When the Cincinnati Bengals signed James Harrison to a two-year deal, there was the hope that, not only would they upgrade their SAM linebacker, they would further enhance a defense that finished third with 51 quarterback sacks. Though Harrison's overall career appears to be declining -- considering he's 35 years old and entering his 11th season -- the Bengals have acquired and added a luxury player in Harrison that will give them a handful of snaps and add isolation on other pass rushers on the defensive line.
We asked Football Outsiders how the team's overall pass rush will be enhanced with the addition of Harrison.
"The 'Designated Veteran Pass Rusher' can bring a lot to a team that already has a good pass rush. You get a 20-snap per game player who brings elite moves and technique, and of course still has ample speed and power. When he is coming on the blitz behind someone like Michael Johnson, it all but guarantees he will catch an isolated blocker on a favorable angle for Harrison. (And if Harrison does not get the good matchup, Johnson does)."
Football Outsiders broke down the "Designated Veteran Pass Rusher" on a handful of players from Dwight Freeney's rip move to Von Miller's isolation. It gives an additional explanation on how DVPR is used and applied.
The crew at Football Outsiders continues to explain how DVPR works for Harrison.
"The trick to the DVPR is that he is a situational guy, a luxury item, so the price has to be right and the existing pass rush has to be good enough to create that "critical mass" situation. The Bengals have that with Johnson, Atkins, and such. A thinner team would end up paying a premium for a guy who provides five sacks and cannot contribute on special teams."
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