Despite giving up TD, Lions' Jarrad Davis feeling good about coverage improvements

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Giants' Wayne Gallman Jr. steps back into the end zone on a touchdown completion in front of Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis in the second quarter last week at Ford Field.

Allen Park — Jarrad Davis' coverage was a problem last year, so when he got caught flat-footed giving up a touchdown reception in Friday's preseason loss to the New York Giants — the second completion he surrendered in limited work — it could be easy to overreact. 

But the Detroit Lions linebacker isn't sweating the momentary lapse. Yeah, the touchdown was rough, but overall, he's feeling much better about where his coverage skills are at entering his second season. 

“I’ve been working at it all summer and all throughout camp,” Davis said. “I’ve gotten a lot better than I was last year. 

Davis, a first-round pick a year ago, was inserted into the starting lineup right out the gate. But as the coverage struggles mounted for the rookie, the team dialed back his role in the defense, making him more of a two-down player for most of the second half of the season. 

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He was back in a full-time role for the season finale and seemed to have ironed out some of his issues, raising expectations heading into this year. 

Friday's touchdown was reminiscent of something Davis would have done as a rookie, getting caught leaning too hard one way while his coverage assignment raced past him. 

“When you get into that game situation you have to really stick to your technique," Davis said. "I feel like I just got over-excited and really stepped outside of myself and made a bone-headed mistake.” 

Davis said the key to correcting those issues will be focusing on his fundamentals. 

"I just have to get back to the basics, man,” he said. “Just have to definitely play with my leverage and play with better eyes. Look at the receiver versus the quarterback."

Outside of the touchdown, Davis looked sharp against the Giants. He quickly wrapped up his assignment short of the first-down marker on the other reception he allowed and made two tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage on run plays.