On a day when Jets players checked into their Florham Park hotel for training camp, linebacker David Harris continued to step up in his leadership role.
"I just try to come into camp like I do every year — try to be the best player, the best middle linebacker and the best leader as I possibly can," said Harris. "Especially this year, because I know I'm one of the older guys on defense. They look at me and Darrelle (Revis) as the two leaders because we've been here for so long."
The 32-year-old Harris will lead a linebacking corps this summer that includes first-round draft pick Darron Lee and third-round pick Jordan Jenkins. Second-year LB Lorenzo Mauldin is also a young player the Jets expect to make a big leap in 2016.
"This time is very important for those guys. The pace picks up a little bit and bullets start flying during preseason games," he said. "It gives you a chance to see what guys are made of and what they're capable of doing."
Harris, who currently sits in third place on the Jets' all-time tackle list, is entering his 10th NFL training camp. Though, this year he'll be without a very familiar face, long-time teammate and friend, former Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace.
"It's tough. We've been through a lot and he was my best friend," Harris said. "He was like an older brother to me. There's nothing he hasn't been through, so he was always a good guy to talk to."
In 2015, the Jets defense ranked fourth overall and at the top spot in red zone defense. Harris, who led the team in tackles (128) for a seventh consecutive season, thinks the unit can be even more efficient this season.
"We can always get better at keeping them out of the end zone, no matter how they get there," he said. "Finishing games and situational football — that's huge in the NFL."