DAVIE — Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Charles Harris has only one quarterback sack this season.
But Harris has 7 quarterback hits (second on the team), 2 passes defended and 1 fumble recovery.
More importantly, Dolphins coaches believe his work ethic will eventually lead to big results.
“We’re happy with where he is,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke said Thursday. “I don’t think there’s a man in the building – or woman – that would question his work ethic. He literally – I know it’s quite cliché – is one of the first people here every morning. I think he makes (strength coach) Dave Puloka open up the weight room early and all of that stuff.”
In a recent Daily Dolphin entry, we outlined all the reasons you should not panic about Harris’ slow statistical start.
Burke concurred with the theories in that story.
“Charles has been good,” Burke said. “That’s a hard position as a rookie, if you look across the history of the league, to make impact plays and do some things. He’s working through that. We’ve probably played him more than … I don’t want to say we intended to but he’s had to take on a bigger role with some of the things with Will (Hayes) going down and some other things we’ve had to deal with. I think long term, that’s going to be a good thing. I think sometimes it’s much for him, in terms of this year and day-to-day and what he’s getting. I think long term it is going to help that he’s getting that experience and getting all of that playing time.”
Harris continues to add strength and focus on stopping the run, not just rushing the passer.
“His work ethic and he’s a smart kid,” Burke said. “I think we’re just cautioning him not to be results-oriented and keep going through the process of getting better and all of these reps that he’s getting in game situations are going to be good for him. He had a nice play (last Sunday). He got a hit on (Tom) Brady last week and some of his speed shows up and whatnot. I’m happy with his progress and I think it’s going to keep going.”