DT Damon Harrison
Conference Call, December 19, 2016
Q: This is your first year playing in Steve Spagnuoloís defense. What are your impressions of the job that he has done this year?
A: Heís done a really good job. Historically, the defense speaks for itself because itís a Super Bowl-winning defense, championship defense. It was just a matter of getting everyone in the right position and getting everyone to buy in and used to playing with each other. Thatís tough when you bring in a new group like weíve done this offseason. Itís a credit to him in getting guys to buy in and play together.
Q: I know you werenít here last year but he was obviously the coordinator then, too. Are there things that Spags is doing to help turn this thing around?
A: I couldnít exactly pinpoint any one thing or a couple things. Itís just the guys that are out there playing. They knew last year that they had some tough breaks that didnít go their way. This year, weíre getting a lot of those tough breaks. Itís just a matter of getting guys to buy in and getting used to playing together.
Q: Has the success of this defense exceeded what you thought it would be capable of with all the new faces?
A: Not at all. You hear me say it time and time again. Weíre still not where we should be or where we want to be right now. Weíve had some really good moments and weíve had some not-so-great moments. You can ask anyone around the defense, any players or coach and theyíll tell you. Weíre still not where we need to be as a defense. It was great to have some successes every now and then, but we just want to be more consistent.
Q: Are you the best defense in the NFL?
A: No sir, weíre not.
Q: Who is better than you?
A: I donít really watch any other defenses, to be honest with you.
Q: How do you know that youíre not the best?
A: Because thatís a title for you guys to give out to some of the good defenses in this league. I donít watch any other defenses, to be completely honest with you. I couldnít tell you or even want to compare us to any other defense. I like our defense and think weíre doing a pretty good job. Weíre just looking to continue to get better. Putting the ranking on it and saying weíre the best, thatís not what weíre about at all.
Q: Is it something you can aspire to?
A: Thatís not our goal. Our goal is obviously to make it to the playoffs and put a fifth trophy in the case. If that comes with it, then fine. Thatís just not something thatís talked about.
Q: How would you share the way that coach McAdoo has kept that message on point and just the tone that he has set as a first-year head coach?
A: It was talked about in the very first meeting and just about every meeting since then. If you donít take anything from any meeting we have, you know the ultimate goal. Itís not about individuals or one side of the ball. Itís the ultimate team goal. Heís done a great job of preaching that message and instilling that in us. Every guy in this locker room knows exactly what the goal is. We work hard every day to try and achieve that.
Q: Is it a specific reminder that the Super Bowl is the goal? Does he close meetings that way?
A: I really donít want to get too in detail with it. Itís something thatís spoken a lot.
Q: What are the specific improvements that you feel should be made on defense?
A: Everywhere. Run defense, pass defense, tackling, getting off the field on third down, allowing explosive plays in the run and pass game. Itís every area. Weíve done really good in some areas, but weíre not as consistent as we want to be. Those are just some areas that we see improvement in. Our coaches, they pay attention to detail. A lot of our work is detail oriented. They donít allow anything to get swept under the rug. Everything is addressed.
Q: What about the chemistry issue of that? At this point in the season, do you feel that you pretty much know each other so well that you could guess what the other guy is thinking and act accordingly?
A: Yes. Thatís something thatís safe to say. Again, itís still a process. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out. More so at the beginning of the year, but yes, I know how Hankins plays and how Olivier plays. The linebackers and the secondary, I know where all those guys are going to be. Thatís probably why at this point in time weíre having some better defensive performances. Everyone is on the same page.
Q: The idea of not being satisfied like youíre talking about, is that potentially what could make this a special defense?
A: Yes. Again, Iíve never been to the postseason or anything like that. As far as you talking about winning and what it takes to win, I really cannot comment on that because I havenít experienced that to the next level. We just have a bunch of unselfish guys in the room. Thatís one thing I like about our defensive room. There is not one guy that feels that heís above anyone. Our team as a whole is so level-headed and grounded. Itís amazing.
Q: When the three of you (Snacks, Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins) came in as the big free agents, none of you had been to the postseason. Is that something that you talked about?
A: Not at all. We just really wanted to come in and contribute. Bring to the team what we talked about doing. Each one of us had our own individual meeting with the coaches, GM and owners. We were told what they think we can bring to the team and what was asked of us. We just wanted to do our job to the best of our ability. We knew if that was the case, then everything else will fall in place.
Q: Thereís a chance that the offense may not find it this season. Are you on defense just sitting there and saying no problem, weíll take care of it?
A: Well, yes. Either way, no matter the situation, we feel that we can handle it. Itís just a matter of going out there and holding the team to something manageable. Anytime you have Eli Manning at quarterback and a guy like Odell, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, you always give your team a chance if you can play good, solid defense. Thatís what weíve been doing.