Jets LB Demario Davis has been a cornerstone of the team's defense this season, but it wasn't always that way.
When returning to the Jets this offseason after a season with the Browns, fans and media crushed Davis, saying he wasn't worth bringing back after serving four previous season in Green & White. Davis didn't prove them wrong in the first two weeks of the season either as he struggled mightily on the field.
Davis spoke with SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon on "The Jet Stream Podcast" to talk about how he dealt with the pressure, and turned around his season.
"Yeah, it's kinda funny hearing that," Davis said about the criticism early on. "You know, after the first two weeks, it was a lot of people coming down on the inside linebacker play and that's part of it. We do well defensively sometimes, you get more praise. We do bad sometimes, we get dogged on a little bit more. But for myself and my coaches, they thought we were doing pretty good. So I didn't feel like I needed to change anything. I didn't let it weigh on me or nothing like that. I just wanted to continue to intensify my play."
Davis certainly turned up his intensity in Week 3 against the Dolphins, where he totaled 12 combined tackles with 11 being solo. His play after that week continued to be consistent, and Davis was proving everyone wrong.
"I felt like, 'OK, well they're gonna come at us, I can go out and make more play and I'll go do that.' So I just kinda put a chip on my shoulder," he said. "You know, one way or another, the naysayers are going to be proved wrong. So each and every week I just continued to put a chip on my shoulder."
Hate isn't something Davis experienced for the first time this season. He admits he's dealt with it his whole life, and the only way to get rid of it is to use it as motivation.
"At this point in my life, I'm kinda fueled by naysayers and negative thoughts. It's kinda been my M.O. my whole life and I'd be wrong to change that now...So I actually kinda enjoy it when there's negative thoughts and I still feel that way. Not in an arrogant way, but when they talk about top five linebackers and my name isn't in the conversation, that fuels me."
Davis currently leads the Jets with 109 combined tackles (81 solo, 28 assists) as well as having 4.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, and three passes defended in his sixth NFL season.
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