Demario Davis Lifting It to Another Level

Posted May 28, 2015

4th-Year ILB Has Made Gains in the Weightroom, Likes the Scheme and the Players Around Him

Year 4 of the professional football education of Demario Davis is well under way.

"I feel good. I'm just trying to become as good a player as I can to help the team," the Jets linebacker said after a recent OTA practice. "I'm just trying to do my job, become more efficient in all the areas that they want me to."

Davis has been busting his butt since his arrival from Arkansas State in the third round of the 2012 draft. As former head coach Rex Ryan said last summer, "I don't know if anybody in the league is working harder."

But Double-D has taken it to another level. He understands what's required of him as a pro. He also knows he has to impress the new staff in town — head coach Todd Bowles, coordinator Kacy Rodgers and ILBs coach Mike Caldwell.

So Davis has continued his training and technique work with former Lions LB Stephen Boyd and with Jay Caldwell of TBR Training. And he's taken to the offseason program laid out for him by strength coach Justus Galac and his staff.

"Our strength coach has done a good job in helping guys get stronger," Davis said. "I'm putting up some of the best numbers in the weightroom that I've ever put up in my life."

I asked Demario if he wanted to crow about any of his lifts. "Nah, it's nothing to be braggin' over," he said. "But to have my bench in the upper 400s and my squats in the upper 600s is good. Those are numbers I hadn't put up before."

Now he and his fellow 'backers have been taking it to the field at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. So far, he said, "there are a lot of similarities and there are a lot of differences" between this defense and Ryan's scheme. "The good thing about it is, all the things they're asking me to do, I've done them all before."

Davis has become an iron man for the Green & White. He's one of four Jets defenders to post 32 starts in 2013-14 combined. The only Jet who's played more defensive snaps the past two seasons than Davis' 2,050 is ILB neighbor David Harris. The only Jets defender to play more total plays, including specials, than Davis' 2,350 snaps was S Dawan Landry.

And while the D's recent turnover skills have been depressed, Davis is one of five Jets — and the only front seven player — to have three defensive takeaways the past two seasons combined, with his interception in '13 and two David Harris strip-sack recoveries last season.

What does No. 56 see us having to do to turn that defensive turnover spigot back on in '15?

"Individually, I can just focus on it every day at practice. My coach, he's saying it, I have to do it," he said. "I have to focus on getting strips, on being in the right position and in the right coverages. The defensive design is for a lot of takeaways to happen. You're playing fast, you've got a good front line putting pressure on the ball, you've got guys behind that can cover. We have those things. It's just going to come down to execution."

Other parts of the defense should remain strong. In total yards allowed, we've been in the NFL's top 11 each of the past six seasons. The run defense the past two years is No. 2 in yards allowed/game, No. 1 in yards/carry. Last year's 45-sack total was our best in 26 years. Then with what's been done in the secondary this offseason, Davis acknowledges, "We look good on paper."

"But work still has to be put in every day," he added. "It's not going to be one of those things of trying to live up to expectations or anything like that. We don't want be known for what somebody says about us or how good we're supposed to be. We want to be known for what we put on film."

And that puts it all back on the individual. Davis' mantra for the season ahead:

"The better player I become, the better the team becomes."


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