The Giants Guys

Snacks Praises Saquon, Then Says He Can’t Wait to Hit Him

Tuesday was the first day of the Giants’ mandatory minicamp and all players who were scheduled to be in attendance were there. That includes DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison, who skipped a number of the team’s voluntary OTAs the past few weeks. He was asked why he decided to sit out those sessions.

“I was minding my own damn business,” he said.

Harrison is a large man, weighing in at 350 pounds, or wherever the scale stops. He never looks as if he’s in shape, but he always is. He is the best run stopper in the game and he knows it. So do the Giants, who paid him a king’s ransom to leave the Jets and join forces with them two years ago. So, if he wants to sit out the voluntaries, they understand.

One thing is for sure, however, and that is the temperature of the team. These days morale is good and there has been nothing but positive feedback from the players on the new coaching staff.

“Oh, it’s high. It’s high,” said Harrison of that morale. “It’s a new staff, you’ve got no choice but to be happy.”

The one coach that Snacks is fired up about is DC James Bettcher, who’s entire defensive philosophy is predicated on putting pressure on the quarterback.

“I’ve played in a 3-4 before under [Jets Head] Coach [Todd] Bowles, and Coach Bettcher and Bowles worked together, so I have a lot of familiarity with the system,” he said. “It’s just all about reaching in that memory bank. Everything I was told to forget, I’ve got to remember again.”

Harrison was frank about most subjects from the upbeat atmosphere to the addition of some key rookies, including DL B.J. Hill (“you’re gonna like No. 95”) and first round pick Saquon Barkley.

“The guy can play, man,” said Harrison of Barkley. “‘Saquad’, that’s what they call him, or something like that. I’m excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass [laughs]. See what he’s made of. I told him, it’s not Penn State. He’s not going up against [defensive tackle] Josh Banks at Wake Forest. But no, the guy’s explosive, you can see how they will use him in the offense, which will be to our benefit.”

So, that means Harrison will take it easy on the rookie RB when the Giants slap the pads on in August, right? Guess again.

“Hey man, you get him between the lines, get the ball in your hand, I don’t give a damn what anybody says. It’s time to work. So no, I don’t think we’ll be able to hit him too hard, but I’m going to hit his ass.”

Snacks also went out of his way to mention how pleased he was in the two players the Giants are trying at center this spring – Jon Halapio and Brett Jones.

“Halapio was a guy who was on the practice squad last year, who worked his butt off. And you can tell the coaching staff likes him a whole lot, just because of his aggression, he’s a strong guy. And if we’re going to be that ground and pound team, then I think that plays exactly into his strengths. And again, he worked his butt off and he earned the reps that he’s getting now. And everybody knows Brett. Brett was starting last year, he brings that toughness and that same type of strength to the line, but he also can move. Halapio can move, too. That’s an interesting battle that I’ve been watching myself, just to see the guys rotating in and rotating out. So, I get to watch it firsthand.”

The Giants are lucky to have the big man in tow, and he’ll be joined on the defense by some new faces in a new alignment. He appears to be stoked.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement right now because it’s new. We all have to learn. It’s not like we’re coming back and we know everything. So, everybody has their thinking caps on and just knowing that we all don’t know anything. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I like what I see from everybody so far.”



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