Analyzing the James Harrison conundrum

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Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer explained it best as to why Harrison hasn’t seen many snaps:

Of the 139 plays run by the Steelers and Packers, all but 11 have been with three wide receivers. In Week 1 at Chicago, the Bears ran three wide on only 14 of 59 snaps.

The Bengals have used a 4-3 base alignment on only 11 plays the last two weeks, Harrison has been in on all of them, which has also been double checked by our friends at Pro Football Focus. Over the first three weeks of the season, the Bengals have been in base on 55 plays and Harrison has been in on 48.

Of the 141 snaps the Bengals have been in nickel, Harrison has been in for only 10. Harrison wasn’t expected to see much time in nickel when he was signed in April and that has been the case so far. Plus, the SAM was in for only 33 percent of the snaps last season.

 

While I agree with the notion that the Bengals don’t need Harrison to play at LB, they still should try to give him at least a few snaps at DE. If for no other reason, it gives Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap a little extra rest, and you could tell they were nearing empty on the fuel gauge on the Packers’ final drive that could have very well been the game-winner.

While it didn’t cost the Bengals this time, in a pass-happy NFL, this situation will arise again, and hopefully, the Bengals use Harrison at DE more to give the other DEs some rest.

 

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