Why not?


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I don’t see what they have to lose.

Talking about the Jets signing of linebacker Jarrad Davis.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini, who has been covering the team for around three decades, tweeted: “LB Jarrad Davis? Meh. Kind of a reach.”

I don’t agree.

The purpose of this article isn’t to rip Cimini, who is entitled to his opinion, but more to counter his point in a respectful fashion.

I know Davis didn’t live up to his draft status (21st pick overall in 2017) in Detroit, but the Jets taking a flyer on makes perfect sense.

First of all, he’s only 26, so he’s still in his prime.

Secondly, he wasn’t a good fit for Matt Patricia’s defense in Detroit. Not many of their players were. It was somewhat surprising how poorly that team played on defense under a guy who made his bones as a defensive coach in New England. Perhaps that was more Bill Belichick’s defense in retrospect.

But getting back to Davis. Let’s not forget, he was drafted in 2017 before Patricia was the coach. Davis was picked to play for Jim Caldwell and his defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin.

They changed systems. It’s unlikely that the Lions would have picked Davis in the first-round if Patricia was the head coach.

Remember when Jon Vilma played linebacker for the Jets, in Herm Edwards’ system, a Tampa Two-type scheme, and played very well, but then Eric Mangini came in, installed a 3-4, and Vilma didn’t fit the system, which required a lot more stacking and shedding from the middle linebacker, something the undersized Vilma wasn’t great at?

This happens all the time. Teams pick players for certain scheme, and then they change coaches, and the player doesn’t fit as well.

Kind of like re-signing Henry Anderson to play 3-4 end, and then having Gregg Williams not play that system. They might have listed their scheme as a 3-4 on their website the last two years, but that isn’t what they were playing most of the time. Williams told Maccagnan what he wanted to hear, that he would play a 3-4, but then after Maccagnan was fired, he went back the old system, which is a 4-3 base.

Davis and Patricia were a bad fit.

So now Davis comes to the Jets, a team putting in a system that fits his skill set very well. It’s a scheme he can run sideline to sideline and use his 4.56 speed to make plays. The Robert Saleh/Jeff Ulbrich defense isn’t too complicated and lets player run around and use their natural gifts.

Also, Davis should be highly-motivated to show the Lions they were wrong, and is on a one-year deal, which is always a great dangling carrot, motivating a player to get that next big contract.

He will also be motivated by Saleh and Ulbrich, two fiery coaches, a little different than the staid approach of professorial Patricia.

Now some people might think that $5.5 million (could be $7 million with incentives) is too much money for Davis based on his struggles in Detroit, but if you think the Jets were his only suitor, you are kidding yourself.

A lot of teams had a high grade on Davis coming out of Florida, so the Jets had to sweeten the pot a little to get the player, even with his inconsistency in Detroit.

So I respectfully disagree that this was a reach.

Considering his skill set, and some extenuating circumstances in Detroit like the system fit, this deal makes sense.

March 17, 2021

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