If you’re in the group of people that believes the defense run by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is outdated and no longer effective, linebacker James Harrison vehemently disagrees with you.
“That’s bull. The defense works,” Harrison said recently, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Players have to play the defense. Period. It’s on the players.”
Harrison, who was easily coaxed out of retirement after starter Jarvis Jones suffered a wrist injury in the Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers, has recorded 5 total tackles since being signed.
Earlier in the week, Harrison agreed with recent comments made by former head coach Bill Cowher and wide receiver Hines Ward about the Steelers defense being soft following the loss last Sunday to the Cleveland Browns.
“I would give the same opinion, that’s what it looked like,” Harrison said, according to Bill Phillips of WPXI-TV.
In other words, Harrison was saying that he believes several of his teammates aren’t getting the job done and he reinforced those comments to Dulac.
“Let’s be plain and honest, let’s cut out all the bull — it’s about you dominating your man, period,” he said. “That’s all there is to it. That is what Aaron Smith did. That’s what Casey Hampton did. That’s what they did. They dominated.”
While the Steelers pass defense has been far from even being considered average this year, their run defense has looked even worse at times. LeBeau has long stated that his defense revolves around stopping the run first and until that happens, you can expect the backend to continue to have problems.
Monday night against the Houston Texans, the Steelers defense will face an offense that is expected to run early and often. Unless their front seven starts dominating instead of being dominated, the defense will likely to continue to wear the soft tag in addition to being saddled with their fourth loss of the season.
Like it or not, Harrison hasn’t come close to being the dominating player that he once was. If he and the rest of his defensive teammates truly believe that LeBeau’s scheme still works, they better start proving it Monday night by dominating the Texans offensive line. If they don’t, Harrison’s final season in the league might very well be LeBeau’s final one as well.