New Orleans Saints Linebacker Demario Davis - 2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon - Sunday, July 29, 2018
How hard is that second day in pads? That first day you get them on, it's exciting and then get up and do it all over again on day two. What's that like?
"This is training camp. It is what it is. We've got a long journey to go where we want to go. We've got to build it brick by brick so now the pads are on, now it's real football. It's still lineup, assignment, technique (basics)."
I know it's early, but do you get a sense this could be a really good group at linebacker just because of the depth and experience you guys have?
"The coach in our room (Mike Nolan) is fantastic. We've got a great group. A lot of people who play a lot of snaps in this league, a lot of energy, the coaching is very detailed, and the competition is high. We challenge each other everyday. That's what you want in your linebacker group. Then you've got a bunch of leaders in the room, guys who know how to lead by example, not just a bunch of talk. It's a good group."
What do you think about playing Will and your versatility?
"When I f first came to the league I played Will. Linebacker is linebacker; see ball, get ball. I came here to win, so whatever coaches need from me that's what I'm going to do my best at."
Have you been in a situation before where so many guys are so versatile and it is so, I don't want to say "up in the air", but kind of who is going to play where? Everyone seems to play anywhere. It's been more defined
"It is the NFL. It is a next man up league. The more you can do, the longer you sustain. There is versatility at every level especially on defense. That is what you want to be. You want to be more, do more, and wear more hats. In our system, especially, you need to be able to wear multiple hats."
Just out of curiosity, when you not playing Mike are you able to cut it loose a little bit more where you're not kind of worrying about everybody where they're lined up and kind of having to quarterback the defense a little bit?
"In my mind I think of it as basketball terms. The Mike is like the point guard. You have to set everybody up. Playing Will is like a wing man. You just have to be ready to do your job, play your part, and play your role. It's a little bit less on your plate."
How much was taking your coverage skills to the next level last year such an important piece of your game and how you can fit into this defense, as well?
"It's very important. It's a coverage in space league. As a linebacker, you have to be able to cover tight ends and running backs out of space and if you don't master that you're going to get exposed. That's just where the game's going. If you want to play in this league a long time as a linebacker, you have to be able to cover that line of space. That is something I take very seriously and (I am) just perfecting my craft in season and out of season, just around the board. It's a lot of intricacies in that and you just have to stay on top of it."
Especially with how much nickel you all play, is it a bigger incentive on this team than some of the other teams you've been around?
"I think it's the same, regular nickel, (it) just depends on what the other team is giving you. But as an outside linebacker, you're going to primarily be matched up with tight ends and running backs so you need to be able to lock them down."
Tell me what it's like to cover someone like (Alvin) Kamara coming out of backfield. Do they like to spilt him out wide in different ways? Has it just become a coverage nightmare for different teams to be able to try and defend that and find out who's going to match up with him and who can?
"Yeah, (Alvin) Kamara, he's special. He's one of those guys that you're probably not going to stop and just try to contain. You figure out what you can give up and can't give up and try to take that away from him. There's other guys in the league like that. Christian McCaffrey (is another guy like that) in our league. They have a lot of guys in the league that can make plays like that. They're pretty explosive out the backfield so you just kind of control those guys. You're probably not going to be able to completely shut them down, you just want to contain them."
How do you feel as far as the rule changes, realizing no helmet to tackle? Do you think this could be some close plays where you think "I'm also going to tackle him", and you get ejected from the game. I think it would be just as hard on the officials than the players on those critical calls.
"There's no secret, it's an offense-driven league. They want explosive plays on offense and want to be able to move the ball and score touchdowns, so defense we have to adjust. It's just the way the league is. We've made the adjustment before and I'm sure we'll make them again."
Has it slowed down for you at all just the process, not necessarily on the field, but the move and just kind of transitioning to a new team. Has that slowed down at all for you?
"(Entering) Year Seven you pretty much have seen everything they have to offer, but I just keep having fun with it. It is a dream to be able play this game. Every day, every year, it is a new year. It's a lot of excitement and a lot of fun so I just try to enjoy it all."