Dont’a Hightower says David Harris has been like a defensive coordinator

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The Patriots will face the Jets this weekend in a game that linebacker David Harris might have circled on his schedule when he signed with New England shortly after being released by the Jets late in the offseason.

Harris said it will be strange going into MetLife Stadium as a member of the visiting team. Given the major role he had with the Jets, that won’t be the only difference.

Harris has seen action in three games and played seven defensive snaps this year, which might not have been the plan but isn’t something he’s complaining about. Harris said it has been “amazing” to see how the Patriots work and linebacker Dont'a Hightower said that he has found other ways to contribute to the team.

“I’m saying like defensive coordinator-type stuff,” Hightower said, via the Providence Journal. “I mean, coming from two different organizations back whenever he was at the Jets, guys know that if there’s one thing about David it’s that he’s a real smart linebacker. I think that guys here saw that real quick and appreciate it. He’s helped that other waves of guys that are coming in, so for him to come in and learn the playbook as well as he has and still help the younger guys like [Elandon Roberts] and the second and third year guys in the secondary, so it really helps to have that extra bag of leadership in the back end.”

Harris said he’s “trying to be ready if my number is called” and it’s unclear if that’s going to happen in his return to New Jersey, but it sounds like he’ll be playing a role even if it doesn’t work out that way.

20 responses to “Dont’a Hightower says David Harris has been like a defensive coordinator

  1. Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released and a very welcomed player with good speed will be infused back in at the line of scrimmage as the big nickel with Chung as the little nickel (dime).

  2. That explains it! I have to say the defense for the Patriots has been head scratching this year, and now I understand!

    It’s being influenced by a former Jets player!

  3. Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released and a very welcomed player with good speed will be infused back in at the line of scrimmage as the big nickel with Chung as the little nickel (dime).

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    I think that will be Dwayne Allen. If Tye ends up being serviceable, Dwayne Allen will be sent packing. That will leave Gronk and Hollister on the active roster. Plus, who knows what happens with Alan Branch/trade deadline. Malcolm Mitchell should return from IR depending on our Receiver depth/injury situation as well.

  4. “Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released…”

    My gut instinct is to disagree. It seems to me that Belichick doesn’t like to cut older vets mid-season, even when their performance has declined, as long as they are being team players. I would guess one aspect of this has to do with the perception problem this would cause in recruiting other older vets. At that point in their career, they worry about legacy and their reputation as much or more that the price they can fetch and they want to be treated with respect. Even if Harris doesn’t play much this year, I expect the Patriots would more likely part quietly with him in the off-season with kind words. That being said, I hope that he can make a real contribution this year, and I think the possibility of this is another good reason to keep him.

  5. tylawspick6 says:
    October 13, 2017 at 9:30 am
    Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released…
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    For person that loves to throw cap comments out about other teams it’s strange you never seem to consider the Pats cap at all. Harris has a current year cap hit of $2,843,750 and a dead cap hit of $2,250,000. Do you really believe Belichick is going to cut a veteran that apparently understands the D for a net cap savings of $600k when he could have done it before the 4th game and netted a million more in cap relief? BTW $600k is below the vet minimum.

  6. testmicroblog22 says:
    October 13, 2017 at 10:12 am
    “Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released…”

    My gut instinct is to disagree. It seems to me that Belichick doesn’t like to cut older vets mid-season, even when their performance has declined, as long as they are being team players. I would guess one aspect of this has to do with the perception problem this would cause in recruiting other older vets. At that point in their career, they worry about legacy and their reputation as much or more that the price they can fetch and they want to be treated with respect. Even if Harris doesn’t play much this year, I expect the Patriots would more likely part quietly with him in the off-season with kind words. That being said, I hope that he can make a real contribution this year, and I think the possibility of this is another good reason to keep him.

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    Umm, I would imagine Harris is realizing he’s cooked as much as BB realizes it. They’re not going to waste a roster spot on him, and they also just acquired Flowers, another LB at the start of the season, specifically since McClellin was starting on the PUP.

    If McClellin blew out an ACL or they at least designated the injury, I would be more willing to accept he’s done for the year, but “undisclosed” screams another concussion and precaution for him as it was last year with the concussion.

    But, McClellin is a gamechanger with how BB uses him as a chess piece and someone would have to go.

    Hightower is being nice, that is for sure.

    Harris can’t move and they can’t hide him in the defense. Nice gesture by BB to give him one last crack, but it’s over.

    If they want to still have him around as a consultant the rest of the year as an assistant, great!

  7. tylawspick6 says:
    October 13, 2017 at 9:30 am
    Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released
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    For all your love of bringing up the cap when it comes to other teams you have a penchant for ignoring it when it comes to the Pats. As a veteran on the roster beyond the 4th game Harris’ contract for this season, minus incentives, became guaranteed. Because of unearned incentive bonuses cutting him could save $600k against the cap. $600k is below the veteran minimum. Belichick isn’t cutting a veteran that apparently knows the D to net back less than the cost of bringing in one that doesn’t.

  8. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    October 13, 2017 at 10:52 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    October 13, 2017 at 9:30 am
    Meh…When McClellin is activated, Harris will be released…
    ____________________

    For person that loves to throw cap comments out about other teams it’s strange you never seem to consider the Pats cap at all. Harris has a current year cap hit of $2,843,750 and a dead cap hit of $2,250,000. Do you really believe Belichick is going to cut a veteran that apparently understands the D for a net cap savings of $600k when he could have done it before the 4th game and netted a million more in cap relief? BTW $600k is below the vet minimum.

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    Umm, yes I do. I would say BB builds in 7-10 mil in dead money hits every year as part of his process. It’s a smart thing to do. That way, you’ve already got the possible dead money on the books, where if you end up not taking it on, you can use that for in season “business costs”, which are street signings and/or trades.

    BB is 1000 steps ahead of every other GM in the league and the Pats have never once been in a cap hell.

    If he makes a mistake, small or large, he moves on. It’s one his great traits as a GM with no ego whatsoever.

    Harris would be a very, very minor mistake at his salary and guaranteed money just like Ealy was taking a flier, moving 8 spots back in a draft and kicknig the tires, on what turned out to be a very selfish player only concerned about stat padding for sacks for a new deal.

    There is a reason why the Jets pass rush and run D blows.

    Most teams are too embarrassed to admit mistakes, even small ones, and try to hide said mistakes.

    Ironically, the Jets are famous for this, refusing to admit draft busts, free agents, or wild disappointments in the draft (Gholston, Pryor, Coples, Milliner, Darrin Lee and now possible Leonard Williams is in that mix with only 14 tackles since Richardson was dealt).

    The list goes on and on and on…

  9. RogerThat! says:
    October 13, 2017 at 10:58 am
    I think BB is managing the team for the 2nd half, where the Pat’s are always strongest. He knows injuries are a certainty.

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    Ok, except McClellin is>>>>>Harris. BB doesn’t trust Harris because he’s a massive liability in space, which we knew going in.

    If Langi comes along, maybe, just MAYBE, Harris could be justified in a 3-4, with Langi’s speed at MLB covering for Harris’s lack of speed.

  10. You have to admit, after watching the Pats for 5 games, I can’t help but notice there’s a chink in the Patriot Way. Numerous (dumb) penalties, protests, disorganization and lack of communication on defense. I don’t believe the defense has the quality of leadership they’ve had in the past and maybe that’s the reason Bill holds onto a guy like Harris and guys like Hightower look up to him.

  11. nbptma1 says:
    October 13, 2017 at 11:41 am
    You have to admit, after watching the Pats for 5 games, I can’t help but notice there’s a chink in the Patriot Way. Numerous (dumb) penalties, protests, disorganization and lack of communication on defense. I don’t believe the defense has the quality of leadership they’ve had in the past and maybe that’s the reason Bill holds onto a guy like Harris and guys like Hightower look up to him.

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    Well, the penalties were either complete ticky-tack or of the one-off dumb variety. While what you are seeing is true, when you have team captains liek Matt Slater or even a key STs like Ebner out, or Hightower out or just working his way back, these are impact players in those areas.

    I can name 10 penalties that were complete gifts ot the other team, with 5 of them in the game vs Carolina alone which was a complete bagjob by Goodell. I thin we can agree on that.

    It’s not a chink…They haven’t been there, but now they are there.

    Burkhead will also return this week.

    Like I said, get by the Jets, host Altanta and beat them, and get by SD at home to the BYe, and watch this team get healthy off the Bye for Denver.

    Looking forward to it, but the rest of the AFC shouldn’t be.

  12. 6ball says:
    October 13, 2017 at 10:14 am
    .
    It’s a long season and injuries happen. A fresh Harris could be valuable down the stretch.
    .

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    I would much rather have Harvey Langi and his speed in there, learning with Hightower, as oppoosed to snail Harris dropping into coverage at MLB.

    Bottom line is this:

    Branch needs to wake up, Hightower back to MLB, Van Noy to OLB and McClellin back as the big nickel at the line, on the weakside for RB spy work, move TE work at the line, and rushing the passer.

  13. @tylawspick6

    Roughing the kicker 2 times in a row, roughing the passer two times in a row and getting in a scuffle recently tells me they are somewhat leaderless. I can’t count on McCourtey to keep guys in line and as you said Slater has been injured. Not sure Donta is a strong enough leader. I’m thinking leadership guys like Minkovich, Light, Wilfork, Mankins, Harrison and Bruschi.

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