When the Jets signed linebacker Jarrad Davis to a one-year deal this past offseason, they were hopeful the former first-round pick could make an impact on a revamped defense under new head coach, and defensive guru, Robert Saleh.
One preseason ankle injury later, and Davis spent nearly two months on IR before returning in Week 8, and gradually ramping up his snap count.
"It was a pretty extensive injury," Davis said on Monday. "I was blessed to be able to come back but it wasn’t where it needed to be. It's been a long road back, especially after it [the ankle] was immobilized for four weeks. I'm feeling better, every day I’m coming out trying to get better knowing the end goal. I'm just keeping my head down and grinding, getting stronger day by day, week by week.”
The problem since then, at least for Davis, is that after ramping up to nearly 75 percent of the defensive snaps in Indianapolis in Week 9, he has gone back on the decline – and saw just six defensive plays Sunday against the Eagles.
He was involved on 20 of 24 special teams plays, but that’s not where a former first-round pick five years into his career ideally wants to shine. Either way, though, Davis is doing what he can to be a good teammate.
"I've been helping out on specials, helping out the best way I know how," he said. "Just be prepared when my number is called, be supportive, and when the defense comes to the sideline I'm giving advice to everybody. I'm watching every play. I can't see everybody, but I see a lot. If I see something I’m always communicating. It’s a team effort and I'm helping out the best way I can."
If there is maybe one benefit, it’s that the time off is giving his ankle a better chance to get back to 100 percent – and giving him a sense of purpose.
“I’m staying on top of my recovery, and keeping my head in the game, staying positive, and being a helping hand,” Davis said. “It does mean a lot to get that playing time, but it means that much more to be a service and help my teammates out."
And until he gets more of that PT, he’s going to keep working hard to make an impact wherever he can.
“I’m coming out every day in practice and giving my teammates the best look I can,” he said. “Over my career, playing scout team was very fun for me, and it’s been fun this year too going out and helping guys out. Opportunity is opportunity, and I show up to work every day with the mindset of getting better.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN