappointed by Harrison’s play through the first three games. However, there is no question he is someone that will have a huge impact on the team in the very near future.