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O'HARA: Davis excited to work with Patricia

Jarrad Davis can feel fresh vibes at the Detroit Lions' headquarters coming from new head coach Matt Patricia, and he likes them.

"Pure excitement, to be honest," Davis said Tuesday when asked about the impression Patricia has made.

"Pure excitement. Just the energy that he gives off in the building, walking around – he's a straight forward kind of guy.

"He's loose. He talks to you as a player to be who you are. Stick to your roots. Come out and give your best every day."

Early impressions mean something, even if it's only midway through the second week of the first official offseason workout program with Patricia as head coach.

Davis' comments in his session with the media Tuesday indicate that Patricia has made a positive impact as Davis prepares for his second season as the starting middle linebacker.

Patricia is replacing Jim Caldwell, who was fired after four seasons as head coach. Caldwell was popular with the players for his even-handed temperament.

However, Caldwell and Patricia come from different backgrounds. Caldwell's background in the NFL was on offense as a position coach and coordinator in the NFL, with a three-year stint as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Patricia spent 14 seasons with the New England Patriots before being hired as head coach of the Lions on Feb. 5. Patricia was a defensive assistant his last 12 seasons in New England and coordinator of the unit the last six years.

There's a different feel having a defensive coach as head coach, although in Patricia's case the impression he's made since coming to Detroit is that his personality would have been the same whether he was coaching offense, defense or special teams.

"There not a wall or anything you have to break through," Davis said. "Sometimes when you get in that new environment, you're around a new coach, there's always that 'what is he?'

"There's nothing like that with Coach Patricia at all. It's smooth sailing. It's very comfortable."

One of the biggest questions that remains unanswered in any detail is what base scheme the Lions' defense will use under Patricia. The Lions have been primarily a 4-3 team for two decades while the Patriots have used a base 3-4 scheme.

Patricia has stressed in his interviews that the Lions will operate out of multiple schemes, based on situations.

Davis didn't shed any light on what the Lions' 2018 defense will look like.

"Every day we go into the meeting room, we're still diagnosing," Davis said. "I really don't have a lot of specifics of how it's going to be different. At the end of the day, defense is defense.

"You have 11 guys on the field. All 11 guys are going to be hunting the ball carrier. If we do that, we'll be all right."

Regardless of any coaching changes, Davis is looking for growth in his game. He was drafted in the first round out of Florida last year to take over immediately as the starting middle linebacker.

Davis had to carry a heavy load physically and mentally, and there were times that he struggled early, particularly in pass coverage. His play improved late in the season.

After an offseason of intense self-evaluation, Davis feels better prepared for the start of his second season.

"The biggest thing is, I'm mentally relaxed," Davis said. "It was hard to be relaxed last year. I was thrown into the fire. I had to learn everything right now. Right now, you've got to get it you've got to have it down.

"This year, I feel more mentally prepared. Everything you go through in life, you go through for a reason.  I appreciate every moment and everything I had last year making me a stronger person. I feel a lot more comfortable."

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