Damon “Snacks” Harrison already has declared his desire to get more sacks than the 2.5 he recorded last season, his first as the Giants’ nose tackle. But more than that, the 341-pound run-stopper wants to create a more dynamic defensive line that can be dangerous on every down — starting with himself.
“Get lighter, quicker on my feet,” Harrison said when asked how he has tried to increase his versatility, specifically getting to the quarterback. “Have the same approach against the pass as I do against the run. But if you notice, I stop my feet a lot anytime I’m pass rushing, and that’s just me overthinking things, trying to process the blocking schemes, how are they blocking me.
“But just letting loose and running up the field every now and then. Like everybody else does. I want to do it, too.”
Harrison was a first-team All-Pro last season because of how good he is against the run, but it also helped he so often had Johnathan Hankins lining up next to him in the middle.
Hankins left this offseason to sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the Colts.
The most likely to fill that void would be Jay Bromley or rookie Dalvin Tomlinson, both of whom already have impressed Harrison.
“Jay’s come a long way, but that’s just a testament to him being in here in the offseason,” Harrison said. “I come in here to run and he’s already running, he’s lifting weights, he’s focused. It’s night and day from where he was a year ago.
Damon Harrison talks to Odell Beckham Jr. during a practice earlier this week.Robert Sabo
“Dalvin is coming along. This past, I want to say, week and a half, two weeks, he’s taking coaching very well, he’s in the classroom all the time watching the film, trying to improve, asking questions.”
With Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon set to bookend the defensive line, Harrison said he likes what he sees.
“I think we have a good group,” he said. “It’s a good competition.”
Linebacker J.T. Thomas was activated off the PUP list, and partially participated in practice. He still is recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in the 2016 season-opener against the Cowboys. Thomas likely won’t play the next preseason game on Monday in Cleveland, but could be ready for the Aug. 26 matchup against the Jets.
“He is working through individuals and we will have a plan to build him up as we go,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We are not going to rush into anything with him.”
The Giants signed linebacker Steven Daniels, a Boston College product who had been a seventh-round draft pick of the Redskins in 2016.
Here is how a long shot attracts positive attention and makes a run at the roster, or, more likely, the practice squad: Calvin Munson, undrafted rookie linebacker out of San Diego State, took advantage of a botched blocking assignment up front and nailed RB Orleans Darkwa in the backfield. “We ran a blitz up the middle,’’ Munson said. “I don’t know if they messed up the protection but I came free.’’
In the span of a few plays, Geno Smith fumbled a snap and had to pounce on the loose ball while rookie Wayne Gallman fouled up an exchange. That prompted coach Ben McAdoo to send both players off to jog a punishment lap around the field.
“The ball was on the ground way too much,’’ McAdoo said. “We needed an opportunity to gain our composure, so I gave a couple players an opportunity to gain their composure.’’
Ever the perfectionist, Eli Manning executed an effective play-fake to Paul Perkins, halting the pass rush just enough to gain the time to locate Odell Beckham Jr., open over the middle. The pass sailed high, though, and fell incomplete.
As he came off the field, Manning, in a rare show of emotion, grimaced and shook his head, knowing he let one get away.
Safety Landon Collins (illness) missed practice. LB J.T. Thomas and RB Shaun Draughn were both taken off the PUP list, the first step in working their way back onto the field. LB B.J. Goodson hurt his back and was forced out. LB Devon Kennard is sore and did not work. DT Corbin Bryant (elbow) is out. Guard Adam Gettis did not practice. LB Keenan Robinson is out of the concussion protocol and was a full participant. LB Mark Herzlich (stinger) remains out.