Conor Orr: Jets LB Demario Davis looks to fill shoes of Bart Scott, make his own name
Demario Davis sits quietly at the far corner of the locker room, where, on a good day, he can remain distant from the noise, the cameras and the clutter that often permeates his personal space.
Rex Ryan once compared his first impressions of Davis to that of Ravens legend Ray Lewis, a player with a signature dance, the pull of a preacher and the knockout glare underneath his helmet.
He is also asking him to replace the equally clamorous Bart Scott, whose bravado has roamed the Jets locker room every season Ryan has been head coach.
But Davis, now in his second season with the Jets, prefers to operate under the radar. He speaks softly, reserving most of his conversation for Twitter, where he regularly updates his timeline with inspirational and religious messages. He doesn’t feel the need to shout, stomp or holler during the early spring workouts to announce his presence.
“I don’t feel like I have to overexert myself,” Davis said. “I have a locker room full of guys that respect me because they know I respect them. To get respect you have to give it, and I think the guys respect me for who I am.”
For a player drawing comparisons to Lewis and replacing Scott it sounds like a departure from the stereotypical mentality of an inside linebacker. But Davis, who will slide into Scott’s spot alongside veteran David Harris, is looking forward to the chance to put his own mark on the position.
“We’re two different guys,” Davis said of himself and Scott. “I took a lot of things from him, his approach to the game, the way he played the game – he was very physical. Very high energy. Some of the things he taught me I’ll never forget.”
After making his mark as a linebacker in sub packages last year, playing a total of 315 snaps, Davis will be asked to undertake a much larger role in 2013. Scott, who missed a game due to injury and was removed on many passing downs, played almost double.
“I’ve been asked to do different things throughout my career, so stepping up and taking that load will be absolutely no problem,” Davis said. “It’s definitely a bigger responsibility stepping up to not only be a force on the defense but to be a leader on the defense.
“Taking hold of this thing is something I’m looking forward to.”
The inside linebacker position is more natural to Davis, he says, and one he began perfecting this offseason with the aid of Harris. The two began texting shortly after the season ended and have developed an on-field competition during workouts.
Davis hopes to absorb Harris’ instinct and institutional knowledge while pushing him physically.
“He challenges me more in the mental portion,” Davis said. “I try and challenge him more in the physical portion, making sure he’s keeping his wheels going, keeping his speed up and making sure he’s agile. It’s a give-give situation.”
From his locker, he has a clear view of the spot vacated by Scott. He’s also a few lockers away from Bryan Thomas, who will more than likely not return. Outside of Calvin Pace and Harris, the linebacker core that has been intact for the past four seasons is gone.
But Davis, an agent of change, doesn’t see that as a bad thing.
“It’s a new feel but it’s a bunch of young guys who can work together,”
Davis said. “It’s a brotherhood; we have an opportunity to grow together.”