In an NFL locker room, players entering their third year are not usually the vocal leaders on the team, but LB
“Everybody’s got a role,” Davis said after practice on Sunday. “We have a lot of leaders who do well and a lot of them choose not to be vocal, not because they can’t, they just choose not to be. I know I’m a motivational guy, so my job is to lift the spirits up of all the guys on the team.”
On the first day of training camp, Davis broke down a defensive huddle by praising the effort from his teammates. That was just one of the many times he has used one of his speeches to motivate other members of the Jets.
“Mine are all about whatever I can say that will reach the hearts of the guys,” he said. “Any time a guy’s impacted and comes up to me and says, ‘Man, that really hit me,’ that’s what it’s all about. I don’t just want to speak to the mind of the guy. I want to speak to his heart. I want to speak to his soul. I think if you can reach the soul, then that’s where a change can happen.”
Davis, perhaps motivating himself with his own words, made great strides during his 2013 campaign. He started all 16 games for the Green & White, posting an unofficial total of 107 tackles, good for second on the Jets behind only fellow LB Davis Harris. And his 1,208 defensive and special teams plays combined was second on the team behind only S
“My athleticism is probably my strength,” he said. “Being an instinctive linebacker is something that I’ve had to work hard on this offseason. I’m trying to make that my strength. Being an instinctive linebacker and playmaker has to be my best asset.”
How does one become instinctive? Well, Davis said it’s all about the extra work he puts in on a daily basis. For instance, throughout training camp he has received solo instruction from coaches while many of his teammates are still stretching.
“Every second counts. Every minute you’re on the field you could be doing something,” he said. “When I’m out on the sideline I’m always trying to get some extra work in.”
The extra work also extends beyond the practice field, as Davis has taken a page out of former Jets S Ed Reed’s playbook. He will regularly watch extra film and has recruited other players to do so as well.
“When we had Ed Reed for a few games, he watched so much film,” he said. “It wasn’t just him watching film, he would bring other guys with him. When I saw the impact it had on us defensively down the stretch, I just wanted to keep it going.”
Head coach Rex Ryan said Davis’ mixture of leadership ability and work ethic have helped his transition into the NFL.
“I don’t know if anybody in the league is working harder,” Ryan said. “You watch him, he’s the first guy in there before meetings and he’s watching tape and he’s bringing people with him. You go watch him in the evenings, after night meetings, he has a group of guys that go watch tape. He’s all in and he wants to be a great player.”
“All our veterans are great leaders,” he said. “To be able to lean on those guys is very important.”
Davis will surely look to build on his season from last year. In terms of his personal goals for 2014, they are very simple.
“Make a lot of plays on defense," he said, "and for us to get to the playoffs.”