Steelers LB Jason Worilds Says He\’s Not James Harrison

Now that James Harrison is gone, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds will finally get the chance to fill in his shoes in 2013. While filling Harrison\’s shoes is probably just fine with Worilds, being compared to the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year and five-time Pro Bowler while wearing those shoes isn\’t, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“I\’m not James Harrison,” said Worilds, per the Friday report by Bouchette. “When Jason Worilds steps on the field, anyone who expects James Harrison is fooling themselves.”

Stepping on the field as a member of the Steelers defense, however, is something that Worilds has had a problem accomplishing since he was drafted in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In addition to having both Harrison and LaMarr Woodley ahead of him on the depth chart, Worilds also battled hamstring problems and a wrist injury in his first three years with the Steelers. Those injuries resulted in him missing not only valuable practice time, but several games in addition.

Last year, Worilds was sidelined most of the offseason while recovering from wrist surgery, and by the time he was deemed ready to play, fellow backup linebacker Chris Carter wound up starting the first three games of the 2012 season in place of the rehabbing Harrison, because of all the practice time that was missed. In fact, had Woodley not missed games last season; Worilds would have been lucky to see any playing time in 2012.

However, in defense of Worilds, he did manage to register five sacks in the 435 defensive snaps that he played in 2012 when given the opportunity to replace an injured Woodley, but he never showed the signs of a being a dominating outside linebacker during any of those games. Now that he has first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones breathing down his neck, he will need to turn into a dominating player or his football career will be in jeopardy by mid-season.

Nobody is expecting Worilds to be Harrison, but everybody is expecting him to register twelve plus sacks as a starter in 2013. Even Harrison wasn\’t Harrison the last two seasons and as a result the Steelers averaged just 36 sacks the last two years after averaging almost 49 the three years prior to that. If the Steelers outside linebackers do not get consistent pressure and sacks, the defense suffers big time in the all-important turnover category and that simply can\’t continue in 2013 if the team is wanting to compete for a championship.

Veteran inside linebacker Larry Foote probably had the best advice for Worilds when he talked on DVE Radio about what he said to the Virginia Tech product a little over a week ago.

“If you\’re rushing the passer and getting sacks, I don\’t care who\’s behind you or who they got; they can\’t take you off the field,” said Foote, when describing what he had told Worilds. “And that\’s got to be your approach. Everybody\’s been around this league. We know about first-round picks and coaches, and organizations are pulling for them to do big things, but if you run around there getting sacks and dominating, it\’s your position.”

  • Chris Cain

    “Nobody is expecting Worilds to be Harrison, but everybody is expecting him to register twelve plus sacks as a starter in 2013″… Who are these people and did they ever watch him 2 yrs ago go unblocked.. and still somehow manage to completely whiff on sack to Smug Tom Brady.. did watch him last year not be able to set the edge in running game.. The best case scenario for the steelers IMO.. Is Double J has great training camp & preseason.. After that hopefully coaches decide against holding him back and start him.. Then hopefully has a great rookie season.. which helps the team have great team success.. While Worilds goes bench where injury prone Olbs who also makes no impact plays on special teams belong…

  • r4kolb

    “I’m not James Harrison”, said Worilds. Wow, that’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one. Heck the fact he’s even going to start goes to show how weak our depth is at OLB. We all better hope and pray they hit (pun intended) on the Jarvis Jones pick. A little worried Jarvis pulled a hammy already. Hamstring pulls are a nagging type of injury that never go away. IE Woodley.

  • Chris Doakes

    Stop being negative be positive

  • joed32

    Go inside, the sky is falling.

  • steeltown

    The guy has not been a regular starter yet in his career and everyone wants to badmouth him, I don’t get it. 5 sacks last season on very limited playing time, and has two 2 sack games, against a divisional opponent (Cleveland)
    It would be like passing judgment on Cam Heyward, we just don’t know the full potential yet because they haven’t started a full season. I’ll reserve judgment on him till I see him as a regular starter.

  • steeltown

    5sacks in 435snaps… that’s one less then Harrison and one more than Woodley who both played about twice as many snaps in 2012. If he shows the drive and stays healthy in training camp and preseason I think he deserves the shot to start this season.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If Worlids has a great season another team will be very happy next year. I do not see him on the team next year. If he has 5-6 sacks we may keep him if he is willing to sign a cheap contract as a back up.

  • Shea Fahr


  • dgh57

    Yes I agree, everyone should be given the chance to prove themselves!! Then pass judgement!

  • Steve

    This is Worlids 4th year. He needs to produce. If he starts all year he should have 10-12 sacks. Players play hurt all the time. With contract looming, if he wants Big Bucks it’s time to show what you got! If not JJ is breathing down your throat to take your job.

  • JohnnyV1

    Be Jason Worilds, and the best one he can be. It won’t take long to determine if he’s a starter @ OLB or not.

  • David McCune

    I remember James Harrison as a non factor until Joey Porter left. Then he basically exploded on the scene. He also was never drafted so I,ll stay positive on Jason and hope hes at least half the player James was.

  • 2443scott

    here we go again asking a guy going into his 4th year well its now or never by now he should be in his 2nd year of doing something but he isnt now its lets stick him in there see what happens ….i know steeler def is completecated but how hard can it be to ask a 2nd rounder to get pressure or sacks on a qb he has been injured alot but was there a time where the injury was just him saying i aint playing my paper cut hurts or was he actualy to hurt to play and get reps now hes another contract guy saying this year be diff ..heard this to many times to believe it any more…i rather start a rookie then do this with guys year after year at least there be some kind a change and not wait around every year paying guys who wont or do not want to play till there contracts come up …it be diff if harrison n woodley were healthy but both werent and he had a chance to show his metal ….i dont know if jarvis will be good or great or not but he has shown he can get to qb at a reg pace will he in nfl thats to be seen but i rather throw him in there and see rather then play a guy who hasnt done any thing yet ..

  • steeltown

    Im not sure I understand… he sat behind Woodley and Harrison (which you mentioned) and when he did play in their place he DID produce. He had more sacks then Woodley last season and one less than Harrison in less than half the playing. Theoretically if he played the full (season) amount of snaps he could’ve had double digit sacks last year

  • Luke Shabro

    I was against them drafting JJ in the first place. They didn’t even give Worilds a chance to start a season yet. he recorded 5 sacks last season and 4 sacks his rookie season. I’m not saying the kid is going to light the world on fire but I felt like we gave up on a fairly talented second rounder too early.

  • Ahmad

    I’ll save my judgment on Worilds until I see him in action. Until them I’m rooting for him.

  • The bottom line will be “is he a force who disrupts the offense, or is he not?” When uninjured, James Harrison definitely was. Regardless of his sack totals, James was a beast who prowled the perimeter like he owned it, drawing holding penalties (when called), hounding QBs (who always knew James was coming even if he didn’t make it on a particular play), and pounding RBs who dared to invade “his” space. I think the team wants another beast in his outside LB position–it’s the way Lebeau’s 3/4 is designed to work.

  • Pete

    If he doesn’t put up stellar numbers this year Steeler Nation will be on his case. Worilds is in a can’t win situation. What else can Foote tell him? The coaches are waiting for Jarvis Jones. That will take at least a year. All Worilds can do is his best and hope to get with a team in free agency or be a backup next season to Jones. Harrison, besides putting up good numbers rushing the passer when he wasn’t inured the past couple seasons, is one of the best run stopper 3-4 OLB in the league. Worilds has a long way to go to get to that level. I’m actually anticipating what Jarvis Jones has to offer and praying for Spence to fully heal.

  • Pete

    It’s not saying a lot that he matched an out-of-shape Woodley and injured Harrison. Worilds just hasn’t flashed that something in the chances he’s had. I hope he proves me wrong this season and gives me something to cheer about.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Steeltown…I could sack Cleveland’s QB! Lol!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Mr. Kelly have you applied for the writer’s job Dave has available?! Dude you should! I enjoy reading everything you have posted my man! You seem like a good dude with a lot of knowledge–more importantly knowledge of the Steelers!

    Dave Bryan hire this man (not me him)!

  • Pete

    Your memory is bad dude. James flashed something scary at times when subbing for Porter. The team and coaches knew he could replace Porter. The Steelers tried to keep Harrison in 2013 albeit at a lower salary rather than go with Worilds. I too am hoping Worilds somehow tears it up this season. We’ll have to wait and see. How confident can we be when they decided to draft Jones? I think Worilds can see someone in his rearview mirror.

  • Shea Fahr

    That and I think people tend to forget how long it took for Harrison to even crack the starting lineup…5 years.

  • Shea Fahr

    They drafted an OLB because 1. The DEPTH at the position was a glaring need. 2. They have yet to see what Worilds can do as a full time starter. 3. The starter on the other side is now 7 to 8 years in and he won’t last forever either especially when you consider the last few years he has had….It’s called covering your butt.

  • LOL! Thanks for your confidence, Michael! Like most of us here, I probably suffer from a ‘black & gold’ obsessive/compulsive disorder. Six Lombardi Trophies and a tradition of excellence can do that to a person:<)

  • walter mason

    Harrison was always a monster. The knock on James was that he was uncoachable.

  • walter mason

    Go for it James.

  • r4kolb

    Ok let me put on my Black n Yellow colored sunglasses. It’s called being a realist. However no one really knows so let the games begin.

  • steeltown

    I gotcha, they haven’t been the most sound Team offensively, but Wheeden was only sacked 28times in 2012… 2 of those came at the hands of Worilds

  • steeltown