Linebacker Jarrad Davis ready to lead in second season with Lions

By Matt Schoch
Special to The Detroit News

Allen Park — Jarrad Davis says he stayed off social media during the offseason, but that doesn’t mean his phone was put away late at night.

Through late-night texts to his new positional coach Al Golden, the Lions inside linebacker is displaying a willingness to lead despite entering his second season.

Linebacker Jarrad Davis had 96 total tackles as a rookie last season for the Lions.

“I think he yearned to lead a year ago, I think he was just trying to get his house in order,” Golden said. “He sets a high standard from a preparation standpoint. He’s the guy texting me in the middle of the night, what this question is and where can I find this cut-up. He comes ready to go.”

The Lions will open training camp Friday under new coach Matt Patricia, and the franchise put Davis front and center before the media Thursday after quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is entering his 10th season with Detroit.

“I’m just constantly pushing myself in every phase, not only just in football, but in the film room, in the locker room, in life in general,” Davis said. “If you want to be a leader, if you want to lead men, you’ve got to really devote yourself to that fully, completely. There can’t be any loopholes, there can’t be any areas in your life where you lack because if you have something that comes up, then in the room with men, they’re going to find weaknesses. Everyone is looking for weaknesses. It’s the game we play.”

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Davis, 23, said he learned that discipline from his father, John, a Navy man.

“He put it in me a long time ago,” he said. “The No. 1 rule is the golden one, to treat others like you want to be treated, but the No. 2 rule is you get out what you put in. Every single day, I work, I put time in, I put energy in, I put effort in, to make sure I’m trying to hit a new ceiling, a new height.

“Just to make myself better, not just for me, but for my teammates because we’re all out here. They’re out here doing their job, working. I’ve got to be doing the same thing, I have to be able to deliver until the last whistle blows.”

The 21st pick in 2017 out of Florida, Davis had 96 combined tackles, two sacks and an interception as a rookie.

Patricia moved Golden, the former Temple and Miami (Fla.) head coach and tight end for the Patriots, from tight end coach to linebackers.

There, Golden worked in the offseason with Davis on pass coverage, where he graded 76th out of 77 for qualified linebackers as a rookie, according to Pro Football Focus.

“He identified what he needed to work on in the offseason, he attacked it really well and he should be really excited about where he is as a player going into the season,” Golden said.

In Year 2 with Detroit, Davis will be working with his third head coach, third defensive coordinator in Paul Pasqualoni, and third position coach in three seasons.

Stafford, on his third head coach a pro, said the change brings opportunity for young players.

“Anytime there’s a change, you have to learn to adapt,” Stafford said. “Each person is a different person, each coach that we’ve had in here is a different person that liked to run the system a different way. As a player, as a leader of the team, it’s on you to adapt to that and to get us going in the right direction as soon as possible.”

Early indications are Davis is ready to lead Patricia’s defense with enthusiasm.

“It’s definitely an honor to be seen in that light, but I love this game, I love it,” he said. “Honestly, no matter who I was playing for, just me doing it for me, I’m going to give everything I have. The way we operate around here, the way we carry ourselves, make sure that I’m giving every little bit of effort that I have to the team, to the coaches. They’re here putting in time every single day, every single night. Who would I be coming in here and saying, ‘I don’t feel like doing it?' 

“They come in here every day and they make me get it done so I’ve got to do the same for them.”

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.