If there is anyone who understands that no linebacker wants to come off the field, it's outside linebackers coach Joey Porter.
When he played, Porter didn't rotate with other linebackers. He stayed out there, played as many snaps as he could, and always wanted to be in on the action.
"Back when we played, me and (Jason) Gildon weren't trying to come off the field," said Porter. "It's a different game being played now than it was then."
While it's different, the attitude is still the same. And James Harrison is a prime example. While the Steelers try to watch the snap count for the 37-year old Harrison, he wants to be out there when the action is the hottest and has waved off rookie Bud Dupree on occasion when he was sent in as a sub. "He is going to do that. I used to do that," said Porter. "They would try to come and get me and I would be like, nah, I'm good. I have to think about it, if he has been out there seven plays and now it's third and nine, no he doesn't want to come off the field. I finally got him in the pass rushing down.
"Some of those substitutions are my fault because I am not counting the plays, I am just looking at the energy. If I see the energy is dying, I am going to send in a fresh body. I have to be conscious when it's third down. Harrison is not coming off the field on third down, not when he has been out there these whole seven plays. He is not going to come out of the game and let Bud come in and steal a sack. I have to be smart when I think about subbing him because if I sub him on third down, he is going to do the wave off."
A little more of what Porter had to say:
Photos of Outside Linebackers Coach Joey Porter.
On how many snaps Harrison will play:
"He is going to play as many snaps as we ask him to play. I am not sitting up there counting. We have been playing a lot of snaps, so he is been in there. I am trying to keep an eye on it so I don't overwork him, but at the same time he is going to play and he has been playing at a good level."
On if he is getting what he needs from the outside linebackers;
"You can always ask for more, but I think they are playing hard as a group,. They are playing good enough to win."
On if there is a rotation plan going into a game:
"I try to rotate them just to keep them fresh. Sometimes they play longer series than others, but I try to manage it because I don't want anybody out there tired when we are playing. If they are hot sometimes I will leave them in there a little longer. It's thought out. I am watching how much energy they have. If you look like you're tired I am going to send another fresh body in."
On if he should have rotated when he played:
"When I got older I should have. I just feel like at the time when I was playing, even when Harrison was young, you didn't really rotate. For me to get Bud in there, play James, rotation is good for now. It will come to a time when they play more, but to make sure Bud gets his snaps, James gets his snaps, for this group it works out well."
The best photos of Linebacker James Harrison from the 2015 season thus far.
On if intimidation is still a part of the game:
"I don't think intimidation will ever be out. To have that intimidation, they aren't going to believe it if you are not playing like that. There is a certain thing that comes with intimidation. You can't just talk to have it. You have to play that type of football to demand it. If you're not playing good football, who is going to be scared of you?"
On if linebackers lobby for more playing time:
"Always. Say we rotate by series and we get a three and out then you are still up. I am not going to punish you for getting a three and out, so you are still up. What happens if you go three and out, three and out, three and out, well you still in? If you've got the hot hand you are still playing. You only played three snaps and you are getting a break. If it happens for us it's a good thing because it means we are getting off the field, it's justified."
On Jarvis Jones progress:
"I think Jarvis' development is getting a lot better just from a scheme standpoint. The stats aren't there from what we all judge and look at, but how we are playing, what we ask them to do, he is playing the run, playing the pass, gives me a great effort all of the time. I think he is doing a good job and is just going to get better."