When it rains, it pours. That saying sure seems to be true for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the start of their 2011 season. The latest setback for Pittsburgh is the loss of star outside linebacker James Harrison to an eye injury sustained during the Steelers’ 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans last Sunday.
According to veteran beat reporter Ed Bouchette, Harrison will likely miss between four and six weeks after undergoing surgery on Wednesday.
The loss is a big one for Dick LeBeau’s defense as it tries to establish some continuity and cohesion in the middle part of the season. The Steelers have struggled stopping the run, have failed to create much pressure on the quarterback, and most troubling, have forced only one turnover through the first four weeks. Losing the team’s top sack guy in Harrison certainly won’t help.
If there was a silver lining to the development it might be that Lawrence Timmons will be moved to outside linebacker. Timmons has looked out of sorts so far from his usual inside linebacker position, and the hope is that he might be freed up to unleash his freakish athleticism on the outside rather than having to process all the assignments and responsibilities that go along with playing in the middle of the field.
Best of luck to Harrison on Wednesday when he goes under the knife to repair the fractured bone near his eye. The surgery will be his third in the past six months.