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Old School Harris Hits The New season Hard- Randy Lange
Old-School Harris Hits the New Season Hard
Published: Mon, March 29, 2010 - 10:11am ET
By Randy Lange
Lange is editor-in-chief of newyorkjets.com. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record of Hackensack, N.J.
File Under: David Harris, LaDainian Tomlinson, Sal Alosi, strength and conditioning program, Bart Scott
change font email article 03/29 — It's often been said everything old is new again, and that's true of the Jets' offseason strength and conditioning program, which began Week 2 this morning. Just ask David Harris.
There is strength coach Sal Alosi's program itself. "Sal does a great job keeping the workouts new and different," said the fourth-year Jets linebacker. "He tries not to stay in the same routine of just lifting and running. We're always doing new workouts, new exercises, which helps, I think, prevent injuries. That's one of Sal's main goals, to find new workouts, new things that keep us from getting injured and keep us on the field longer."
Then there are some of Harris' first-time teammates, such as the new No. 21 in town.
"I'm still making the rounds meeting the new guys," he said, "but I met LaDainian Tomlinson a couple of times. He's a real genuine guy. You can sense that the first time you meet him. He's real humble. I think he's a great addition to our team."
Also new is the season. And for the equally humble Harris, that means perhaps one last nod to what the defense and the team accomplished a few short months ago but then a full stride forward into the 2010 season. What stood out the most for him about last year?
"Just the way we stuck together as a team," he said. "We had an up-and-down-and-then-a-back-up season. It spoke a lot about the character in the locker room, the veteran leadership on the team. We exceeded a lot of people's expectations but we came up one game short of ours. It just shows us how close we are to making that next step.
"We have that same hunger and passion to get back and go further, but it's a new season, 0-and-0. Last year doesn't matter. We've got to go in this year with the same attitude to get better every day and try to get to the Super Bowl."
With all the newness around, it's good to have some of that same old David Harris in the middle. He led the defense in tackles for the second time in his first three seasons, with 142 stops according to the coaches' video breakdown and 126 by pressbox stats compiled by the league. Both numbers are second-highest by a Jet since 2003, trailing only Jonathan Vilma's league-leading 173 tackles in 2005.
Harris really enjoyed getting off and flying for his first season teamed up with Bart Scott in the middle of that defense.
"It was a real good start," he said. "Bart's like my brother. I think we have real good chemistry together. We push each other on and off the field and try to make each other better. We're just two good players in a great scheme."
And Harris still doesn't mind if Scott does most of the talking for the dynamic duo.
"I'm still the same guy. I think nobody can reach Bart's level of ... outgoingness," he said. "He's cool. He keeps the locker room and the guys loose. He keeps everything fresh around here."
If the Jets' defense is going to be fresh and new and even more dominating than it was throughout the best season of "D" in franchise history, it's going to take some of that old-fashioned Hitman Harris exerting his will again. It's still early in his career but with a couple of more seasons like 2009, he'll already be in the top 10 among all-time Jets tacklers.
He added 7.5 sacks last season, if you count the two early thumpings of Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game. He was a second alternate in the AFC Pro Bowl voting and was named the Jets' Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates.
I asked David if he feels as if he's carving out a niche alongside the franchise's top LBs, Kyle Clifton, Mo Lewis, Marvin Jones, Greg Buttle, Lance Mehl, Al Atkinson, Larry Grantham.
"I guess you could call it that," the modest young man from Grand Rapids, Mich., said. "I love playing out here in the New York area. We have very passionate fans, as everybody knows, and they're not afraid to let you know it. I just try to go in every day with my lunchpail and get to work. That's how my parents raised me and it's no different now, really.
"I've been living out my dream, so there's nothing better than that."
Unless it's starting work on newer, bigger, better dreams, which Harris and his teammates are already doing.
Draft Previews About to Begin
Just to keep you all alerted, we at newyorkjets.com are about to start our predraft coverage today. Eric Allen has taken an in-depth look at the top defensive linemen who will be available in this year's April 22-24 draft. That story will be live on our site at noon today, and I'll come back with a look at the DBs on Thursday.
We'll preview two positions per week from now until the week of the draft. We'll also have video for each position ready shortly, although we're in the process of still prepping that late-arriving media, so we'll let you know when each video gets hooked up to each position piece.
We'll also mix in more Real Football analyses, including Real's insightful first- and second-round mock drafts. As always, we hope and feel you'll find our coverage helpful as you get ready for this year's draft.