If there was one area where Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis struggled more than others as a rookie, it was in coverage. At one point during his rookie season last year, the Lions replaced him in obvious passing situations with veteran Tahir Whitehead.
To Davis' credit, he worked hard to improve in that area as the year went on, and was better toward the end of the season.
It was an area where he spent a lot of focus on improving this offseason, so when New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman beat Davis rather easily for an 8-yard receiving touchdown in Detroit's preseason loss last Friday, questions started to come up again about that part of his game.
Davis was ranked among the top 13 inside linebackers by Pro Football Focus last season as both a run stopper and pass rusher. In coverage, however, he ranked 51st. Opponents completed 46-of-56 attempts on him with a passer rating of 106.5.
On that particular play last Friday, Davis chalked it up to a bonehead play instead of a larger problem.
"I just have to get back to the basics, man," he said Tuesday. "Just have to definitely play with my leverage and play with better eyes. Look at the receiver vs. the quarterback.
"I just have to make sure I'm really focusing in practice and when I get in that game situation, do what I do in practice and make the play in the game. It's no different."
Davis thinks his coverage skills have come a long way this offseason, and that play wasn't a good representation of the work he's put in improving that part of his game.
"I've been working at it all summer and all throughout camp," he said. "I've gotten a lot better than I was last year.
"When you get into that game situation you have to really stick to your technique. I feel like I just got overexcited and really stepped outside of myself and made a boneheaded mistake."