View Full Version : Steelers' Harrison on the attack

09-09-2008, 12:54 AM
Steelers' Harrison on the attack
By Scott Brown
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 87177.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_587177.html)

The way the Steelers bullied Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was reminiscent of what they did to Cleveland Browns quarterback Charlie Frye in the first game of the 2007 season.

Their 38-17 pasting of the Texans bodes well for the kind of start the Steelers enjoyed last season when they won four of their first five games.

What James Harrison, who served as the leader of the Steelers' sack parade Sunday, doesn't want to see this season is a repeat of what happened at the end of 2007, when the team lost four of its final five games.

"We got a little burned out toward the end of last year," Harrison said Monday, "and I don't think it really had that much to do with the games as far as what we did the whole year; practicing where we were just banging every day."

When asked if Steelers coach Mike Tomlin needs to consider adjusting the practice schedule later in the season to account for tired legs, Harrison said, "Yeah, you need to lighten up. You've seen how it did us last year. If that's not a good enough example, I don't know what is."

Harrison doesn't just have the subtlety of a jackhammer. He is as relentless as one too. Texans rookie left tackle Duane Brown and Schaub found that out Sunday at Heinz Field. The fifth-year veteran dropped Schaub three times and forced a turnover with one of his sacks.

Somewhere, Kevin Greene had to be smiling.

The former Steelers linebacker, who is third on the NFL's all-time sacks list, worked with Harrison and LaMarr Woodley during camp on their pass-rushing moves.

For one game at least, they showed why they might be the best pass-rushing tandem the Steelers have had at outside linebacker in more than a decade. Greene said during camp that Woodley has chance to be better than he was.

All Woodley did in his first career start was record a sack, intercept a pass and recover the fumble that Harrison caused in the fourth quarter.

"That's why we are optimistic about what we are capable of doing," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin whose team visits the Browns on Sunday night. "Because of those guys."

Even better, Harrison and Woodley acknowledge they will make each other better because of competition between them.

"For both of us, playing the same position on opposite sides of the ball, you want to try to outdo the other person on the other side of the ball," said Harrison, who had 8 1/2 sacks last season.

"He's two up," Woodley said, "but I'll catch him."

What Harrison does not want is the fatigue that he said played a factor in the Steelers' late-season malaise in 2007.

"You're padded up, hitting each other every day, and you're in Week 15, 16," said Harrison, who didn't have a sack in the Steelers' final five regular-season games. "You're still doing the same thing that you were doing in Week 1, and it takes wear and tear on your body."

The Steelers have some depth at linebacker, and Lawrence Timmons spelled Harrison during one series Sunday.

One thing the Steelers don't have to worry about with Harrison is complacency. The Steelers cut the 6-foot, 242-pounder three times before he stuck with the team, and he has never forgotten what it took for him to get where he is.

That much was evident when Harrison said he didn't allow himself so much as five minutes to enjoy what he did in the Steelers' season opener.

"Why? It's one game," Harrison said. "The next 15 games we could lose."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.