News & Analysis

James Harrison set to play his first game as a Patriot

Aug 20, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) enters the stadium before playing the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

  • New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison, who was signed after his release from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the week, expects to be ready to play in his team’s Week 17 clash against the New York Jets, per Erik Scalavino of the Patriots’ official website.
  • The veteran has been one of the most dominating players in the NFL for the better part of a decade and has graded in the top-20 at his position in nine of the last 12 seasons, including five top-10 finishes. Despite being over 35 years of age, Harrison has shown no signs of slowing down over recent seasons and registered overall grades of 85.3 and 86.7, (12th- and 10th-best among his peers, respectively), in 2015 and 2016, the last two seasons in which he saw significant playing time.
  • Even in the twilight years of his stellar career, the veteran edge rusher has been one of the most effective pass-rushers in the NFL. From 2015 to 2016, Harrison racked up a total of 81 quarterback pressures (16th-most among outside linebackers) and posted a cumulative pass-rush productivity of 12.5, the eighth-best mark among outside linebackers with at least 300 pass-rush snaps in that span.
  • This season, Harrison saw limited action in Pittsburgh and played just 40 snaps in five games. Despite this, he was still as productive as ever in the pass rush, and generated four quarterback pressures on his 17 pass-rush snaps. If he can maintain this level of production in New England, he will almost certainly provide an upgrade to the Patriots pass-rush as they move forward into the post season.

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