On Monday, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden named off some of the defensive backs that had been gaining his attention.
Sure, Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar and the like were named. But then followed a name that isn’t so A-List.
“[Jeremy] Harris has done some good things,” Gruden said.
If that name doesn’t ring any bells, that’s all right. His three-year NFL career has been tumultuous to say the least. His rookie campaign with the Jaguars in 2013 was spent on the injured reserve with a back injury. He played sparingly on special teams the following season over six games and recorded five tackles. In 2015, Harris suited up for four different teams. He landed on the Redskins’ practice squad in Week 13, after stints with the Jaguars, Chiefs and Jets, and he was elevated to the roster after four weeks.
“It’s a good thing to get a little recognition,” Harris said.
One thing Harris is soaking in during his first Redskins training camp: the veteran leadership.
“It’s real great,” Harris said. “It’s real good to learn and ask some different questions, how they see things.”
But there is one player Harris said he has learned the most from during camp. That player? DeAngelo Hall. Harris he started trying to emulate Hall back when he was playing Pop Warner football years ago. And learning from his childhood idol has been life changing.
“You can ask him anything,” Harris said. “He’s the OG of the group, a real guru.”
Of the 16 defensive backs listed on the roster, eight of them are newcomers to the team. Of those eight, five of them are rookies. And they share the same sentiment as Harris.
Mariel Cooper, a rookie cornerback out of The Citadel, came to Washington as an undrafted free agent. He said he’s picking the brains of all the veteran defensive backs.
“It is pretty awesome,” Cooper said of sharing the field with veteran defensive backs. “It’s a lot of vets back there in the group. I wouldn’t want to be any place else, other than here in Washington. Back there with [DeAngelo Hall], [Will Blackmon], [Josh Norman], [Bashaud Breeland], just collectively, it’s a solid group and me being a young guy coming in, I’m just being a sponge and soaking in everything.”
Cooper said he stays after practice a lot to soak up some of Norman’s knowledge.
“We go over technique stuff and just learning how to think as an NFL defensive back,” Cooper said.
Cooper says it’s nice not being the only rookie defensive back.
“Having other rookies out there makes me feel more comfortable,” Cooper said. “I’m not the only guy out there that’s not familiar with the defense being in the NFL. We all learn at the same rate, so as a rookie class, we’re all tight. We’re all close.”
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