One of the most welcomed surprises of the 2019 Oakland Raiders season has been safety Erik Harris. Can he repeat his star-making performance against Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers on Sunday?
Raiders: Can Erik Harris Duplicate Performance Versus Philip Rivers?
Raider Nation finds it easy to hate on Rivers and this coming Sunday will be no exception. Earlier this season, Harris played the closest to a perfect game a defensive back can have. Don’t believe me? As always, numbers don’t lie. The veteran had two interceptions against Rivers, returned one for a touchdown, and assisted in a tackle. Also, add in three pass deflections, a picture perfect game indeed.
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Since that game though, it’s been a different story for Harris and the Raiders defense as a whole. The safety has not had a single interception since that game, and only one pass deflection. The defensive woes have been exhaustively covered, but, none of that matters this Sunday as Rivers will attack this secondary just like he did in Week 10 and with that, the safety can put a stamp on an otherwise impressive season. Pro Football Focus actually has given Harris a 68.0 grade so far this season. He’s accumulated 57 solo tackles, one more interception on top of the two versus Rivers, and has allowed 16 receptions.
Harris Is Quickly Becoming Fan Favorite
Paul Gutierrez recently highlighted how Harris loves to enhance fan experience. Gutierrez explains that the veteran “comes out an hour before team stretch to play catch with fans with an official NFL football.” Given that fans haven’t had that much to smile about lately, it’s nice to see a player engage them like this.
Harris started this routine from his days in the CFL and went on to explain why this ritual means a lot to him:
Knowing the joy it brought me, I’m all about experiences, not really materialistic things,” Harris said. “If you share a special moment with somebody and be present in that moment, I think that can be a lot more than just something that costs money.
Beset defensive coordinator Paul Guenther praised Harris recently and given how porous Oakland’s defense has been, you’d figure the safety should be a key player moving forward.
“I think Erik Harris does an excellent job of making guys around him better, he’s like a coach out there,” said Guenther. “He can see the formations, understand the leverages, what may be coming, alerting guys … I think Erik does an excellent job back there for us and that goes understated.”
A ball hawk check? Check. A team player? Check. Loves Raiders fans? Check.
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In what will be the final time the ‘Oakland’ Raiders play Rivers, all eyes will be on #25 as Los Angeles Raider Nation will anxiously await for another pick-six.