In training camp, linebacker Jarrad Davis told reporters he contemplated walking away from football in the offseason. After a phone call that led him to the Jets and an ankle injury that sidelined him for the first six games of the season, he made his debut in green and white in the win over the Bengals on Sunday
"It was exciting man," he said. "It was everything I remembered football as. It's been a long road to get to this point, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hard times before this season. Just being able to really arrive at whatever is in front and me and be able to conquer it, being able to respond to whatever challenge comes my way has been a theme for me the past year. It was exciting to be able to come out here and be able to have this outlet on the field and be able to really play and express myself with my teammates."
Davis, who spent his first four seasons with the Lions after he was drafted in the first round out of Florida in 2017, took 38 of the team's 54 snaps on defense (68%) and had 3 tackles. He was, perhaps, obviously, happy with the result of the game but knows the defense has work to do after allowing 31 points. Davis said the group is trying to establish its standard and closing out Sunday's game was a step in the right direction with impact plays from guys like DL Shaq Lawson (interception that led to game-winning TD) and Sheldon Rankins (third-down sack that forced the Bengals to punt near end of game).
"As long as we got a blade of grass to defend, we're going to work," Davis said. "We're going to get the ball back to the offense and we're going to have fun doing it. That's another big thing, it looked like everybody just enjoyed the moment today. There were some ups and downs, but we knew in those moments when we were down, we needed to turn it back up. Being able to come out here and put our hearts on the line, that's what it's about."
In prophetic manner, Davis said in July that finishing would be big for the defense and something he took personally because he's "been burnt" by it during his time in Detroit. After closing out Sunday's game, the Green & White defense is quickly turning the page.
"The big thing that we're really starting to talk about now is this one play," he said. "This was a game, this game is over. This play is behind us. Now we got the next play and the next play is [Sunday night], taking care of our bodies. We have to promote being a veteran to everybody in that building. You have to take care of yourself. It's good to celebrate this win, but we know what's coming on Thursday.
"We have to prepare ourselves as if we know we're stepping into a win, not just playing the next game. It's going to come with everything we do. It's like being a human being man, you have to learn how to flip the little things in order to get to the big prize."