NAPA VALLEY – It may be cliché, but when we talk about players with a lunch pail mentality, Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis certainly fits the bill.
Davis is a constant worker. There is never a down moment for the second-year linebacker during the course of a two and a half hour Lions Rocket Mortgage training camp practice. If he's not in a rep, Davis is working off to the side with position coaches or standing right next to head coach Matt Patricia to get his perspective on what's going on. And when the final horn to conclude practice goes off, Davis isn't done working, either. He can oftentimes be spotted working by himself even after all post-practice media availability has concluded.
"Just working on the small details of the game, man," Davis said of those post-practice sessions. "So many times you get out there and you're playing and you get tired and you have to fall back on your technique when you get tired. I have a lot of work to do and a lot of room to grow in that area, so I just want to make sure I'm out here working on those every opportunity I have."
Davis is expected to have a big role right in the middle of Detroit's defense this season, making the calls and being the glue to that unit.
Davis led all rookies and first-year linebackers with 96 tackles in 14 games last season.
"Any little time (to work on technique) adds up," Davis said. "Every little thing you do is going to add up, whether it be in a positive direction or negative direction."
NO KID GLOVES FOR ANSAH
It's one thing to hear a message in the classroom or in the meeting room, but getting the on-field reps and coaching is something entirely different.
For the first couple weeks of camp, Ziggy Ansah was a bystander at practice while on the PUP list. He came off that list Monday, and is working himself through practice on a progression schedule. Ansah did individuals, but not much team stuff Monday and Tuesday.
The goal is obviously to have Ansah ready to go when football counts for real in September, but Patricia said they can't put Ansah in a bubble over the next month either, because that won't serve him or the team well.
"The goal is to get everyone to September," Patricia said. "But we still have to find out what we have as a team and we have to go and improve. You can't really sit back and wait. I don't think that's the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to go improve."
The goal is obviously not to put Ansah in a situation where he can get hurt, but this is football. It's a physical game, and the Lions have to see how he fits into their new schemes.
"There has to be an element of practice and there has to be an element of preparation and just being able to perform every day consistently," Patricia said. "This is not a game where you can just roll it out there on Sundays and expect to perform at a high level."
GAINING THE WEIGHT
Teo Redding has been one of the young names that's impressed throughout the beginning of camp. The undrafted rookie wide receiver has made some plays in practice that have stood out.
Something else that stands out currently is his calorie intake. Redding joined the Lions as a 6-foot-1, 175-pound receiver out of Bowling Green. He needed to add weight and muscle to his frame without losing explosiveness, which can be a tricky task sometimes.
Redding says he's eating four or five meals a day and constantly snacking. Training camp can be tough on the body with practice and workouts, so keeping the weight on is his biggest challenge. Redding says he's already up to 183 pounds, and would like to add as much as he can without losing his explosiveness.
As for Tuesday's practice, Redding missed a block in a kickoff period that drew the ire of the coaches. However, he looked good in the one-on-one and team drills vs. the Raiders corners.
He's an interesting one to watch come the preseason.
KILLEBREW AT LB
Miles Killebrew seems to be embracing his recent move to linebacker.
"I told coach I'll play wherever he wants me to play," he said after Tuesday's practice. "So, I love it. I'm out there helping the team win and that's where I'm at."
Killebrew was at his best playing strong safety when he was in the box, so this isn't as drastic a move as some might think. He's been working with the linebackers in individual drills the last couple days, and is getting down some of the techniques.
"They are definitely pretty similar," Killebrew said of playing linebacker vs. strong safety. "I'm just starting closer to the ball. Everything happens a little faster in the box, but at the end of the day, football is football, and that's where I'm at right now."