Rushing the passer — not always as easy as ABC, as the Dolphins found out last year.
But how about Alpha-Bravo-Charlie?
Charles Harris explains:
“Shoot, we have Alpha, we have Bravo and we’ve just got to roll," the Dolphins' second-year defensive end said Tuesday, when asked how five potential starters at his position are all going to get enough snaps.
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"We’re just rolling. In practice we’re going hard, we’re going fast. It’s just crazy. There isn’t any drop-off. That’s the biggest thing. We just roll them in, roll them out and shoot. We just keep the pressure, constant pressure, on the offense. I feel like they’re definitely getting better, especially the offensive line. They’re definitely getting better off of us because we’re bringing that tenacity each and every day.”
So no, Harris will not have to do it alone this fall. He has help in Robert Quinn. And Cameron Wake. And William Hayes. And Andre Branch. Who teams with whom has not been determined. But at this point, that's beside the point.
"We’re going in there on a mission," Harris continued. "We’ve got Alpha coming in first, we’ve got Bravo coming in next. Then we’ve got Charlie, too."
Last year, it was too much Zulu (or zero) out of a position group that was among the league's highest paid.
Miami ranked 26th in sacks (with 30), and Harris did not have the breakout rookie season many had hoped from the Dolphins' first-round pick. He finished the year with just 19 tackles, including two sacks.
Coaches were quick to point out how Harris impacted the game in ways that went beyond stats — he was "disruptive" in the backfield, Adam Gase often said — but pass rushers are ultimately judged by how often they bring down the opposing quarterback.
And last year, he did not do it enough.
But so far in 2018, Harris has looked like the type of player the Dolphins expected when they made him the draft's 22nd overall pick.
"He’s one of the guys I’m least worried about," Gase said Tuesday.
An hour or so earlier, reporters saw why. He blew past right tackle Ja'Wuan James and would have had a sack on Ryan Tannehill if it was a live-action drill.
"[I have to] worry about myself," Harris said. "That’s really the only thing I’ve got to do is just worry about myself, make sure I come in here every single day. I had goals before I came into OTAs as to what I wanted to be for my team. I’m making sure I’m doing that every single day. Positive attitude on the field and making it fun. We were going through a special teams drill and probably nobody wanted to do it; but creating a competition during special teams drill. It’s just the simple things I’m trying to do to make sure that I’m a great teammate."
Having Quinn and Wake in his ear certainly helps.
Harris nearly visited Quinn in Los Angeles during the Dolphins' escape from Hurricane Irma last September (Quinn and William Hayes were teammates in Los Angeles, and are now again in Miami), but those plans never materialized. Nine months later, he has Quinn as a full-time sounding board.
"So far he’s been a great guy to go to for any questions," Harris said. "He’s a really low-key humble guy, and he just does his job. He’s a great mentor."
Quinn and Wake will be tough to surpass on the Alpha pass-rush team, but that's OK with Harris. He will get plenty of work this fall on Bravo or even Charlie.
"The guy here today, I know who I am," Harris added. "There are a lot of voids coming out of college that go into being a real adult. There are a lot of voids and a lot of things you have to do to find yourself. There are a lot of things you have to go through. I feel like this past year, I went through all of those and I know who I am and I know who I want to be. I feel like once you find that security and once you find the anchor in something, can’t nothing else waiver you. I feel like my mind-set, my spiritual side, my emotions, just everything is just at a point that I’ve never been in my life.”