DAVIE — Charles Harris didn’t flinch.
And the Miami Dolphins don’t want him to flinch when he finally takes the field as a rookie.
What has Harris already learned in meetings with coaches and players about the approach they want to take as a defensive unit in 2017?
“Aggressive,” Harris said. “It’s something that I’m used to playing to. At Missouri, it’s an attack football defense. And it’s something I look forward to already.”
The Dolphins have a new defensive coordinator, Matt Burke.
And the Daily Dolphin believes Miami will be even more aggressive in 2017 than 2016. This is in part due to the fact that Miami should be able to trust its back seven more.
Last season, Kiko Alonso was hurt, Lawrence Timmons hadn’t been signed, Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi were hurt, Raekwon McMillan hadn’t been drafted, Reshad Jones was hurt, Nate Allen and T.J. McDonald hadn’t been signed and Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard were hurt and Cordrea Tankersley hadn’t been drafted.
And while Burke has no plans to overhaul defensive scheme (there will be tweaks, including a scaling-back of the defensive playbook) he has more toys to work with.
And from all accounts, Burke wants to attack.
Harris was drafted because his pass rush skills are special.
Miami wants him to attack quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Tyrod Taylor and — Josh McCown? — with a ferocity unknown to mankind. Or, perhaps a ferocity similar to defensive end Cameron Wake.
Three Miami Dolphins rookies commented at an event where they worked with Special Olympians about their first impressions.
Raekwon McMillan’s take?
“We get after it,” he said. “Everyday, we come to work. I can’t really speak for the other position groups, but in the linebacker room, some of the leaders we have — Kiko (Alonso), LT (Timmons), we’ve got some leaders how get after it everyday in practice and work pretty hard.”
McMillan admitted absorbing an NFL playbook will take some time.
“It’s very complex,” he said. “Coming from Ohio State, we have a very solidly ran program, but what we learn here is just a different level. The knowledge, you have to take it to another level here when you take it on the field.”
His approach to moving fast while trying to drink NFL plays from a fire hose is sound.
“You’re kind of coming in a little bit behind on a little bit of the information, but it’s up to us,” McMillan said. “We’re paid a good amount of money to come in and learn.”
Rookie defensive tackle Vincent Taylor said veterans Jordan Phillips and Julius Warmsley have been helping him.
What has Taylor learned about Miami’s approach to defense?
“They’re strictly about business,” he said.
Follow Joe Schad on Twitter
Get Dolphins stories right to your Facebook by liking this page