Green Bay Packers: Snacks Harrison Could Play vs. Bears

Aug 23, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

There is still the possibility that the newest member of the Green Bay Packers could see the field this Sunday in Chicago.

Before we heard the news that David Bakhtiari would be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, Green Bay Packers fans were on cloud nine after a dominant win over the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, along with the waiver claim of Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison on Wednesday.

Since the summer, the Packers have made a few different attempts to bring Harrison to Green Bay. According to Packer Report’s Ross Uglem, the Packers offered Snacks a contract back in July, and just before he signed with Seattle in October, he was scheduled for a visit to Green Bay. However, that trip never happened.

But now the former All-Pro run-stuffer is a Packer, and after being claimed on Wednesday, he was already in Titletown on Thursday for practice. And just like the rest of us, Head Coach Matt LaFleur is excited about the acquisition and what Harrison can bring to this defense (via Sports Illustrated):

"“We’ve gone against him many times in my past. I know what he’s all about as a player. He’s always been a problem to block. I know our coaches on the defensive side – Pett, Jerry Montgomery – they looked at it. Obviously, Gutey was all over it, and our scouting department. That’s a big-time pick up for us, especially this late in the season. That doesn’t happen very often.”"

In his prime, Harrison was one of, if not the best run-stuffer in the NFL, playing at an extremely high-level for several years. To help quantify a player’s effectiveness against the run and rather than relying on just tackles, Pro Football Focus ($) has a metric called run-stop percentage, which measures the rate at which a defender records a stop or a tackle that constitutes a “loss” for the offense.

In 2013, Harrison finsihed second in this category among all interior defensive linemen. Then from 2014 to 2018, he finished first each year, and although in 2019 he wasn’t as dominant, he still finished 11th in this category.

This season with Seattle, Harison was on the field for 138 snaps from Weeks 10 through 15 while recording 10 total tackles, a forced fumble, six run-stops, and he currently ranks 28th in run-stop percentage.

At this time, we don’t know whether or not Snacks will see the field this Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but when asked by reporters, LaFleur didn’t totally shut the door on the idea either. It just depends on how the next few days unfold (via Packers Wire):

"“We’ll see how the week goes. That’s always hard to ask somebody, but then again you’re dealing with a true pro, a veteran who has been around and seen a lot. It’s just, how fast can we get him acclimated to what we’re trying to do and what we’re asking him to do.”"

Since the Minnesota game in Week 8, this is a Green Bay Packers’ run defense that has been trending in the right direction. The Indianapolis running backs averaged just 3.4 yards per rush. Against Philadelphia, the Eagles’ backs averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, and Detroit averaged 3.2.

The following week, Mike Davis of the Panthers averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and this past Sunday, the unit had their best performance of the season, holding Derrick Henry to under 100 yards and just over four yards per rush with a long of only 10.

Sure, during this span, we also saw David Montgomery of Chicago rip off a big run, and James Robinson of Jacksonville averaged 4.7 yards per carry. But the Green Bay run defense has been much better overall and far from the liability that many make it out to be. And with the addition of Snacks Harrison, he should provide an additional boost:

"“I think he can give us a lot in terms of playing the nose,” LaFleur said. “He’s a really good run defender and he has been for a really long time. I’m just excited to get him in the building.”“Hopefully, he can get acclimated pretty quickly. What we’ve heard, he’s a really intelligent guy, he obviously has a lot of experience. That usually expedites the learning curve for these guys.”"

No, Harrison isn’t the same player that he was from 2014 to 2018, and that’s not what expectations should be. With that said, as recently as 2019 and in flashes with Seattle this season, he’s shown that he can still impact the game.

Although Harrison’s contributions may not always show up on the stat sheet, he’s a big body who can occupy double-teams, which should free up other members of this Packers’ defensive front to make plays. Now in a rotational role here in Green Bay, let’s see if Snacks can harness some of that old mojo from years past during what is hopefully a deep playoff push by the Green Bay Packers.

And who knows, maybe we see him as soon as this Sunday.