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Raiders Duron Harmon Explains There's a Lot to Like About the Patriots New Offense

Jim Rogash. Getty Images.

Duron Harmon was drafted by the Patriots out of Rutgers. He played 111 games for them. He's a member of the revered Three Ring Club. Which might not make him a Made Man in the Belichick Mafia, it does mean he was a trusted lieutenant. Even allowing for the fact he jumped over Jermaine Kearse thinking he didn't hold onto the ball, which would've cost us Super Bowl XLIX if Malcolm Butler hadn't stayed with the play and shoved Kearse out of bounds:

Rob Carr. Getty Images.

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But I digress. The larger point is that when Harmon talks about the Patriots new(ish) offense, he knows of what he speaks. 

Source - This week, Harmon had double vision in Patriots-Raiders joint practices, as he defended his old team and watched McDaniels’ new crew go to work in team periods.

Though, the way Harmon saw it, there was one major difference in how the Patriots’ offense operated under new lead assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

“The stacks and motions, we all know that’s big in Josh’s offense. We get that every day when we practice here. Their empty (formation package) is the same. I would just say it’s more so how they’re attacking,” Harmon told the Herald this week. “They obviously can run the ball, and I think they’re making a big emphasis on being able to run the ball because they’ve got really good backs, and they want to get them the ball.

“And that’s the main difference. Really sticking to bigger personnel, and then when they want to throw the ball, they can go to lighter personnel.” 

And given the fact they've eliminated the fullback position for the first time ever, we can only assume "bigger" personnel will mean Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith on the field at the same time. 

Which will make them …???

“Physical team. I’d say that’s the main thing. Physical team, they want to run the ball, and do their job, and make plays,” Harmon said. “They want to make plays on the outside. They want to be a physical offense, and they have the personnel to be a physical offense. They did a good job of making us have to stand up to them.”

Led by … ???

Harmon is also a believer in [Matt] Patricia, whom he played under in New England from 2013-2017 and later a Lion in 2020. He called Patricia one of the smartest and hardest-working coaches he knows, and insists he’ll “figure it out.”

Bottom lining it for us … ???

"So they're doing the right thing over there."

Well alright then. Harmon has faced Josh McDaniels offense as much as any defensive back in the world save for Devin McCourty. He's gotten the flavor of the changes that Patricia, Joe Judge and Belichick have installed. And while he's quite a bit more confident in their ability to be a run-first team than the media who have been reporting rushing attempt after rushing attempt getting swallowed up by the Raiders front-7, he respect that they're big and physical enough to establish the run. And once established, let Mac Jones go to work with designed misdirections and backside screens off play action bootlegs. Fair enough.

I'll admit we haven't seen much of that in joint practices in preseason. Not enough of it being effective, anyway. Which is what makes this game in Las Vegas tonight much more interesting than your typical final preseason, Just Don't Get Anybody Hurt Bowl, sponsored by Every Pats Fan Who Remembers Losing Three Starters for the Season and Going 5-11. The Pats are unlikely to sit their starters the whole game, because they are so far behind schedule at getting this new system downloaded. But even with that, Harmon sees what the changes have been and where it's going and he's on board with the work being done. 

All we can do is hope he's right. Another bad performance like they had early in the week in Vegas and we're in for two long weeks waiting for the real game in Miami.

(1989. Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, DB Ronnie Lippett and DL Garin Veris)