The Fall And Fall Of David Harris
JMO..I still wonder if his ankle injury from the Carolina PS game is part of Harris ineffective play this season...I also think the injury problems of Pouha/Ellis have contributed..
The Fall And Fall Of David Harris
October 25, 2012 by SportsGeek33
Let’s cut the flowery introductions here and get straight to the point: David Harris has become a complete liability in the middle of the New York Jets defense. The man that fans once daubed “The Hitman” is now no longer a player who can be relied on when it comes to tackling, and his coverage ability has suddenly slid from being average to outright abysmal.
Consider a few statistics to begin with: Last year Harris made 69 tackles and he missed just six, leaving himself with an 92.0% success rate. So far this year he’s racked up 46 tackles and missed eight, cutting that figure to a meagre 85.1%.
Harris displays what is becoming his trademark arm-tackling.
In terms of coverage, by this point during last season Harris had been targeted by opposition QB’s on 18 different occasions. Ten of those passes resulted in completions, while three were dropped, meaning that the ball found its way into the receivers hands 72% of the time.
This year he’s been targeted 27 times with 20 completions and three drops.
So whenever the ball is thrown in his direction, you can bank on an 85% likelihood that it will end up in the hands of the QB’s intended target.
But perhaps the greatest concern of all is this: according to highly-respected statistical analysts Pro Football Focus, David Harris has become the worst defensive player on the whole of the Jets roster with a miserable overall rating of -9.5. Even more soberingly, in broader terms they presently rank him as being the 42nd best inside linebacker in the NFL – trailing behind the likes of Colin McCarthy, Kelvin Sheppard, and Mason Foster.
These facts and figures don’t paint a very flattering picture of Harris and, when merged together, they create a portrait of a player who is average at best. Harris, it seems, is undergoing a major, rapid, and seemingly inexplicable decline.
At 28, he can hardly be considered an old man and so it seems implausible to suggest that age might explain the sudden nosedive. And although he injured an ankle against Carloina in preseason, nothing has come out of the locker room to suggest that Harris is playing hurt.
Yet for some reason he continues to under-perform in a way that most Jets fans would have found unimaginable. What was once a weakness in terms of speed and agility has now become an outright liability. Yes, Harris is still a force when playing downhill and flowing to meet the ball-carrier, but when it comes to being expected to make a sideline-to-sideline play or beat opposing run-blockers, you may as well just forget it.
Could the fact that he is listed as being 7lbs heavier this season be a factor? It seems unlikely that such a small amount of weight (Harris currently tips the scales at 250lbs) could result in such a negative impact on his overall game.
Harris will earn $9.9M this year.
But wait. Maybe there is something slowing Harris down after all. Perhaps he has been playing with his wallet stuck inside his jersey.
In August 2011 the former Michigan man put pen-to-paper on a new four-year contract that was worth $36 million (not including a tidy signing bonus of $8 million). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the highest paid linebacker in the NFL is not Patrick Willis, DeMeco Ryans or Sean Lee – it’s the New York Jets’ very own David Harris.
This year alone he will earn – if that’s the correct word – $9.9 million. And, for whatever it’s worth (quite a lot it seems), in 2014 he could receive an additional $5 million through incentive-related bonuses.
Perhaps the person who’s paid to provide Harris with advice on how to manage all of his money ought to tell him that with his current level of performance, he probably shouldn’t rely on collecting the final handout.