It was a tumultuous end to the 2017 NFL season for New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison. After riding the pine all year, he finally got his wish to be traded away from his longtime home with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Not surprisingly, he was immediately picked up the Patriots who were in need of another pass-rusher heading into the playoffs. However, the transition has come with its fair share of challenges such as learning the new playbook. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Harrison is still admittedly trying to get a grasp of New England’s system:
“It’s a little bit better, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be,” Harrison said.
Fortunately, he has had some extra time to get assimilated with the Patriots earning a first-round bye in the playoffs this year.
“A little more comfortable, each day gets a little better,” Harrison said. “Each week is a little better.”
While adjusting to a new system is a challenge for any player, Harrison made quite the impression in his Patriots debut. The veteran put up better numbers than he had all season combined after recording five tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble in Week 17 versus the New York Jets.
He will be hoping to carry over that success when New England squares off against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round. The Patriots defense will certainly have their hands full dealing with the mobility of budding star quarterback Marcus Mariota on Saturday. Needless to say, Harrison will likely have plenty of opportunities to make his presence felt once again.