Dallas Cowboys' Adams will have his hands full with Steelers' LB Harrison
10:56 PM CST on Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Flozell Adams went to the Pro Bowl last season. So did Matt Light. But Pro Bowl stripes don't seem to impress Pittsburgh Steelers weakside linebacker James Harrison.
Harrison is the best player on the best defense in the NFL. It'll be Adams' job to block him Sunday, when the Cowboys visit the Steelers. Tony Romo can only hope Adams puts up a better fight than Light did last Sunday for the New England Patriots.
Harrison was a one-man wrecking crew, stalking Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel into his worst performance of the season. Harrison made nine tackles and sacked Cassel twice, both times causing a fumble that was recovered by the Steelers. Cassel finished the day 19-of-39 for 169 yards and two interceptions in a 33-10 loss to Pittsburgh.
That kind of effort has become the norm for Harrison, who went to his first Pro Bowl in 2007, when he led the AFC with seven forced fumbles and led his team with 8 ½ sacks. He's playing even better this season. Harrison leads the NFL with six forced fumbles and ranks third in the league with 14 sacks.
Undrafted out of Kent State in 2002, Harrison was cut twice by the Steelers and spent the bulk of two seasons on the club's practice roster before earning a roster spot in 2004 covering kicks on special teams.
Harrison spent three seasons learning how to play linebacker the Steeler way in the 3-4 scheme, showing flashes with a fumble return for a touchdown in 2004, an interception of Drew Brees in 2005 and three tackles against Cincinnati in his only start in 2006.
The Steelers were convinced Harrison was ready in 2007 and cut Pro Bowler Joey Porter to create a starting spot for him. A blend of power and speed, Harrison was team MVP of the AFC North champions.
Adams runs hot and cold as a pass protector. Sunday had better be one of his hot days for the Cowboys to have a chance against the 9-3 Steelers and NFL's best defense.