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Do the Patriots need Rodney Harrison?

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Do the Patriots need Rodney Harrison?

Upon the dawn of the 2007 season, New England Patriots fans were dealt a shocker: Rodney Harrison used human growth hormone. The next day, defensive end Richard Seymour was named to the physically unable to perform list. Harrison was suspended for four weeks; Seymour was sidelined for at least six.

Checking the schedule, fans noted that neither would be available for the Week 2 showdown with San Diego or the Week 4 Monday Night matchup with the high-flying Bengals. The Patriots cleared those hurdles surprisingly easily.

Next up are the Cleveland Browns, and Harrison is eligible to play and has been practicing with the team. But the question is: Do the Patriots need Rodney Harrison?

After shutting down LaDanian Tomlinson, Carson Palmer and Chad Jackson among others, it's clear that New England's defense is pretty good. In fact, staring down the barrels of such high-powered offensive weapons, the Patriots have managed a first place ranking in overall defense (yards allowed) and a fourth-place ranking in points allowed.

Without doubt, that's due to the awesome play of the front seven, but the secondary has certainly done its job. And now this group has four games under its belt without Harrison. Those players are comfortable with each other and they're communicating with each other.

Why do they need Harrison? Why mess with this synergy, this chemistry?

Before you answer, consider a couple more points.

Harrison has missed four full-speed games. He's probably been keeping in shape on his own (he was not allowed at the team's facility during his suspension), but he's certainly not going to be used to the midseason speed of pro football. He's not going to be in sync with the rest of the defensive secondary.

He's also off the HGH -- unless he's incredibly more selfish and stupid than we care to believe -- and he'll be 35 in about 10 weeks. He may not be the Rodney Harrison we've come to know. He could be slower, not as strong. We, the fans, just don't know.

The team has been typically closed-mouthed about Harrison or their plans for him. But it seems to me that there's not need to rush him back to the starting lineup -- if at all.

The Patriots have a roster exemption for Harrison until Oct. 8 (next Monday) or until they activate him. Tight end David Thomas was placed on injured reserve and the team had Marcellus Rivers, who missed the 53-man cut at the end of the preseason, in town and participating in pratice. So a roster spot, at some point, will be an issue.

But if they don't activate him this week, will he be ready to play in Dallas the following Sunday?

Either way, I think New England will keep in reserve for "breather time" for the current starters or in case of injury to another defensive back.

Speaking of guys the Patriots don't need

There have been rumor since Ricky Williams said he would apply for reinstatement to the NFL after several positive marijuana test that New England would be among his suitors.

I haven't seen or heard any word locally about it, but someone (I think it was John Clayton -- anyone know for sure?) broke the rumor during the Monday Night Football broadcast.

What?

That makes no sense to me. You clearly have two guys who are capable of doing the job, despite Laurence Maroney's apparent fragility. The offensive line is playing well. There's no telling what kind of shape William's is in. You have to deal with Miami, who still possesses rights to his services. And you can't trust the guy.

Poll

Do the Patriots need Rodney Harrison?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes, absolutely.
    (59 votes)
  • 25%
    Yeah, maybe a little.
    (26 votes)
  • 12%
    No, not really.
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    Not at all.
    (3 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now