Rodney Harrison brings the attitude: Darrelle Revis is ‘best cornerback on the planet’
|08.02.14 at 1:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — Rodney Harrison has never been one to hold back. Friday night certainly was no different as he told some out-of-school stories minutes after Ty Law was formally inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in at Patriot Place.
Then, just like his playing days, the Sunday Night Football analyst began to drop the hammer.
Harrison said he loves the fact that the cornerbacks are playing an aggressive brand of physical football, especially at the line of scrimmage.
“That’s perfect,” he began. “You’re supposed to hate those receivers. Every time, you’re supposed choke them to death, get them at the line of scrimmages. It think that’s what I think Darrelle Revis will bring. Whether he’s an outspoken guy, lead by example. He’s going to choke you at the line of scrimmage. He can play left, he can play right. All this talk about Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, who’s the best cornerback? The best cornerback on the planet is right here in New England, and he will prove it this year.”
Then Harrison laid into the defensive backs of the last several seasons and blamed them for the Patriots falling short of a fourth Super Bowl title.
“The last how many years since I’ve been retired, six years, I’ve been very disappointed, quite frankly,” Harrison said. “I take pride in this Patriot team and what Bill Belichick believes in. To see the type of guys that were on that stage and not have that same type of production, it hurt my heart to have to criticize this secondary on Sunday night. It hurt my heart.
“But at the same time, there has to be a certain level of accountability. You get to the point where you realize that, yes, it’s nice to score points on offense but you need defense and you need guys that aren’t afraid to jam guys and play man-to-man coverage and hit you in the mouth, and I think that’s what Browner and Revis gives you.
“It’s attitude. It’s about being excited about playing football. You have an opportunity to play for the greatest organization on the planet. How can you not come out here and get it done? It’s not good enough to win a playoff game, it’s not good enough to make it to the AFC championship game. It’s time to win a Super Bowl, and everybody has to be held accountable.”
With Browner, the Patriots have another physical defensive back who plays aggressively, and Harrison said that’s exactly what has been missing in the secondary. Now with all the pieces in place on his defense, it’s definitely Super Bowl or bust for the Pats.
As for the question of leadership and whether there’s enough to last the whole season, Harrison is optimistic that Belichick has brought in enough of the right attitude to make it work.
“You can’t be a leader if you don’t have an attitude,” he said. “You’ve got to have an attitude. You have to have some pride about yourself. You have to understand how important it is to show and do things right on an every day basis and hold yourself accountable as well as teammates.
“We weren’t afraid to get in guys’ faces and say, ‘Hey man, you’re slacking.’ Your professional pride, you get in a guy’s face, he’s going to step it up or he’s going to be replaced. And that’s what I miss. I go back to the word accountability. And that’s what I expect from this team. You’ve got Tom Brady. You have the opportunity to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this game. How can you not get pumped up?
“My old friend Junior Seau used to say, ‘I get paid to practice. I play the games for free.’ How can you not get excited about coming in the stadium and playing in front of 70, 80 thousand people, and get excited? It’s just crazy. When these young players finally walk away from the game, they’ll finally realize what it meant to be a Patriot.
“On Sundays, we just showed up because we felt like we outworked everyone, we out-prepared, we outlifted, we ran. We ate better. We did everything. We were smarter. That’s where you win, out on the practice field, out in the meetings. These young players have to understand that.”