Canton – Part II

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In the third round of the 2012 NFL, the Jets picked a speedy outside linebacker from the Sun Belt Conference named Demario Davis.

He has a lot of work to do. He’s going from being an outside linebacker at a low-rung Division One football school – Arkansas State – to being an NFL inside linebacker.

He has a lot on his plate, but he has a good chance of making it work – he’s smart, athletic and fast, but it’s going to take some time.

Once again, the Jets coach might be guilty of putting him in Canton too quickly.

In a couple of quotes about Davis, at the rookie minicamp, Rex Ryan brought up Ray Lewis and Bart Scott.

“Ray Lewis motivated me as a coach,” Rex Ryan said. “That (is) rare for a player to do that; have that kind of ability, and I’m not saying Demario is that guy, and there’s only one Ray Lewis, but it’s interesting. His face, mannerisms, passion, I see some things, it’s interesting. He reminds me of a young Bart Scott. He’s just full of energy, flying all over the place, and couldn’t wait to hit somebody and that’s kind of how he reminds me.
“It’s rare. I’m not going to say he’s the leader Ray Lewis is, but there are some (things) even when he talks to you, wow, he’s really an impressive person and he gets it. He’s a team guy and he’s not an individual guy. He’s all about the team and all about business and these guys, it’s amazing when you look at all these guys, so many of them have some amazing stories and when you get to know him, he’s got quite a story of his own as well.”

He brought up Ray Lewis twice, but he’s not comparing him to Ray Lewis. Then why bring up Lewis’ name when talking about Davis?

He also brought up Bart Scott.

This kid can’t even think about becoming a team leader until he figures out his new position, and the Jets thick defensive playbook.

Davis is an impressive kid, be even he knows, that leadership stuff isn’t going to manifest itself now. That is for down the road.

Why is Rex in such a rush to make these comparisons?

Davis’ head is spinning right now. Why add that kind of pressure with lofty comparisons?

Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick have a lot of rings, and part of their winning formula is doing it the other way – not putting rookies in Canton.

There is no question it’s admirable how much Rex supports his players publicly, having their back, so to speak.

And that is clearly part of why he’s doing this – essentially saying to the rookies – I have your back, so you have mine, so go out there and play like your hair is on fire.

But honestly, it’s hard to understand his over the top praise for players who have never played an NFL game.

Coples has to learn how to be a 3-4 end, which isn’t easy.

Hill has to learn the nuances of being a wide receiver in a passing offense and expand his route-tree.

Davis is making a major transition from outside to inside linebacker, and doing it on the highest level football has to offer. That is quite a chore.

There is a good chance they all can do it – all three of them are great athletes, and pretty smart.

But it’s puzzling why Rex is adding pressure by overdoing the praise so early.

Time will tell if Rex’s approach works.

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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