DAVIE–One reason the Dolphins are near the bottom of the NFL in sacks despite sinking tremendous resources into their defensive line: First-round pick Charles Harris has just one this season.
But Miami coach Adam Gase doesn’t see that as a problem.
Harris, the No. 22 overall selection, is playing a limited role behind starters Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, and Gase is pleased with his overall development during his rookie year.
“I’m not gonna complain about what he’s been doing,” he said.
Harris got a sack on Tennessee’s Matt Cassel in early October and hasn’t had one since. He has played 49.9 percent of the defensive snaps this year, including 60 percent or more of the playing time against the Titans, Jets (second game) and Ravens. He played 54.2 percent of the snaps in the Denver game.
While he hasn’t been getting sacks, he is third on the team in quarterback hits with eight. Wake has 22, Ndamukong Suh has nine and Branch has six. Harris also has 13 total tackles.
A few other notes on Harris:
–He has caused four holding penalties, which leads the team. For comparison, Khalil Mack has caused five.
–He is second on the team with 21 quarterback hurries.
–He leads all Miami defensive linemen in passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
“I never really pay attention to sacks,” Gase said. “I always look at pass disruption. How many times are you hitting the quarterback? How many times are you putting pressure on the quarterback, where he has to move off the spot and get rid of the ball sooner than he wants to?
“As long as he keeps doing that, that’s all that really matters to me. Just keep getting better as a young player. He’s seen a lot of things he’s never seen before, in the run game especially. His job is to get better every week and keep finding ways to create pressure on the quarterback.”
Harris, 22, should get an expanded role down the stretch if the Dolphins are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. At 5-7, they’re still technically in it and will continue to the play their starters as much as possible.
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook