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Demario Davis: Growth Doesn’t Stop Now

Posted Jun 20, 2014

Third-Year LB Feels Good About Jets’ Development, but He Wants More

Many of the Jets polled on the way out of the locker room doors Thursday said they were still well aware of the excitement that ended last season and is still carrying them toward the start of the 2014 season.

Demario Davis feels it, too, but he knows that excitement can be fleeting. He's concentrating more on another sensation, being shared by a young player and his young team as they are continuing to grow and reach for the sky.

"The excitement, it's like in phases," Davis told me after Thursday's final full-squad minicamp practice. "But it's not about trying to extend a certain amount of excitement. It's about growth. If you're still in the same place you were last season, then you're really not the same. You probably went backward.

"You're trying to grow, that's the main thing."

Davis sure had that growth from his 2012 rookie season to last year as he made leaps in most statistical categories. But he wants more.

"I'm so hard on myself. It's hard for me to always find positives in my game. I just say I'm growing as an all-around player," he said. "I'm really focusing right now on being not just an athlete on the field but a more efficient linebacker. That's being more instinctive, with better technique, better pad level, just more physical inside at the line of scrimmage. It's just being more of a dominating presence that my defense needs me to be."

Double-D made a huge growth spurt statistically in tackles for loss/no gain on rushes and receptions. In his limited defensive reps as a rookie, he had 2.5 tackles at or behind the line. Last year, he erupted for 14.5.

That total didn't lead the Green & White D — he was fourth behind David Harris (17.5), Damon Harrison (17.5) and Sheldon Richardson (15.0). Throw in Quinton Coples (12.5) and Muhammad Wilkerson (11.5) and you can see how we compiled 118 such tackles, the most by our defense in more than 20 years.

But just as Davis is hard on himself, he's also hard on his side of the ball.

"I feel good about our team's development," he said. "As a young team, we have to grow quickly and grow together. Some of our young guys have had experience, some more than others, but to go out there and do it day in, day out, which we're going to need to be excellent, to be where we want to be, it's going to take all of us.

"Yeah, it's exciting, it's fun. We're looking to be the best. Anything short of the best is not good for us. To finish 11th in the league [in defensive yards allowed], that's not good. We're kind of ticked off about that. [Third in run defense], with all the work we did, we're still ticked about that.

"People kind of know who we are, but we need everybody to know who we are. We need everybody to have that level of respect when they play the New York Jets."

So you can figure what kind of a five-week period is ahead for Demario Davis. There'll be a few weeks of recharging the batteries back home in Mississippi.

"But then I'll be training back up here" before the late-July start of training camp, he said. In the next month, he added, "Everybody's working. You have to be. If you're not, you're in trouble."

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