Jarrad Davis is seeing his horizons expand on multiple levels on the Detroit Lions' defense.
As Davis begins his third season as a starting linebacker, it's a sign of his rising stature that the more he accomplishes, the more is expected of him – and the more he is willing to provide it.
One sign of his desire to improve his game is the work he put in this offseason as a pass rusher. It was not one of his strengths as a rookie two years ago, when he posted two quarterback sacks.
Davis improved to six sacks last year, but he did not consider himself the finished product as a pass rusher. He worked with veteran defensive line coach Pete Jenkins to improve his pass-rush techniques.
Davis wanted to become more proficient beating one-on-one blockers, and not have to rely solely as much on blitzes to get to the quarterback.
"I did a lot of work with him," Davis said Wednesday. "I want to add more to my game – help the defense out. I can drop in coverage every play. To be able to come in and rush the passer is super nice, too.
"It's fun to go out and have an offense guess if I'm coming, or am I dropping? What am I going to do?
"It's really exciting to give offenses more of a headache. There are so many of us they have to block. They can't block every one of us. Somebody's going to win a one-on-one and make a big play. That's what we're here to do.'
That's especially important for Davis, who has the responsibility of making the calls. He had to make a transition last year from the defense he played in as a rookie under coordinator Teryl Austin to the one Patricia and Pasqualoni brought in.
"It's just being aware of the system, -- being aware of what we're trying to do and accomplish as a defense," Davis said. "We all know each other. We know, 'This is my job,' and I know the guy around me."
One of those guys is 353-pound nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison Sr. Harrison is actually in front of him, and Davis was instantly aware of the impact he had on the defense when the Lions acquired him in a trade with the Giants after Game 6.
The Lions gave up an average of 139 yards rushing per game in the first six games. With Harrison plugging the middle and making stops for no gain or losses, that average dropped to 82 yards over the last 10 games.
"It's complete mayhem in front of me," Davis said when asked what it was like playing behind Harrison. "It's a mess. I've just got to get an elbow in there, get a finger on the ball carrier.
"He just swallows them up. It's awesome to have him in front of me. It clears up a lot of things."
View photos of players arriving for 2019 Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Allen Park, Mich.
Linebackers coach Al Golden has seen the upward arc of Davis' performance, and he doesn't see it flattening out soon.
"There's no question there's a comfort level with him," Golden said. "He's playing faster. He's always challenging himself. You don't have to worry about that aspect of it. If he doesn't know something, he studies it.
"He's progressing both as a leader and in his improvement in a lot of different areas. I like the track that he's on. There's no question, he's become a more vocal leader. When he speaks, people listen. I don't think he wastes words."