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Harris: New Dad, New Man on the Field

Posted by Eric Allen on June 14, 2012 – 9:13 am

You can call “The Hitman” soft at your own risk, but Jets middle linebacker David Harris is feeling warm and fuzzy. And he has great reason to have plenty of joy in his heart considering he and his wife, Jiali, are celebrating the early days of their precious 5½-month-old daughter, Alya.

“She’s just a bundle of joy,” Harris told me on our recent Jets Minicamp Live show. “Every time I come home, she has a big smile on her face. She’s not crawling yet, but she’s trying to. She’s rolling and she’s always in a playful mood. It’s always a good thing to come home to her after a long day of work.”

Like Alya, Harris keeps rolling along. The 6’2”, 250-pounder is preparing for his sixth NFL season and one fan asked how it makes him feel that head coach Rex Ryan has stated that he’d do anything he could to help Harris earn a Pro Bowl invitation.

“I don’t know if there’s much that Rex can do, but all I have to do is control what I do on the field and that’s getting better each day, perfecting my craft, being the same person every day and trying to be a leader on this defense,” he said. “Everything else that happens would be great, but I’m more interested in helping the team out any way I can.”

It is the essence of David Harris — substance over style throughout his career. Last season, he quietly again led the team with 117 tackles (78 solo), tied for the team lead with four INTs, and was second on the club with five sacks. The perfection of the craft continues.

“One thing I’m focusing on this offseason is trying to become a step quicker, becoming leaner and just trying to be lighter on my feet,” Harris said. “I think a lot of guys on the defensive side of the ball have that same mentality. We know that we take a lot of pride in our defense and the way to that is to be in great physical shape, so that we can play longer and try to make that run, which we try to do every year.”

Ryan has said the Green & White continue to work on man coverage with their linebackers. Harris told me he’s decreasing his body fat, Bart Scott is down 10 pounds and Demario Davis, the third-round draft selection from Arkansas State, possesses 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash.

“Everybody knows what type of talent we have on the outside with Cromartie and Revis, and with Kyle in the slot. We know that we’re going to get attacked in the middle of the field and the tight end has become a big role in a lot of teams’ offenses,” Harris said. “So we have to be prepared to cover the middle of the field and that’s the backs included. We know that we have our hands full and we have to be prepared for anything the offense may throw at us.”

Offenses are again going to have to prepare for the tandem of Harris and Scott. “The Madbacker” has been one of the top stories of the spring, setting the tone on the practice field.

“You can hear Bart a mile away and he gives it to the offensive players every time they make a mistake. It’s just funny to hear because you know he’s back comfortable and being himself,” Harris said. “When you’re comfortable being yourself, you’re able to go out there and play the way you know how to play.”

Davis, who should be a valuable contributor immediately in sub packages and on special teams, is wise beyond his years.

“Demario is a step beyond any rookie that I’ve seen,” Harris said. “To be as young as he is, he is very mature. He’s very dedicated and focused on his craft. He’s always one of the first guys out at practice and one of the last guys to leave the field, and that’s always encouraging to see from a rookie.”

The Jets have increased their speed all around the defense and S LaRon Landry, another burner, hasn’t participated in team activities as of yet.

“I notice that across the board,” said Harris. “If you have been following the Jets since Rex got here, I’ll say we’re faster than the ’09 team and that says a lot.”

That ’09 unit finished No. 1 in total defense (252.3 yards allowed per game) and No. 1 in points (14.8 allowed) as the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship Game in Year 1 of the Rex regime. Ryan has indicated that he’s going back to his roots and that means more involvement in the defensive meeting rooms with the players.

“Scheme-wise it’s not going to be that different. It’s just that little things involved in each defense are going to be stressed more,” said the Hitman. “Little things like technique that you may not cover as much because you assume guys have understood what to do, but each day you emphasize little things. You always try to get better at something small, which may not have happened in years past.”

Minicamp will conclude today here in Florham Park, N.J., and Harris has a family vacation planned during his down time. But the new dad promises he’ll be ready for training camp and 2012. This Hitman has a heart, but business is still business.

“Me, my wife and my daughter are going away to Barbados for five days. First family trip, my daughter’s first time in a plane, so hopefully she won’t be acting up too much on the plane,” he said. “It is good to get away after these tough couple of months we had working out here and it’s always good to get away before the season starts. Once the season starts, it’s on.”

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Posted in Eric Allen | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Harris: New Dad, New Man on the Field”

  1. By scjoe on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Harris, along with Mangold are slowly moving up the list of my top ten favorite Jet players of all time. They come to work, play hard, play well, don’t complain, don’t pout and let their agents handle their contract “when” they expire. Are you taking note Mr Revis???

  2. By Bennett on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    So just what Tebow needs more muscular bulk anyone (except the idiot pundits) can see that his arms are way to overdeveloped and it has had a significant effect on his accuracy. Now of coarse there are excellant musculaur QBs but how many with 19″ bicepts ? Brady ? Montana ?.All other QBs are protected but Tebow is going to be on kick returns? Hmmm… Not condusive to a long career.wouldn’t you say ? Can you imagine if the got Henne and said your going to block on punts “ARE YOU NUTS..TRADE ME NOW”. Hey Tebow if you want to be an oversized blocking dummy with 20″ bicepts that can’t hit a 6’6″tight end from 15 yards keep it up, your suppose to be a QB man play like one or be a media attraction with out good skills at any position

  3. By steven on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah, the Jets talking about technique. I am so disappointed when I see professionals on defense who don’t know how to tackle. Missed tackles constantly made the team the SOJ. Now with the Defense getting faster and concentrating on technique, it may actually be fun to watch the Jets play. When the Ravens smothered the Jets offense last year I thought about how fun it would be if the Jets were like that. It’s more fun to watch the defense win the game than the offense. Put the helmet on the ball every time and creat fumbles. Strip the quarterback and the receivers. The Ravens ripped balls out of Jets receivers hands when they were on the ground and they were ruled fumbles. Let’s call this FEARED defense WALL STREET. Get strong this year.

  4. By SCfromNY on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    I like the idea of going back to 2009 and the #1 defense in yards allowed and POINTS ALLOWED. Points allowed is what wins games. I like the idea of a faster “D” and while our safeties are not speed burners they are as good as 2009. And if they actually tackle the TEs might not gain so many yards over the middle.

    Not a fan of Tebow BUT his musculature seems functional. The muscles appear long and fluid so as not to impair flexibility and control.

  5. By ron alexander on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    S.C Joe, right on dude! We have way to many primma-donna’s on this team. Revis knew the deal 2 years ago when he sighned that front-loaded contract.
    Look how easily Mangold and Harris came to terms. They waited their turn and were rewarded! You would think Revis and Keller would have learned from them? Tebow needing more muscles is like Santonio Holmes being made a captian? what????

  6. By scjoe on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply

    LOL Ron, not a good idea for TT to put on any more muscle. Not if they have any plans to have him compete at QB anyway. But with this FO you really never know what you are getting.

  7. By Jimmer on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, Mangold is already there in the top 10. Harris needs highlight reel plays to get there.
    BENNET, tebow and MS have both gained weight for the system. They both have better velocity. That’s a good thing for both.
    I still think the O will be average at best, no matter the qb. McElroy has the quick draw factor as well.
    The problem we have, is this, our rb’s are just not elite. To be an elite offense, you need to do something better than average, and today, I just don’t see that.

  8. By ron alexander on Jun 16, 2012 | Reply

    Jimmer,couldn’t agree more with you!. Mangold is already the best center in Jet history. His only comp, would be 1969 superbowl winner John Schmitt, Joe Fields, and of course Kevin Mawae. Mawae was also a great player but mangold is a Jet draft pick(one of the few T-baum got right!) and mangold already has more pro-bowl appearences than Mawae had as a Jet. Harris is also one of our best all-time jets at his posisition but I agree he needs to do a bit more to be all-time #1 jet at his posisition. Hers a good project for S.C.Joe to ponder; an all-time Jet team at each posisition?

  9. By scjoe on Jun 17, 2012 | Reply

    You asked Ron, here it is. Sure, some may disagree with a few of the spots, but not many.
    QB-Joe Willie
    RB- Curtis Martin
    FB-Brad Baxter
    WR Wesley Walker
    WR- Al Toon
    Slot receiver- Wayne Chrebet
    TE- Jerome Barkum
    LT-Marvin Powell
    LG-Alan Faneca
    C-Nick Mangold
    RG-Dan Alexander
    RT-Jason Fabini
    K-Pat Leahy
    KR- Bruce Harper
    PR-Leon Washington

    D (4-3)
    DE Mark Gastineau
    DE- John Abraham
    DT-Joe Klecko
    DT-John Elliott
    OLB-Larry Grantham
    MLB Lance Mehl
    OLB-Ralph Baker

    D (3-4)
    LDE- Shaun Ellis
    NT- Kris Jenkins
    RDE-Mike DeVito
    OLB- Mo Lewis
    OLB-Bryan Cox
    ILB-David Harris
    ILB-Marvin Jones
    CB Darrelle Revis
    CB-James Hasty
    S-Eric McMillian
    S-Darrol Ray
    P-Steve O’Neal

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