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James Harrison Is Selected AFC Defensive Player For The Month Of November.

 

December 7, 2007 - Tomorrow the NFL will announce James Harrison has been selected AFC Defensive Player of November.  In four games Harrison posted five and a half sacks, forced six fumbles, one forced fumble, one interception, to go along with nineteen tackles. 

Affectionately known by teammates as "Silverback" James Harrison has wreaked havoc in 2007.  Many feel he has helped the Steelers to improve at the position.  There is a nastiness in Harrison which is finally being noticed.  He has a tendency to separate players from the ball.  Many simply separate the ball from the player while James Harrison does both.  Harrison is noted in articles as a very nice, likeable person.  His mother claims responsibility for his steadfast approach to the game.   Steeler Nation should be very thankful for Mildred Harrison's tactics.  The Steelers' opponents are reaping the fallout for certain.  The whole city hopes it happens this weekend at undefeated New England in Foxboro. 

Pittsburgh is known for letting players go at the optimum time, when their careers are on the downswing.  The majority of players released by the Steelers have not caught on in their new homes they way they did in Pittsburgh.  The Steelers allowed Joey Porter to fly the free agent market, where he landed in Miami for $20 million.  It's an expensive adjustment period that has upset many in Miami.  Porter has been nicked up all year and Zack Thomas just went in Injured Reserve.  Porter sees Jason Taylor play weak side, his old position with Pittsburgh.

Back when the Steelers made it clear Joey Porter would not be staying people questioned the ability of James Harrison to step in.  When the Steelers drafted Linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Lamar Woodley many assumed it was to be a rookie starting on the rush side of the defense to replace Porter.  Others suspected Harrison's time had come.  Those who followed James Harrison's career closely always wished the Steelers had been rotating him into the game over 2004, 2005 and 2006.  There was '04 in Cleveland when Harrison filled in for Porter after he was ejected before the start of the game; Harrison played admirably and the Steelers did not skip a beat.  He also slammed a Cleveland fan who had run on the field into oblivion.  In '05 he intercepted Brees and hurdled Ladanian Tomlinson in San Diego.  Those were the stages where the nation first took some kind of notice of James Harrison. 

In the words of Bill Cowher, James Harrison has "capitalized on the opportunity and seized it."  In the game against Baltimore on Monday Night, Harrison had the greatest single statistical defensive game of any player since Lawrence Taylor in 1982.  He forced 3 fumbles and had another one overturned by penalty.  He had nine tackles, one assist, three and a half sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery. 

Harrison leads the team in sacks for the season with eight and fumble recoveries with three.  He is second on the team with tackles at sixty five.  James Farrior leads with seventy one.  Look for James Harrison to pad his stats the rest of the way.  I don't remember another season the Steelers had someone so close to the total of tackles that James Farrior has had.  The toughest part of the schedule begins now.  The Steelers need James Harrison to step up as he has all year and then some.  He is a wrecking force to be reckoned with and blows up people even when he is out of position on sheer leverage and strength. 

The remaining schedule of course begins with the New England Patriots this weekend in a game that everyone needs to put on their "A game".  Then comes the only remaining home game, against Jacksonville in a game that figures to be a slug fest.  Following a short week the Steelers fly across the country to St. Louis.  Less time to prepare in the shortened week followed by a long flight to play away is the double whammy.  The Rams game may be the toughest of all.  Then comes the final game, at the Ravens.  Baltimore will be ready and hoping to send the Steelers reeling.  Injuries in this stretch must be avoided if the Steelers are to go far in the playoffs.  A key injury or two could spell disaster.  If James Harrison can repeat as AFC Defensive Player of the Month for December look for the Steelers to be the number two team in the playoffs. 

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