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Harrison Lining Up Some In The Middle During OTAs

Although the Bengals have only had seven OTA practices, new free agent acquisition James Harrison's role is starting to take shape. So far he has lined up all over the field, including some reps in the middle.


Less than a week after new SAM linebacker James Harrison pronounced that he would rush the passer even more in Mike Zimmer's 4-3 defense, the evidence to support that statement is already mounting. According to Geoff Hobson, Harrison lined up as a MIKE and executed one of Zimmer's calling-card A-gap blitzes during the Bengals' most recent OTA session.

Right end Michael Johnson had a tipped pass of backup quarterback Josh Johnson on a play SAM backer James Harrison lined up tight in the middle and blitzed.

As soon as the news surfaced back in April that Harrison was on the verge of striking a deal with the team, inquiring minds began to wonder just how Zimmer would utilize the former 3-4 standout. As it turns out, the answer is pretty awesome. So far in OTAs, Harrison has lined up at multiple linebacker spots and has been used as both a rusher and a pass defender.

It's a bit early to declare the James Harrison experiment a success, but if Hobson's OTA reports are any indication, it certainly is looking to be heading in that direction. If Harrison is able to return to his pre-injury form, offenses will undoubtedly have their hands full with the once-defensive-player-of-the-year.

Atkins, Johnson, Dunlap, and now Harrison? Opposing quarterbacks might just want to take a sick day when they face the Bengals in 2013.