DT Damon Harrison
June 12, 2018
Q: What do you make of the new defense and defensive coordinator James Bettcher?
A: Heís a good dude. Obviously, Iíve played in a 3-4 before under [New York Jets Head] Coach [Todd] Bowles, and Coach Bettcher and Bowles worked together, so I have a lot of familiarity with the system. Itís just all about reaching in that memory bank. Everything I was told to forget, Iíve got to remember again.
Q: Is too much made about the differences between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense?
A: Yeah. Obviously, in some sets, it will be different, but itís no different for the guys in the interior. Itís more so for the outside linebackers. Outside linebackers who are still defense ends. So, yeah, I think people just think about it too much, they put too much into it. Thereís really no difference at all.
Q: How would you describe the overall outlook for the team, with so many changes from last year?
A: I mean, obviously, thereís a lot of excitement right now because itís new. We all have to learn. Itís not like weíre coming back and we know everything. So, everybody has their thinking caps on and just knowing that we all donít know anything. Weíve still got a long way to go, but I like what I see from everybody so far.
Q: What about the morale of the team?
A: Oh, itís high. Itís high. Itís a new staff, youíve got no choice but to be happy.
Q: What is your sense of linebacker Alec Ogletreeís command of the defense?
A: He comes downhill, man, and thatís something you can appreciate as a nose tackle and a defensive tackle. That means those centers and those guards have got to make decisions really fast. If not, heíll be in the backfield and heís a smart guy. Iím just excited to get in an actual game with him because I know those guys on the line, they have to respect what he brings to the field, so that should open up a lot for me.
Q: Does it surprise you that there is so much enthusiasm and optimism surrounding this team coming off of last season?
A: No, because I honestly donít think we were what our record was last year and I know itís tough to understand that. Going 3-13, I think what we were, you would expect guys to come back down on themselves. That was just a humbling season for everybody. So, if anybody was on their high horse, they have no choice but to get down now and get back to the drawing board and work all over again, which is a good thing to see.
Q: Is the communication between coaches and players much different than what youíve experienced in the past?
A: No. Again, that just goes back to everything being new. You canít be out here making plays without knowing exactly what youíre doing and knowing what the guys beside of you, to your left, right, or behind of you are doing. So, itís very encouraging that at this point, weíre all forced to communicate and I just hope that we just bring that into the season.
Q: Are guys talking more with each other in the locker room?
A: No, I wouldnít say more, itís the same. Weíve always been good with communicating in the locker room. But again, everything that we do out here, we bring it into the locker room. We just donít do it out here, we talk ball in the locker room every chance we get.
Q: Why did you decide to skip parts of the voluntary OTAs?
A: I was minding my own damn business.
Q: What do you see from running back Saquon Barkley?
A: The guy can play, man. ĎSaquadí, thatís what they call him, or something like that. Iím excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass [laughs]. See what heís made of. I told him, itís not Penn State. Heís not going up against [defensive tackle] Josh Banks at Wake Forest. But no, the guyís explosive, you can see how they will use him in the offense, which will be to our benefit.
Q: Did Head Coach Pat Shurmur tell you not to hit Barkley too hard?
A: Hey man, you get him between the lines, get the ball in your hand, I donít give a damn what anybody says. Itís time to work. So no, I donít think weíll be able to hit him too hard, but Iím going to hit his ass.
Q: What have you seen from offensive linemen Jon Halapio and Brett Jones?
A: Well, obviously, Halapio was a guy who was on the practice squad last year, who worked his butt off. And you can tell the coaching staff likes him a whole lot, just because of his aggression, heís a strong guy. And if weíre going to be that ground and pound team, then I think that plays exactly into his strengths. And again, he worked his butt off and he earned the reps that heís getting now. And everybody knows Brett. Brett was starting last year, he brings that toughness and that same type of strength to the line, but he also can move. Halapio can move, too. Thatís an interesting battle that Iíve been watching myself, just to see the guys rotating in and rotating out. So, I get to watch it firsthand.
Q: What is your impression of defensive tackle B.J. Hill?
A: He can play. He can play and thatís the first thing our defensive line coach told me when I got here. He said, ĎYouíre going to love 95.í He said, ĎHe can play.í So, I got out here and Iíve been watching him. Heís strong and heís got some wiggle to him and he has some move to him. So, thatís somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league, as well as Dalvin Tomlinson, who I think will take the next step this year.