Al Harris knows a thing or two about playing the cornerback position in the NFL. In his 14 year career he accumulated 21 interceptions and 143 pass deflections and it's that knowledge he's bringing to the Dallas Cowboys as their new defensive backs coach.
Al Harris is just one of the new faces among the Dallas Cowboys new coaching staff under the leadership of Head Coach Mike McCarthy. He is faced with a tough task of overseeing the Cowboys secondary and hopefully helping them raise their game to a new level. That of course is easier said than done, but he knew what he was getting into prior to inking his contract.
The Dallas Cowboys secondary is in a bit of a rebuild right now. It's not a complete makeover thank goodness, but they did lose their best cover man in free agency when Byron Jones decided to take his talents to the Miami Dolphins. Al Harris and a few others now have to figure out how to move forward without him and what to do this season and beyond.
Coaching styles differ from person to person, but each one typically draws on past experience to mold his players. For Al Harris, that means we can probably expect a more aggressive, physical, and savvy playing style from the Cowboys CBs. At least that's what one of the best wide receivers to ever play game, Calvin Johnson, said to Glover Quinn in a recent interview on The DB Room.
When talking to Glover Quinn recently, Calvin Johnson credited Al Harris for his development…
“I really felt like he slapped me straight in a literal sense when I first got into the league. When I got in the league, the Packers had Al Harris. Al wasn't the fastest guy, but Al was very savvy and very aggressive and super physical. Wanted to get his hands on you every play.”
Savvy. Aggressive. Physical. Those three words are not ones that would probably be used to describe the Dallas Cowboys cornerback play the past several years. Hopefully that's about to change though, because that's the kind of mentality Al Harris plans to instill in his players. The only question is, is he up to the task?
Unfortunately, that's not an answer anyone is capable of giving right now. There's just too many moving parts that need to be figured out before we know just what kind of impact Al Harris can have with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys are not only in the middle of rebuilding their secondary somewhat, but they also have several players with expiring contracts after the 2020 season. It's going to take a few years for them to retool and find the players they believe fit the parameters they want in their defensive backs, both at safety and cornerback.
I don't know about you though, but I'm pretty excited about what the Dallas Cowboys could be getting from Al Harris. If nothing else, he should at the very least change the mentality of the position. That's a good foundation to build upon and right now that's about all we can ask.