Falcons’ Erik Harris on Giants: ‘They’ve got threats everywhere’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Falcons safety Eric Harris, who’s preparing to face the New York Giants on Sunday, chatted with the media after practice Wednesday.

Here’s what he had to say:

On the progress of the defense: “We put some on film week one. We grew Week 2. It’s just going to continue to grow and know that obviously giving up that many points is not OK and we know that. Just continuing to make improvements.”

On needing a win: “I feel like every win is a must win. But when you are 0-2 it’s definitely a must win. You look at our schedule and stuff like that, we’ve got three more games before we go into the bye week. You want to start building that snowball effect and getting those wins under your belt before the bye week comes. Obviously, this is a very important game for us.”

On how much progress the defense has made: “We are starting to understand how offenses are attacking us. We went against coach (Arthur) Smith’s offense all training camp and stuff. Some guys played in the (exhibition) season and some guys didn’t. Everybody, all 11 are now on the field, as well as the backups. We are all trying to get a feel for how offenses are trying to attack us. It might be from a scheme standpoint and it might be from weaknesses we showed in the previous week. We just have to know how offenses are going to attack our defense.”

On the priorities for the secondary to correct: “You know, we’ve got to stop the run. Stop the perimeter runs. Stop the run in general, right. If you can’t stop the run, it’s going to be a long four quarters in whatever game, whoever you play. Stop the run. Being where we need to be in zone defenses and having good eyes in man coverage.”

On what problems the Giants present: “They’ve got skilled guys. They drafted a first-rounder (Kadarius Toney). They went out and got a free agent receiver (Kenny Golladay). They’ve had their receivers in the past. They got a veteran tight end (Kyle Rudolph) with an athletic tight end (Evan Engram). They’ve got two good running backs and a quarterback that’s mobile and not scared. He’s a tough kid. They’ve got threats everywhere. You just have to play team ball.”

On how the system compares to previous systems he’s been in: “It’s multiple. You’ve got to know the whole defense. Corners, safeties have to learn the linebacker roles. (Defensive ends), we’re dropping (defensive) ends and stuff like that. Really, you just have to know the whole defense inside and out to understand how teams are going to attack the defense.”

On the development of the defense: “I think we are improving each week. We are correcting things that we need to correct each and every week. Our goals is for those mistakes to keep showing up each week. Obviously, no game is perfect, but our goal is to correct the mistakes.”

Credit: Patrick Semansky

Credit: Patrick Semansky

On Daniel Jones as a runner: “I think the film reminds you of that. He’s got some wheels and he can make plays with his legs. He’s got the arm strength to throw down the field as well.”

On Fowler’s sack, strip vs. the Bucs uplifting the defense: “Just believing in the pressure and I always try to encourage the guys up front, whenever you are on a good defense it starts with those guys upfront. They apply the pressure. They stop the run and everything else kind of flows after that. Those guys have been doing great up front and continue to grow each week.” | Dante Fowler: “Getting back into {being} myself”

More on the Giants: “The lost some close games, but they’ve got pieces over there. I don’t think in this league you can look at anybody’s record and say this is their record and it’s going to be a walk in the park. It’s the NFL. It usually comes down to the last two minutes of each game. They’ve got pieces over there. They got a good staff over there. You can see the difference in the past two years with the culture that’s being built over there.”

On preparing for Saquon Barkley: “He can hurt you anyway, screens, running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s a very talented back. You’ve got to wrap this guy up. He’s going to run through arm tackles and stuff like that. You have to come to balance on him. Just keep him in front of you.”

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons at New York Giants, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.

Washington FT at Falcons, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.

New York Jets vs. Falcons in London, Oct. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Here’s the rest of full schedule.