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Marcus Davenport's self-confidence can benefit himself and New Orleans Saints

'I forget that sometimes I can do things quite good'


Absolutely, Marcus Davenport has had his physical setbacks. He played 37 of a possible 48 regular-season games in his first three seasons, including a career low 11 last year.

But in 2020 the New Orleans Saints defensive end also let a bit of self-doubt creep in. So he has spent a portion of 2021 doing his best to push it back out.

"(It's) just been mentality," he said of his offseason focus. "A lot of it's just been trusting myself more. I think it's just that simple. I've seen that I can do a lot of things, and it's just all about applying.

"Sometimes, I think as people we forget simple things. I forget that sometimes I can do things quite good.

"Sometimes, I just count it as to hesitation. There's no real need for me to hesitate. I've been practicing, I know the moves and I know what to do, and I've got coaches here to correct me. So it's just on me to go out there and do it."

Davenport has shown the ability to do it, at a high level.

Last year's abbreviated appearance saw him record a career low 1.5 sacks, with eight quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, two passes defensed and 21 tackles in just one start. But in 2019, he totaled career highs in sacks (six) and quarterback hits (16), with three forced fumbles and five tackles for loss while starting all 13 games.

For several games last year, Davenport, the Saints' first-round pick in 2018, appeared to be rounding into form. But when the numbers didn't add up the way he wanted, it affected him mentally.

"I think the biggest thing about me (last year) was I got into the numbers game, and I started thinking too much about it," he said. "If you really think about it, numbers will come. I've been working on that this year. But even then, it's really about being effective and being the best at your job. With that, that's all that matters – the numbers will come.

"Some of it played with my head. I started thinking too much. It got to a point where even though I was doing good, I expect 'great' and I let that kind of affect me. Sometimes, we've just got to know the difference and know what's real and what's not. Even then, physically, there's always going to be some bumps and bruises but I know you guys have seen (defensive end) Cam (Jordan). Cam don't stop. There's no excuse. That's last year, and this is a new year."

Check out photos of New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport in action during the 2020 NFL season.

New year, and adjusted approach. Davenport has been intentional in his effort to become more well-rounded.

"I've done a lot of reading," he said, "just trying to have more confidence in myself and what I know. And even growing as a person, trying to express myself in any way that I feel.

"I've been reading Alan Watts' 'The Book.' Another one by him is called '(The Way of) Zen.' I've gotten back on the 'The Art of War.' I just got another book from (linebackers) coach Mike Hodges, 'Mind of the Athlete.' Really, almost anything and everything. I just want to be a better all-around person, I know that will only help me overall."

Too, he has worked on his physical improvement, too, doing what he can to keep injuries from interrupting another season.

"A lot of the things I would attribute to functional power," Davenport said. "Body-wise, we've really just worked on overall flexibility, bend and control. I know from there, power will be able to generate. As far as injuries and preventing them, when I look back, there wasn't that much we could do about a lot of it. They happened, and just overcoming it. I'm just working on getting better.

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