James Harrison finding his comfort zone in Cincinnati's defense


Cincinnati Bengals linebacker James Harrison doesn't see the big change in a 4-3 defense, though he's expecting to rush the quarterback more in Cincinnati than he did in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker James Harrison is getting acclimated to his new role with the Cincinnati Bengals. Shifting from an outside linebacker in Dick LeBeau's well-known base 3-4 zone-blitz scheme to Mike Zimmer's aggressive 4-3 as SAM, it's taking some getting used to. But the actual switch isn't that big of a deal that many are making it out to be, according to Harrison.

"I'm playing SAM, so I'm basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense," Harrison told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday. "It's just that I'll switch where I'm lining up. I'll be in a 40 or 30, stacked behind a tackle or guard or whatever it may be. And I'll do my job from there."

Considering the team has only conducted five practices since last week, Harrison's getting more comfortable with the transition, which was a little rough at first.

"If you had asked me that yesterday, I would have told you I was down bad," Harrison said after Wednesday's practice via Bengals.com. "But today I had a chance to go over all the stuff we put in yesterday. I think the first week we put in a few things. And then yesterday I think we threw in maybe as three times as much as we did the whole first week. I had a chance to go back last night and go over the defenses and had a whole better time of executing."

Mike Zimmer doesn't see any problems, but loves the influence that Harrison has with his core players.

"I think the team concept to him is very important and like everybody I think the better the team does the better you do, and the better you do the better the team does," Zimmer said via Fox Sports Ohio. "I think they all want to have success but from what I've seen so far, he values the team concept which is what I try to preach every day in the room."

Over the last two seasons, Harrison has played 24 of a possible 32 games, generating 15 quarterback sacks and four forced fumbles. He's expecting to rush the passer even more under Zimmer's defense.

"Actually, with some of the stuff they're doing now, it looks like I may be rushing a little more than I had in previous years," Harrison said via Bengals.com. "I think I'll be covering a little less here."

Harrison signed a two-year deal worth $4.45 million last month.

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