Patriots gridiron news: James Harrison earning his snaps in New England

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: James Harrison
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: James Harrison /

Linebacker James Harrison has found quality playing time in New England, helping the Patriots advance to Super Bowl LII.

The New England Patriots have two of the oldest players in football, one on each side of the ball.  While Tom Brady continues to do his thing, newly acquired linebacker James Harrison also continues to impact the game.

On Sunday, the powerful Harrison had a key hit against Blake Bortles and the Jaguars.  In all, he has 11 tackles in the two playoff games.  Most importantly, he has added an attitude and edge-setting presence to the Patriots’ defense setting the tone in key moments of the game.

Although he hasn’t gotten a chance to play against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 39-year-old linebacker is showing them that he still has something left in the tank.  Since signing with the Patriots, Harrison already has played way more snaps than he did during his 14 games with the Steelers.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, he has been on the field for 89 of a possible 200 defensive snaps.  In doing so, he has not only found a way to stick it to opposing teams, he is helping the Steelers’ rivals in their quest for a sixth Super Bowl title.

It has to feel good for Harrison, even better with his former team watching him on the NFL’s biggest stage in a couple of weeks.

"“It feels good, but like I’ve said before, this is all God’s plan.  This is all his doing,” Harrison said, via ESPN.  I’m just reaping the benefits of it right now.”"

Harrison’s ability to pressure quarterbacks in obvious passing situations and late in games could very well factor into the team’s success in the big game.

Related Story: James Harrison proved he can still make an impact

Brian Flores likely staying in New England

 With the Patriots expected to lose defensive coordinator Matt Patricia following the Super Bowl, the team is likely to keep the man favored to replace him.

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According to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, the Arizona Cardinals are set to make Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks their next head coach.

This means Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, who was a finalist for the job, will be in place to replace Patricia as the team’s defensive coordinator.

Eagles already making guarantees

This has been the postseason of guarantees.  Following his team’s 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has become the latest player to predict the outcome of a game before stepping on the field.

Speaking to ESPN’s Tim McManus, Jenkins believes his team will upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.  While he has reason to be confident, he should know those kind of guarantees rarely play out when said publicly.

"“The Patriots have been in this game so many times that I think we all look at them as kind of the gold standard of this league,” Jenkins said. “And so, in a season where we’ve been doubted all year, for me it’s just right on par to be able to go against a team that has such a legacy as the Patriots. But that’s just part of the story. When we finish this out, and we come back Super Bowl champions, that will just be the exclamation point on this whole story.”"

Next: New England Patriots: Brandin Cooks has caught Tom Brady’s trust

Respect noted, but please let the play on the field do the talking.