Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers talk about Matt Patricia's new defense in Part 2 of Lions Lowdown after minicamp. The Detroit News
Allen Park — It has been a common scene during the Detroit Lions’ training camp: Second-year linebacker Jarrad Davis being one of the last players to walk off the field.
Monday was no different as Davis, soaked in sweat, continued to refine his skills and put in extra work after practice well after most of his teammates had headed indoors to escape the sweltering heat.
“I think in every profession, guys that stay late, work hard, really try to perfect their craft. I don’t really care what the job is, those are the guys you want out there,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “Guys that kind of come in and just punch the clock and work 9-to-5 and checkout, I don’t think any of us get to where we want to be if we do that. So, certainly I think that’s a great attribute and characteristic of what he does every single day and what he brings. We are lucky to have that.
“We have a saying, there’s no CEO stuck in morning rush hour, so people have to get in early, work hard, and stay late. That’s what we do. That’s what everybody does and he’s a great example of that.”
According to Davis, his focus during the post-practice sessions is on the small details and nuances of the game.
“So many times you're out there and you're playing and you get tired, so you got to fall back on your technique when you get tired,” he said. “I'm just trying to make sure my technique is sound and up to par. I got a lot of work to do, a lot of room to grow in that area. I just want to make sure that I'm out here working on those things every opportunity I have.”
That includes maximizing his time during full-team drills, when the first-team defense will trot off the field and Davis will stand next to Patricia on the sideline during the second- and third-team reps. The two will talk about how they each saw the formation, what the defense did and what could have been done differently to make sure everyone is on the same page.
While Davis and the rest of the defensive unit are in the midst of learning a new scheme under Patricia, Davis said he feels “very comfortable” in the defense compared to the first day of training camp, but noted he has plenty of room for improvement.
“I just got to make sure that I'm constantly getting in the playbook and not getting too comfortable,” he said. “Not saying, 'OK, I know this. We've done this a thousand times. I know it now.' Not doing that. Making sure that I'm constantly working on the details, constantly working on what's changing in the defense, what's changing in the offense.”
One area Davis hopes to drastically change is his pass coverage. Last season, he graded 76th out of 77 for qualified linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus.
It marred the former first-round pick’s rookie campaign in which he finished second on the team with 96 tackles to go along with three passes defensed, two sacks and an interception in 14 games, all starts. According to Pro Football Focus, he also recorded 55 impact plays (pressures and stops), which ranked second among rookie linebackers last season.
Davis said he feels his coverage skills — particularly his eyes and positioning — are progressing and is optimistic all the technique work he’s putting in now will help solidify every area of his game by the time the regular season rolls around.
“It's just mostly the fact that you got to go out there and do it. Not really making excuses and not really saying, 'Oh, I can't do it today,'" Davis said. "It’s just going out there and putting the time in.
"Any little time adds up. Every little thing that you do is going to add up, whether it be in a positive direction or negative direction. So, I'm just trying to move in a positive direction.”