Maybe you both missed the preseason games that myself and many others watched, that had people calling for James to start over Hagans or Foote. He stood out in preseason at both ILB and OLB.
I really hope you guys are right about Worilds. Maybe he will finally show the ability to beat an OT. I've seen him get to QBs unblocked and against RBs. And again, he looked average against scrubs in preseason games.
I would feel uneasy about our safties. our corners, our tightends and the ever lovable offensive line in addition our aging and the youthful linebackers. What the heck, might as well throw the defensive line in the mix also.
The only players that stood out in that time period at LB from the reserve role were Woodley & Timmons. The staff injected them on the field to take reps from Haggans & Foote because their talent had to get on the field. They pushed the vets out the door. Harrison & Worilds shared a different situation. They both were two back-up OLBs sitting behind aging high priced vets who showed enough promise in their limited snaps to warrant a shot at starting. That gave/gives the Steelers flexibilty with the vet and his future/current contract situation. The Harrison-Porter swap turned out great for the Steelers. We can only hope the Harrison-Worilds does the same. To be honest, I feel exactly the same way I did when Porter was released....Upset but cautiously optimistic.
I must be missing something about the Steeler defense last year and maybe those who know the X's and O's can help me out or correct my misremembering.
Early in the season (first 4 games, maybe 5), Polamalu and Harrison are on the sideline or just coming back and the run defense is getting gashed pretty good. Harrison starts playing and they are still getting it handed to them for a few games, Polamalu re-injures calf muscle and is now out until week 11 or 12. Harrison continues to play, Woodley is dinged and/or ineffective, but as the games go on the run defense is becoming more stout. When Polamalu returns with 3 or 4 games to go the defense as a whole becomes the dominant unit and is turning in performances that keep them in games.
I'm sure I missed a few things here and there, but for the most part that's it, the D-line was healthy, Timmons and Foote were healthy, Ike was healthy until the 15th game and Lewis and Clark were playing really good football. The twio differences are Harrison and Polamalu are now healthy. I guess Im not seeing this steep decline in the play of Harrison that many see. If Harrison's play declined to the point that he can't get a job, then what was the difference in the defense form the beginning of the year to the end?
First six games of the season the Steelers were 3-3 and the last six they were 2-4. Guess I don't see what a difference maker Harrison was those last six games that everyone cites as evidence he was "coming on." The fact is that Harrison hasn't been a difference maker for two seasons now and the Steelers were right not to hope he was this year for millions of dollars more than he should get.
I'm trying to be optimistic but despite Worilds stats he just hasn't been impressive to me. I am feeling a bit better after reading yours and Oviedo's posts though. :Cheers