If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.
“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.
Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”
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And a bit about the two defensive tackles: Hill and Williams.
As for their contributions on the field, Williams has quicker feet than you might expect for a player of his size. He displayed that Saturday by exploding through the line to arrive at running back Derrick Coleman just as he was taking the handoff. Hill has more bulk, especially in his lower body, than advertised. And he flaunted that Saturday by collapsing the intended hole before running back Christine Michael could get to it.
All of this has defensive coordinator Dan Quinn smiling after two practices and a couple of walkthroughs.
“One, they’re willing to do the work and the questions that they ask, it’s exactly what you’re looking for,” Quinn said. “I also like the mindset and the attitude, and you can also see a connection starting between those guys.
“The thing I really like about both of them is their mature approach, exactly like you’d like from your D-tackles. It’s a dirty job, and they accept it.”
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