Don’t look now but the Damon Harrison signing is starting to pay dividends for the Seahawks. After agreeing to terms to join Seattle’s practice squad in early October, Harrison didn’t make his debut until Nov. 15.
Even then, the 350-pound nose tackle had some rust to shake off. He generated just two tackles in 85 snaps over his first four games. That production jumped to six tackles and a forced fumble against the Jets in just 23 snaps. Pro Football Focus rewarded Harrison with a sterling 90.2 game grade.
“This was his best game,” Pete Carroll said Monday. “He’s been improving steadily. The big man that he is, there is a lot to be said about the conditioning and being ready to play the game. He’s been working real hard at it. He’s been a real pleasant addition.”
The takeaway came in the second quarter when Harrison punched the ball out of Frank Gore’s hands. Bobby Wagner fell on the loose ball.
“That was a great play,” Carroll said. “He’s doing good.”
The real magic of Harrison’s presence is his added depth at nose tackle. Even in a limited role, he has given the Seahawks the freedom to give Poona Ford some work at three-technique. The result has been increased pass rush production from Ford.
Ford has 11 pressures and 2.0 sacks in the five games Harrison has played compared to 13 pressures and zero sacks over his eight games. Additionally, Ford only had 0.5 sacks through his first two NFL seasons. That activity and disruption has helped Ford develop into an option as a three-down defensive lineman.
“That has allowed Poona to get his activity going at the three-technique,” Carroll confirmed. “That has really helped him show up and be a playmaker. It’s worked out well in the rotation.”
Giving Harrison all of the credit for Ford’s emergence would be unwarranted. The addition of Carlos Dunlap as well as Ford’s individual development are other factors to consider.
But it is relevant that the patience of both the Seahawks and Harrison is paying off. His 20-plus snaps carry meaningful value for a defense that continues to trend in the right direction.