NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - If adding tight end Jared Cook to the offense is the pivotal piece that changes the game for that side of the ball, what’s the equivalent on defense? The answer is actually someone who’s already on the roster: linebacker Demario Davis. From run stopper, to being able to get to the quarterback on the blitz, to his pass coverage just about anywhere on the field, he was the Saints game-changer last year, and a huge reason they were so successful against the run.
“He is a physical player,” says head coach Sean Payton. “He is not a wrap up and take down guy. He is someone that that can hit you and stop you in your tracks.”
Davis, indeed, takes pride in his power and being able to take down the biggest of backs, but what made him such an attractive piece to add for the Saints last off-season is everything that comes with his obvious physical ability.
“It was identifying in an area that we felt we wanted to improve and then finding the right type of makeup and the right type of football player,” says Payton. “Sometimes, it is hard to do and sometimes you have to wait for the draft. However, fortunately for us, the vision was pretty clear, and to his credit, he has really come through and played well. He is a good leader too.”
And while we’ve only seen one year of Davis in New Orleans, it doesn’t take long watching him play, or having a conversation with him, to know the quality of person he is from the hard work to his humble spirit. Traits like that have him already being compared to Saints linebacker legends of the past like Jonathan Vilma.
“I’ve got so much respect for guys like that,” says Davis. “The guys that are in Saints glory and the Saints Hall of Fame. I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for those guys and the work that they put in. To even be in the same conversation is an honor.”
But if anyone knows that it takes a village, an entire group of linebackers and an entire defense to get the job done, it’s Davis. And along with this group that has good bit of experience together now, they’re raising their game to compete at a championship level once again.
“A lot of times we may change a blitz in the middle of the play without even saying it or communicating with each other because we both kind of think along the same plane,” says Davis. “Whether it’s two of us or three of us on the field, we kind of found a groove of just kind of understanding how a guy plays, how a guy thinks, and it just puts us one step ahead of the offense.”
With yet another tough schedule ahead of them in 2019, staying one step ahead will be huge.