The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone from no depth at the outside linebacker position to possibly having too many players available as the team prepares to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Heinz Field.
James Harrison, who missed the past two games with a knee injury, is the latest outside linebacker to return from injury to help a pass rush desperately needing a leader. Harrison participated fully in practice for the first time Wednesday since injuring his knee against the New Orleans Saints, and the veteran linebacker has declared himself '100-percent' healthy and says he 'feels as good as he has ever felt'.
Turns out, Harrison viewed his two weeks off as a positive for him and the team down the stretch.
"It (ultimately) just gave me a little bit more time to let my knee heal up, as compared to trying to rush it back," Harrison told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It was a good thing, especially seeing that we did come away with two wins."
The team has leaned on Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats to man the right outside linebacker position while Harrison has been out, and the tandem has played well enough to not make Harrison's absence a glaring hole in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme.
The question on the table upon Harrison's return is how the team will distribute snaps among the three healthy linebackers. Jason Worilds, who has played every defensive snap at the left outside linebacker position, could be spelled by Moats, leaving Harrison and Jones to handle the right side.
The team will most likely go with who they feel is the healthiest and the hottest hand at the time, trying to keep fresh bodies on the field as much as possible. Those fresh bodies will be needed in stopping Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith of the Chiefs this Sunday at Heinz Field.