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View Full Version : Harrison & Woodley, top 5 pass rushers?



BlitzburghRockCity
06-15-2012, 02:18 PM
If you ask most of the Steeler Nation, they'll tell you that the 2 Steeler outside linebackers are some of the best in the business. An article in Football Nation (http://www.footballnation.com/content/jared-allen-headlines-top-20-pass-rushers-nfl/15000/?ref=email) has them both listed in the top 5 of the entire NFL. Jared Allen is listed as #1. If you check out the article, they've got other notables listed as follows: Suggs listed at #11, Jason Pierre-Paul at #12, Clay Matthews at #14, and Mario Williams at #16

Agree?

3. James Harrison
The NFLís meanest player since Jack Lambert has racked up 54 sacks since becoming a starter for the Steelers in 2007.

With an average of just under 11 sacks per season during that time span, Harrison isnít as dominant statistically as Allen or Ware.

Last season Harrison only had 9 sacks, but he also played in just 11 games. When he was on the field, Harrison was just as effective as heís ever been.

Like DeMarcus Ware, Harrison has 27 forced fumbles in his career.

Nine sacks might not sound like a great season, but Harrison was ranked fifth overall by Pro Football Focus in their signature stat, pass rushing productivity.

From 2008-2010, Harrison ranked third in the league in pass rushing productivity. He hasnít slipped at all, he just got hurt. If heís healthy again next season, watch out AFC North.

Harrison might be the most unique pass rusher in the league. At 6í0Ē, heís the shortest player on this list with the exception of Elvis Dumervil. Although his build is far from the prototype of a 3-4 outside linebacker, Harrison uses his relatively short stature to his advantage.

Heís one of the strongest players in the game, not just at his position. Due to his lack of height and exceptional strength, Harrison is able to use leverage to his advantage better than any other pass rusher in the league. Since he stays extremely low in his stance before the snap, Harrison wastes absolutely no movement in his rush.

He has the best rip move in the game in my opinion, which leaves tackles hard pressed to stop him without holding, which they often do. I donít think Iíve ever seen a player held more often than James Harrison.

One of the reasons that I ranked Harrison so high is what he does for the Steelers' defense as a pass rusher. He is the second best player on what has been the NFLís best defense since he became a starter. It is largely because of the extra attention Harrison receives that LaMarr Woodley has been able to emerge as a premier pass-rushing outside linebacker. Itís also worth mentioning that although I ranked Harrison below Allen and Ware, I consider him to be a better overall player.

Iím ranking pass rushers and Harrison doesnít consistently rack up the same kind of sack numbers year in and year out that Allen and Ware do, but he is a much better player against the run. Ware might rack up more sacks, but he is a complete liability in the running game.

Since heís so committed towards rushing the passer almost every single down, he is easily trapped by pulling guards. Harrison, on the other hand, holds up very well in the run at the point of attack, and is also great in backside pursuit. Itís no accident that Harrison plays for the far superior defense, seeing as he is a more complete and unselfish player than Ware.

5. LaMarr Woodley
LaMarr Woodley isnít too far behind James Harrison anymore. Since becoming a starter in 2008, Woodley has 44 sacks, averaging 11 a year. For his career he has 7 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, and 14 passes defended.

From 2008-2010, Woodley was ranked fourth in the league in Pro Football Focusí pass rushing productivity, just one spot behind his partner in crime Harrison. There is no doubt that Woodley benefitted greatly from the attention Harrison received earlier in his career, but at this point no one is sleeping on Woodley either.

Offenses now have to prepare for him just as much as they prepare for Harrison. In the four games Harrison missed to injury last year, Woodley came through with 7.5 sacks.

Woodley is a relentless pass rusher. He has exceptional upper and lower body strength, which is fairly obvious just from looking at his massive arms and tree-trunk thighs. Heís one of the few pass rushers that youíll ever see truly run over and flat-out pancake an offensive lineman.

Complementing his knack for jumping the snap count, Woodley has excellent initial quickness off the line. He is the type of pass rusher than canít be defined just in terms of sacks because he gets so many hits and pressures on the quarterback.

Woodleyís got a really effective hand slap in his pass-rushing repertoire, to go with a host of other moves and counter-moves. He typically engages tackles before they have the chance to get their hands on him, gets under their pads, shows good leg drive, and collapses the pocket with his bull rush.

Not only is Woodley effective exploding off the edge, he also has the ability to shoot the inside gaps on stunts. Between Woodley and Harrison, quarterbacks are really forced to get the ball out quickly against the Steelers, which is the main reason they almost never give up big plays.

BubbyBlister
06-15-2012, 03:22 PM
Glad the writer mention about Harrison getting held often.

BlitzburghRockCity
06-16-2012, 01:16 AM
Harrison may not feel like he's on the way out but even with less tread on the tires he's still getting up there. I see no reason if they both stay healthy that each should be getting double digit sacks. In fact I expect that to happen the defense needs that to happen.

BlacknGoldHaze
06-16-2012, 10:30 AM
He has the best rip move in the game in my opinion, which leaves tackles hard pressed to stop him without holding, which they often do. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player held more often than James Harrison.
AMEN!It is nice to see an honest opinion in print............

The Lakelander
06-16-2012, 11:10 AM
Agreed ... what sucks is that there are very rarely any flags thrown when he's held ... Harrison's greatness is being contained by the NFL! ...

BubbyBlister
06-16-2012, 11:59 AM
Agreed ... what sucks is that there are very rarely any flags thrown when he's held ... Harrison's greatness is being contained by the NFL! ... Also robing James from being in Canton. He easily would have 20 sacks a season if he wasn't held almost every play.

coldrolled
06-16-2012, 06:58 PM
Also robing James from being in Canton. He easily would have 20 sacks a season if he wasn't held almost every play.

Maybe if he would spin move out of those headlocks he would do better.

NorCalSteel
06-17-2012, 02:56 AM
He will be in canton someday unless Goodell has something to say about it..lol. he is a great athlete. I was at a Charger, Steeler game in San Diego and watched him jump over a Charger in the open field after he picked a ball off.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-17-2012, 11:15 AM
Harrison may not feel like he's on the way out but even with less tread on the tires he's still getting up there. I see no reason if they both stay healthy that each should be getting double digit sacks. In fact I expect that to happen the defense needs that to happen.

Agree 100% the defense needs both Harrison/Woodley healthy all year wracking havoc.......Even though the D still had a top ranking I think we all know that wasn't the same Steelers D like in years past and the biggest reason was Woodley or Harrison missing games last year.....Those two are the best set of 3-4 OLBs since Lloyd/Greene..............

BubbyBlister
06-17-2012, 01:05 PM
Agree 100% the defense needs both Harrison/Woodley healthy all year wracking havoc.......Even though the D still had a top ranking I think we all know that wasn't the same Steelers D like in years past and the biggest reason was Woodley or Harrison missing games last year.....Those two are the best set of 3-4 OLBs since Lloyd/Greene.............. Yep they was fun to watch too and Greene is 3rd all time for sacks.

Root4Stlrs
06-17-2012, 03:00 PM
Great players also make big plays in big games. Arguably, James Harrison had one of the biggest plays ever and I know I don't need to say which play or game it was. I'll never forget watching him play the Monday night game in Pittsburgh against Baltimore when McNair was playing. It was a debacle for the Ravens and I loved it. Harrison was like a man possessed in that game. You couldn't even see his uniform number at the end of the game. Woodley has also had some big plays in big games - I think about the end of SB XVIII and the forced fumble. Also, during that season playing the Ravens in Pittsburgh, he ran back the fumble for a TD - can't remember all the details on that one - but that was part of a second half that saw the Steelers' season turn around so that play, to me, was key in their SB run that year.

MDSteel15
06-18-2012, 08:35 AM
Also robing James from being in Canton. He easily would have 20 sacks a season if he wasn't held almost every play.

He started way too late to make it to the HOF....

K Train
06-18-2012, 10:30 AM
they are also both GREAT against the run, its rare to have two pass rushers that can play the run just as good

jpele
06-18-2012, 11:03 AM
Not only are they good against the run but they spend way more time in pass coverage than Ware or Allen.

CowherPower
06-18-2012, 10:58 PM
The Steelers defense always plays the pass on the way to the run, no matter what kind of stats they have those 2 guys can stop the run as well as anyone. You won't see them get juked out very often in a season. I wonder if Worilds can still make it up to be on par with either of these guys at some point?