Steelers Red Zone, Harrison’s Decision, LB’s in Training

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The NFL free agency period is in full swing and you can bet that we won’t miss a beat of Steelers coverage. While the Steelers are releasing players, signing free agents, restructure and extending contracts and re-signing their own free agents we’ll be busy looking around for mentions of your Black & Gold. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Sunday, March 22nd.

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 Red Zone Woes

Bob Labriola explains that the Steelers’ issues in the red zone have gone back a while. Even though there are glaring holes on the defense that need to be filled this offseason, there is still work to be done on the Steelers offense, particularly in the red zone.

In the last eight seasons, during Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach, this is the sequence of how the Steelers offense ranked in red zone efficiency: 7th, 15th, T-21st, 23rd, 18th, 14th, 17th, 18th. The first five of those rankings represent Bruce Arians’ tenure as offensive coordinator and the last three belong to Todd Haley.

Labriola reminds that while having Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback should really make the difference between a good or bad red zone efficiency ranking, running the ball in the red zone is statistically the better way to score. The last play of the Super Bowl for the Seahawks will tell you all you need to know about that.

Deebo’s Decisions

It was through social media where James Harrison announced his retirement from the NFL and also where he announced he’d be back for “one more year.” On Saturday afternoon, the soon-to-be 37 year old free agent linebacker took to social media yet again to explain that he’s got a choice to make.

"The opinions of my support team are split, but for me, my love for the man who both started, and made my career what it is, is undeniable. There are no words that I can find that would do justice for everything Dick LeBeau has done for me & my career and nothing can compare to that! I also have a great amount of love for Steelers Nation & the Steelers organization. I’m going to pray on this and let God guide me in the right direction. – James Harrison"

ESPN’s Scott Brown explains that although the Tennessee Titans signed linebackers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo in free agency, they still desire the services of Harrison for their Dick LeBeau-run defense. I’ve honestly been under the impression that the Steelers and Harrison had already come to a mutual agreement that they would sign him later on to spare him from having to participate in OTAs and training camp but this could possibly mean that Tennessee has made an offer and forced a decision to be made.

Linebackers who train together, stay together?

For what it’s worth, Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams tweeted this out on Friday, signifying that several of the Steelers’ linebackers are training together out in Arizona. Maybe it’s a good sign?  

Next: Steelers Free Agency: Outside Linebacker

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