Our good buddy Sean L Durham (@seanldurham) had the opportunity to have a chat with fan favorite Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Take a look at their conversation:
THE JET PRESS: When I see you play I see the HUNGER. Tell me if im wrong, are you hungry? And I ask this because a lot of players are in league just trying to get by when it comes to opportunities but I see something different in you. Am I seeing things?
DH: Ha Ha….. No you’re not seeing things. This really is the case. My confidence was certainly an issue last year and coach Dunbar approached me and basically told me that I wasn’t playing up to par, I wasn’t playing up to my abilities and he felt as though I wasn’t giving it everything I had. Having coach Dunbar tell me that kind of shook me up a bit and woke me up. In all honesty, I was embarrassed. I had to realize that there was a major difference from playing ball at William of Penn and now playing in the Pros. The transition didn’t take long but it apparently held me stagnant and I was unaware until Coach Dunbar made me aware of.
TJP: So are you saying you weren’t that confident in yourself last season?
DH: Well yeah. Having a year under my belt certainly helped with my confidence. Last year I was showing flashes but not putting it all together and playing up to the level I knew and coach Dunbar knew I could play up to. Towards the end of last season and during the offseason I would approach Coach Ryan and Coach Dunbar and I would ask them what do I have to do to get more playing time, what do I have to work on? During the offseason I just committed myself to getting better and faster as I worked out with a few of my teammates like Wilkerson, Wilson and Cromartie. Working out with those guys helped tremendously.
TJP: Do you see yourself as more of a pass rushing DT or a run stopping DT? Granted you seem to be good at both but which do you believe you excel at?
DH: Run stopping no doubt. Sure I can pass rush and I don’t mind coming off the field on 3rd and long but I’m a great run stopper and I pride myself on that. I know what I can do so I try to capitalize on it. Run stopping for sure and I have no problems saying that.
TJP: How flexible is Rex and Coach Thurman regarding the defensive scheme? The D-line has been playing grown man football these first few games but I’m noticing you, Richardson and Wilkerson seem to be all over the line which begs the question; Does Rex and Thurman give you guys a lot of flexibility to do what you want out there or is it a bit more structured, tight ship kinda deal?
DH: It’s a little bit of both but you have to do your job. Certain points in the game they tell you to be athletes. They tell you if you have a shot take it but first know your assignments but be a football player. A little bit of both but they don’t hold our hand and they do allow us to take shots when we think it’s there.
TJP: You played your college ball at William of Penn, so are you more of a cold weather player or a warm weather? When that weather hits 30 and below does it get you pumping or are you thinking about Campbell soup and hot biscuits?
DH: Ha Ha Ha ……. Well I played in cold weather but you never get used to cold weather. Not the one to play tough when it’s frigid outside, I definitely gotta go with the sleeves in those situation.
TJP: Do you have specific moves you practice in order to consistently get a step on o-linemen or are you RAW and simply just try to go HAM on every play?
DH: That’s a thing I worked with Dunbar…..Working on a lot of moves. Based on what the o-lineman does but me being a run stopper I chose power over finesse, my go to move is bull rush every time and it’s a move that can be consistently effective if you do right.
TJP: Be honest and none of that politically correct mess either. When this D-line gets healthy, just how good can it be? Don’t be modest either.
DH: It’s really no modest way to put it, we have three first rounders and we have myself, an underdog with a lot to prove. When we’re running on all cylinders we will be the best in the league no other way to put it. Doesn’t hurt when you enjoy the guys you play with and it makes it easier to go out and not only have fun but to compete at a high level. I honestly believe we all just compliment each other and we all bring something different to the line.
TJP: Give me your impressions of Geno Smith. If Geno came to your house RIGHT now crying saying “Damon tell me what I need to do to get better please!!!!! From a defensive player stand point what do I need to do to get better?” What are you telling Geno?
DH: Really just don’t know. Geno is certainly a good QB a little ahead of his time, he has no major flaws if you ask me. He’s poised and composed and I would tell him to just don’t be nervous and play like yourself. If you make a mistake just learn from it and move on and not dwell on it. You don’t have to always make the big spectacular play just try to make the right play, the play you can live with no matter what and those aren’t always the big plays.
TJP: If you continue at this and an even higher level and continue to eat like this on the field are you ok with changing your nickname from “SNACKS” to “HIBACHI”?
DH: Ha Ha Ha. Nah I love “Snacks.” At first I didn’t like the nickname but as long as the fans was calling me something I knew it was an acknowledgement of the hard work. I will certainly embrace it and I think it will stick with me forever
TJP: I know you have 2 daughters. Are they legit football fans and can they spot you on the football field? Do they Monday Morning QB you and say “Daddy you could’ve had that sack if you just would’ve dug your heels in harder” ???
DH: No analyzing but they can pick me out from the field. I ask them where is daddy and they have no problems picking me out. It’s awesome.
TJP: How good do you think you came become? An Undrafted Free Agent out of WILL of PENN? When you lay in the bed at night before going to sleep and you look ahead, you see your dreams like they are right in front of you. Do you see “ALL-PRO”Damon Harrison, PRO-Bowler Damon Harrison, HOFer Damon Harrison?
DH: I’d be lying If I told you no but before I see that I want to win a Superbowl, I REALLY do. I’m not just saying it to say the right thing, the politically correct thing but because I envision being a SuperBowl champ before anything else. I’d take a Superbowl before I take MULTIPLE individual accolades for sure.
TJP: Outside of practice, do you do anything else during the week to prepare for games?
DH: Man I’m big on practice. When I walk off the practice field I try to make sure that there’s nothing left. There are times when I’ll meet up with the strength coach and hit the weights but for the most part I go hard at practice and leave it all on the practice field. I try to make sure I’m ready to go on Sundays
TJP: Jets fans aren’t expecting much out of the team this season (or at least that’s what the media says). If you can say anything to Jets fans that would help them come around, so to speak, what would it be?
DH: Just know that Management and Coach Ryan has put together the best unit possible. This year we’re all hungry and a chip is on our shoulders and we all want it. I give all I can and the guys around me give all they can as well. We go 100 at all times so please be patient. There will be growing pains but Rex has us prepared, he’s (Rex) is one helluva coach and I’d go to hell and back for Rex. I hear the negative talk re Rex and I can’t understand it and it makes me mad, it really does.
TJP : Last question and the most important; Are you ready for the “SNAAAAAAACCCCKKKKKKSS” chants?????
DH: Ha Ha Ha….. Oh yeah certainly, like I said I’m willing to embrace it and I love it