Versatile Dwayne Harris primed for impact year
By: Dan Salomone, Giants
When Dwayne Harris signed last offseason, the former Cowboy said he came to the Giants because they looked at him as a receiver. He proved them right.
In 2015, Harris, while maintaining his reputation as one of the best special teamers in the game, recorded career highs in receptions (36), receiving yards (396) and touchdown receptions (four). In his four previous seasons in Dallas combined, he had 33 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns.
Now he’s back for another round with the Giants, who open the 2016 campaign at Dallas.
“I’m super confident in this offense,” Harris said. “I’m one of the few guys that knows every position there is at the wideout position. So I feel good. You can put me anywhere — either inside or outside — and I’m still comfortable. I’m very comfortable with the knowledge that I have in this offense.”
The same goes for the man running it: Eli Manning. Entering his 13th season — and third in Ben McAdoo’s offense — the franchise quarterback is coming off his own career season in which the Giants finished seventh in passing and sixth in scoring. That confidence trickles down to everyone on the field.
“We’re definitely feeling a lot more comfortable,” Harris said. “Eli, this is his third year in this offense, and the guys he has around him, his team, we all feel comfortable. We all fill each other out. We all have that same mentality. We’re all on the same page, and it shows on the field when we get out there. We have a couple mistakes here and there, but they can be fixed. But overall, I think we’re doing a good job.”
One of the areas Harris said the team wants to improve is the deep ball. Last season, the Giants’ bread and butter were passes from 6-10 yards. They completed 150 in that range, the most in the NFL. However, from 11-20 yards, they completed 85 passes, good for only 25th.
“I think we’re getting better just throwing the ball down the field more,” Harris said. “We’re definitely trying to work on throwing the ball down the field, throwing more deep passes. And [we need to get] the run game going. That’s one of the key elements in our offense. We got it going later on in the season. We’ve just got to continue that momentum and keep carrying it in the beginning of this season.”
Meanwhile, Harris will remain a four-core special teamer.
After giving his current team headaches for years as a Cowboy, he became the first Giant to have a punt return TD and kickoff return TD in the same season since Jimmy Patton in 1955. Additionally, Harris is the only player in franchise history to score on a pass, kickoff and punt in the same season. And that was only Year One with the team.