Where, exactly, does he find the time?
New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis is a devoted husband, father and man of faith whose advocacy for the underserved and civic-mindedness is as prominent as that of any athlete.
So, when does the former All-Pro do the necessary training that keeps him one of the best linebackers in the NFL? How does he prioritize?
"For me, it's keep the main thing, the main thing," Davis said Thursday. "Outside of my faith and my family, the main thing for me is my career. This platform is what I do, which allows me to be who I am. This platform gives me a lot of opportunities, but you've got to protect the platform. And so, I keep the main thing, the main thing.
"At the end of the day, making sure my body is in tip-top shape is always a main priority. Making sure I'm finding new, innovative ways to take my game to the next level. I just keep the main thing, the main thing, but at the same time, I don't get so locked into it. I'll never just be a football player. I'll always, in any space that I'm in, try to find a way to impact people. That's my teammates, that's my peers, that's my colleagues and neighbors and people in the world."
Part of his new, innovative approach this year is a different diet. Last year, he added aquatics to his workout regimen.
"I changed up my diet a little bit," he said. "I'm on a Mediterranean diet, which, playing my position, you need a lot of creatine for muscle strength. I eat a lot of quality meats and it's really just changing the grease that the meat is cooked in, making sure that it's clean, grass-fed meat or healthy-raised meat. But then, two days a week I go all plant-based and so it's like I build, and I detox.
"That was quite a transition in my diet that I think is making a huge difference. I've tapped into reading my sleep a little bit different. Little things like that; when you get to this point in your career, it's a lot of little things. Continue to sharpen things that I've been doing, adding the little things that allow me to get one percent better, two percent better. I've been reading a lot of books, too, that have unlocked a lot of things mentally."
DIFFERENT, BUT GOOD: The Saints completed their three-day minicamp Thursday, work that wasn't lockstep with past minicamps, yet still productive in terms of achieving the quality they sought.
"We've kind of continued with this schedule we've been on," Coach Sean Payton said. "We're getting a lot of weight room work, a lot of conditioning. But a ton of individual-specific, technique work.
"I think sometimes when you get started in training camp and you get started in the season, you're always trying to have enough time where you're working the proper technique with your players. I think this time frame for us has really been good.
Count left tackle @TerronArmstead among the fans of the approach.
"It's been great," Armstead said Thursday. "The offseason is the time that you get better, that's the time that you try to make that jump and improve on every aspect of your game. Being able to do that in such a detailed, slow pace is extremely beneficial for young guys, extremely beneficial for coaching changes, to be able to put their footprint on what they would like to see.
"I like being able to focus on the small things. That's how you improve, doing the small things right. I'm a real big improve-during-the-offseason kind of player. That's my goal every offseason, to get better. So it's been great being able to do that."
HIGH PRAISE: Saints first-year secondary coach Kris Richard coached three All-Pros in Seattle – cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. He likes what he sees from New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and a three-time Pro Bowler.
"Incredible competitive mind-set and athleticism," Richard said. "The dude, he's a baller. That's the simplest way to put it, is that the guy's a baller."
Richard said Lattimore's areas of improvement mirror those of any player.
"Technique, consistency, is where – and that's for everybody, and that will never, ever change – so that's not him in particular," Richard said. "Everybody is technique, eye discipline, sense of urgency, key recognition, formations – all these different things like that are where we're looking to improve everyone each and every single day. But absolutely, the things that stood out about him is incredibly gifted athlete, and competitive, tough. Tough kid."
NOT JUST YET: Rookie defensive back Paulson Adebo, the Saints' third-round pick, has been working at nickel and corner. Adebo opted out last season at Stanford and hasn't played since the 2019 college season. It's early, but he's ready to put the pads on.
"I haven't played in a year and some change now, so just kind of champing at the bit," he said. "Can't wait to get out there in pads and compete. I love the game of football so not being able to compete for the last year was tough, but I'm glad I can be out here with a good organization and give myself a chance to succeed."