With Mike Harris and Chris Prosinski each day in the EverBank Field meeting room that is home to the Jaguars’ defensive backs are a whopping 11 new teammates. Slowly, everybody is getting to learn each other’s names. “We’re getting there,” Prosinski said. “But it’s a fun room. You’ve got some veterans who have come in, and the younger guys bring a lot of energy. It’s a good mix.” But will that mix include Harris and Prosinski, who started a combined 14 games last year at cornerback and safety, respectively? Harris and Prosinski are two of four returning players in the Jaguars’ secondary, joining projected starting free safety Dwight Lowery and long-shot cornerback Kevin Rutland. As the Jaguars veterans take this week off from meetings and workouts, early indications are Harris and Prosinski are in the team’s plans. Harris is expected to compete with veteran Marcus Trufant for the third cornerback role in charge of covering the slot receiver in sub-packages. Prosinski is working as the second-team strong safety (he was a free safety last year). That both are backups in late May doesn’t represent a change. But their competition for playing time has changed almost completely. Gone is just about everybody. New is just about everybody — five draft picks (including starting safety Johnathan Cyprien and cornerback Dwayne Gratz), Trufant and cornerback Alan Ball. Instead of keeping track of the transactions, Harris and Prosinski continue to go about their business. “I can’t control who comes and who goes,” Harris said. “That’s not my job. My job is to come in, work hard and play fast.” Said Prosinski: “It’s a business, and I knew they got rid of a lot of guys, so I knew they would be bringing guys in.” It was just a year ago that Harris was a seventh-round draft choice trying to win a roster spot behind a veteran group of cornerbacks. When he played six snaps in the first five games, Harris was fifth on the depth chart. But injuries/ineffectiveness by others, combined with his improvement, allowed Harris to climb into a prime role. He started the last seven games and finished the year as the Jaguars’ most dependable cornerback. “The playing experience was big because you can’t get that in practice,” he said. “That time at the end of the year, it helped me out maturity-wise. I’m able to lean on that.” But like other parts of the roster, cornerback was addressed in free agency and the draft, pushing Harris back to reserve status. At 5-foot-10, there is natural speculation that he’s not big enough to play the Jaguars’ preferred press coverage technique. The reviews so far, though, are positive. Harris has adjusted his footwork while practicing outside, and he is viewed as a good fit to cover inside.
Returning Jaguars defensive backs show they still can compete
Jacksonville Times-Union | May 26