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James Harrison impresses in his debut for Patriots

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James Harrison just wanted to play. The New England Patriots provided the opportunity in his first game with the club.

The 39-year-old linebacker played 34 snaps in Sunday's victory over the New York Jets, per Next Gen Stats. The count was just four shy of the 38 snaps Harrison saw all season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In his Patriots debut, Harrison compiled two sacks and five total tackles. The veteran was pleased with his workload despite only having a few days to learn the playbook.

"It's like starting all over from scratch," he said after the victory. "It's like starting your rookie year. New game plan. You gotta pick things up. When you are a rookie you get [organized team activities] and minicamp. I got 4-5 days to prepare."

Not only did Harrison play a solid amount, but the Patriots also dropped him in coverage repeatedly -- it's telling that the newly acquired veteran could immediately be New England's best linebacker in space. Harrison also displayed an ability to set the edge versus the run, which was something younger Pats defenders have struggled with this season.

Coach Bill Belichick praised the effort Harrison put in leading up to the game.

"Yeah, James worked really hard," Belichick said. "He worked really hard to get things down and to handle the roles that he was in today. Very professional, has a lot of experience but not in this system so he had to do a lot of things to try to acclimate himself to what we do, and terminology, and adjustments and so forth. He really worked hard on that. He got better every day. You could see that through the course of the week. Sometimes it piles up and the load just becomes -- there's a diminishing return effect. In his case, I would say that wasn't the case. Each day that it went it got better. I thought he made a couple of plays out there today. We'll see how it goes going forward, but yeah, he worked very hard."

If Harrison recaptures the form he displayed last January -- when he dominated during the Steelers' playoff run -- the addition could be a game-changer for the Patriots' defense.

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