Staff writer Joe Malfa was able to get a few minutes with third year New York Jets linebacker Demario Davis. Check out the interview below and let us know your expectations for Davis this season down in the comment section…
Joe Malfa: You are now getting ready for your 3rd NFL training camp. What’s the difference between today’s Demario Davis and rookie Demario Davis?Demario Davis: So much about first coming into the league is just learning and understanding the NFL atmosphere, rather than learning exactly what your coaches are teaching you. Being that you’re learning the atmosphere on top of the playbook, it can make things tough. Going into my third year now, I understand what the NFL is all about, I understand the philosophy of the team, I understand my opponents, and I know what the season holds. In the offseason and when training camp rolls around, I don’t have to worry about those things; I can work on the fundamentals of the game, my all around play, and I can focus on week one.
JM: Which veteran helped you out the most in your transition from college to the NFL?
DD: David Harris and Calvin Pace helped me make as smooth of a transition as possible. They haven’t had their arms around me the entire time, but they’ve taught me everything I’ve needed to know and they’ve led by example both on and off the field.
JM: David Harris is an established All-Pro middle linebacker, and you are one of the emerging young stars at the position. Where do you think the duo of Harris and Davis can rank in the league in the years to come?DD: Our goal is excellence, and with excellence will come being the best duo in the NFL. Our goal is to be the best and we won’t settle for anything but the best. We know we have to continue to be consistent and continue to do more so we can help our defense become the best defense in the league. Once we start putting the wins together, I think people will start paying more attention to us, and they’ll know that Batman and Robin, that’s what we call ourselves, are the top linebacking duo in the league.
JM: There is a lot of depth and talent at seemingly every position this year, more so than in past years. What do you expect the competition to be like in this year’s camp?
DD: That’s something our front office did a great job with; they built a team with high levels of competition at every position, and it’s going to be a lot of fun once the competition starts. If you want to be a Jet, you have to be able to deal with tough competition because that’s what you’re going to get on Sundays. For us, that high level of competition is going to force us to elevate our play during training camp and it’s going to be exciting.
JM: What area of your game do you feel you need to improve most in camp?DD: Playmaking. I have to make more plays for the defense — turnovers, interceptions, sacks — it’s a game about making plays, and I have to be able to make more plays.
JM: What is your favorite part of training camp, and what is your least favorite part?
DD: Well, my least favorite part is actually going away. You have to leave your family behind for two and a half, three weeks going to Cortland. Leaving home, I won’t be around my wife and daughter and that’s the toughest part. The best part of camp is the fact that it’s football season again.
JM: In your rookie year, you began the season with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at the corners. With both of those guys gone, the team doesn’t have a big name, established star corner, but it does have a number of very talented corners. Do you believe the situation at CB was better in your rookie year or now?
DD: I can’t look to the past. I have to look at what we have right now, and what we have right now is a great group of guys. Dee [Milliner] has to step up and be huge for us this year. He has to prove to the league that he is a top corner, and I believe more than anybody that he can do that. We have Dmitri Patterson who is a very underrated corner in this league, and I believe this year, being that he’s fully healthy, he can prove to everybody how good he really is. We have a kid in [Dexter] McDougle who I believe was a great pickup in the third round; I always say the third round is the money round. We also have Ellis Lankster, Johnny Patrick, and Kyle Wilson at the nickel, so we have enough talent at the corner position. Don’t forget about Darrin Walls, who could’ve led the league in interceptions last season if he would’ve just caught all the balls that hit him in the hands. We have plenty of talented players competing at corner, so I don’t worry about us back there.
JM: You are a part of arguably the best young front seven in the league. As a unit, you guys had a great year last year — what can be expected this year?
DD: We are just going to work to be better. God has blessed us to bring a lot of talent to this team, and growing together has been fun. We’re a family, we love playing alongside each other, we love going to war together, and we know we have each other’s backs. We have to be dominant as an entire defense; we don’t want people to just talk about the front seven. We want people to talk about the entire defense, and we can only do that by going out and being the number one defense in the league — there’s no other way around it. We have to go out there and win, because people pay attention to the team that wins. We don’t want to be in the conversation of being “one of the best defenses,” we want to be THE best defense. That’s our goal every time we step out onto the field.
JM: You individually are coming off a great season in which you had 107 tackles. What can we expect from you this year?
DD: Improvement. A lot of people say it was a good or great season, but I felt like there were a lot more plays I could’ve made. I need to be a bigger playmaker for our defense and do so on a consistent basis.
JM: The 2014 New York Jets season will end how?
DD: Lord’s will, we believe we will be in the playoffs; that’s our first goal. Of course you want the ring, but our first goal is to make the playoffs and for us to do that we need to start fast. We believe we’re going to be in the playoffs, and we believe special things are going to happen for the Jets in 2014.