New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Rex: Demario has some Ray Lewis in him
It began with the Quinton Coples-Shaun Ellis comparisons, then escalated to the similarities between Stephen Hill and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.
...And just when you thought Rex Ryan couldn’t draw any more parallels between his newly drafted rookies and established veterans, the Jets coach whipped out the mother of all comparisons.
Hours after the first rookie mini-camp practice came to a close, Ryan stood behind the lectern praising the leadership skills of Demario Davis. Upon drafting the Arkansas St. linebacker, the head coach likened him to the brash Bart Scott. But on Friday, Ryan dug deep into his old Ravens roster and pulled out Ray Lewis’ name.
Lewis -- a man Ryan said motivated him to be a better coach -- was the unequivocal locker room leader when he arrived in Baltimore. And deep down, Ryan believes Davis has some of those same characteristics.
“Just talking to him and the way he carries himself -- I go back and think of others,” said Ryan, who added that Davis impressed just about every coach he was introduced to during his pre-draft visit. “Not everybody has it. You can have a list of 500 names up there on a wall, but how may of them are there up there? It’s easy to say, ‘Well, this guy was a leader for his football team and all that. But does he have that thing where he can lead men? And that’s rare, and some guys have it. Ray Lewis had it when he came in. The day he walked into Baltimore, he was the leader of that defense.”
Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowler, was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP with Ryan as his defensive coordinator. The veteran linebacker has been named to the All-Pro team seven times and twice was named the league’s defensive player of the year.
“I’m not saying Demario is that guy,” the coach quickly clarified. “There’s only one Ray Lewis. But it’s interesting. His face, mannerisms, passion. I see some things. And when you watch him on the tape, he pops off the tape. And like I said, he reminds me of a young Bart Scott. A guy that’s full of energy, flying all over the place and couldn’t wait to hit somebody.”
Davis said he isn’t worried about moving inside because he’s played just about every linebacker position there is -- from the edge, to the middle and outside in space. “I can do’em all pretty well,” said the 6-2, 239-pounder, who also has experience covering tight ends in space too.
Davis already has taken the team’s mantra -- “Play Like a Jet” to heart.
“There’s no other team I wanted to play for,” he said. “When you put that helmet on, you got to know there’s a responsibility that goes with it. You’ve got to play like a Jet. And playing like a Jet don’t mean just playing NFL football. It’s playing like a distinct NFL-type of football player. So I’m excited.”
So is his coach.
“You can play in this league, but can you play for the Jets?” Ryan asked. “We want that attitude and that mentality; that this is the place to be, and we want everything you got. That’s what we want. And I think that young man understands it.”