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Duron Harmon preparing for his 'most important year'
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The second-year former third-round pick spent a lot of time working next to McCourty, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner throughout the spring during OTAs and mini-camp.
But the Rutgers product, who started three of the 15 games he played in a year ago filling in for Steve Gregory, doesn’t think of himself as a starter at this point in his young, developing career.
With Gregory having been released this offseason after his two seasons in New England in which he started 23 games, there is most definitely a starting job open in the back end. But Harmon doesn’t see that as a reason to change the way he approaches his role with the team.
“I would say no. Because at the end of the day I want to approach each season like I want to be the starter, I want to be the best person out there,” Harmon said. “So I want to just continue to try to lock in and get better and be that man when I’m out there.”
The one thing that Harmon is very aware of is the jump that young players are expected to make between their rookie season and second campaign. The Year Two Jump isn’t just a topic for fans and talk radio it’s a real expectation within the walls of Gillette Stadium as well.
“We talk about it too. Your second year is your most important year,” Harmon said, echoing similar comments that Chandler Jones made last spring prior to his own second season. “You want to make that jump. Because you have all that learning experience and now you want to put those learning experiences into you knowing football and knowing different situations that make you a better football player.”
As he strives to be a better football player and key communicative and playmaking cog in the Patriots pass defense Harmon spent a lot of this offseason working on his man-to-man coverage. He’ll also have the benefit of playing next to key addition like Revis and Browner while he continues to build the relationship with his fellow Rutgers alum McCourty that got off to a solid start last season.
He may not consider himself a starter, but Harmon is certainly going to get plenty of chances to prove his worth on Matt Patricia’s defense this fall. He had 30 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed as a rookie when he drew the praise at times of Bill Belichick. And he certainly plans on being prepared for his increased second-year opportunities.
“Right now I’m just looking forward to getting better,” Harmon humbly concluded. “Just trying to work on communication, work on different things. Just trying to get better. This is an important offseason for me and I know getting better is the key.”
That’s certainly the expectation for Harmon, as well as the Patriots defense as a whole.