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Shelby Harris wants to be part of the future solution in Denver

In his contract year, the defensive lineman hopes to remain a Bronco and be part of the group that gets the franchise back on a winning track.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Shelby Harris was the Broncos Country Tonight guest for its regular show at Buffalo Wild Wings Monday night, and the most alarming thing he said is that he will NOT be eating turkey on Thanksgiving.

“Smoke brisket, ribs, steaks. There will be no turkey. At least I won’t eat it. I hate turkey,” he told Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright. “It’s so dry. Turkey has no flavor. It’s like eating paper.”

Someone should tell Harris about gravy. After all, the only purpose for the turkey on Thanksgiving is so there’s a place to pour the gravy. Or - as in my case - a place to smother the homemade cranberry sauce.

But I digress.

Harris did have some other interesting insights on the Broncos, including the loss to the Bills and the upcoming challenge with the Chargers.

The upshot is not a surprise - the Bills game basically sucked but Harris and the rest of his defensive teammates believe in the direction of the team.

“We don’t feel like we’re 3-8. We’re playing good teams and sticking with them. We’re not getting blown out. You have to take something from that. Take the positives when they come,” Harris said.

Adding that “there were not many from the Bills game,” Harris pointed out that the defense was getting the Bills into third-and-long, which was a positive. They just weren’t able to close the deal and get off the field.

“Now we’ve just got to finish,” he said. “We start games strong, but the difference between an average team and a good team is how you finish. We have to play four full quarters of football.”

Harris, who is in a contract year, definitely wants to stay in Denver and would love to see all his defensive teammates back here too. But he’s a realist.

“Yeah, I feel like if we could get everyone back here, we could do something special,” said the defensive tackle who was drafted by the Raiders before being waived, then picked up and waived by both the Jets and Cowboys before coming to the Broncos in 2017. “But not everyone can get paid by the same team.”

Edwards brought up the scenario of former Bronco Domata Peko who didn’t get re-signed with the Broncos or any team until getting picked up by the Ravens a few weeks ago. Now he’s playing for a contender. Edwards asked Harris if he’d rather roll with his group in Denver, knowing that the future success is uncertain or luck into a scenario like Peko.

Although Harris joked that Peko’s luck “wasn’t fair,” ultimately Harris would rather be with his boys in Denver.

“For me, you look at the guys in your locker room. The guys in our locker room are guys I want to play with for the rest of my career, regardless of the direction of the team,” he said. “We have a great group who really play for each other. With a group like that, you can turn things around.”

Harris has been a big part of a defense that has definitely shown flashes of dominance this season. Although the defense allowed nearly 250 rushing yards against it on Sunday, the unit had been showing multiple areas of strength. The week before Harris logged the best game of his career with three sacks on Kirk Cousins.

Against the Bills, the Broncos’ defense was annihilated by quarterback Josh Allen and running back Devin Singletary.

Josh Allen is a big, strong quarterback, and It’s hard to bring him down a little bit, but he made plays. He made something out of nothing and converted those third downs so you have to give him his props,” Harris admitted. “But we’ve got to tackle better; we’ve got to make those plays on third down and get off the field. That’s the game.”

With the Broncos remaining five games, two of the QBs will be a handful in the same way - which will definitely stretch this Denver defense.

“[Mobile QBs] can make something happen at any time,” Harris said of the challenge going against quarterbacks like DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahommes or Lamar Jackson. “If it’s third down, and no one to throw to, they start moving and that’s what everything happens.”

The hardest part, Harris said, is that the pass rush has to be very disciplined. If everyone rushes the quarterback, there are too many open lanes for the QB “to take off.”

“It also takes your pass rush away because you’re not really trying to work any moves, you’re just trying to make sure he doesn’t get loose,” Harris said.

Although the coming matchup against Philip Rivers and the Chargers won’t involve a mobile quarterback, the challenge won’t be any easier. Rivers has his own way of making plays happen.

“You always want to beat people in your division, and you know they’re coming in hot,” Harris said. “They gotta win. We gotta win. So we’ve got to come in ready and be ready to fight.”

Give a listen to a fun interview where Harris talks about why he “embraces” away games, his favorite “away” stadium to play in so far (hint: VERY historical) and what the d-line will do for a celebration photo if they ever get a touchdown (trust me, you should be cheering for this to happen).


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