Three times this season, Jets head coach Rex Ryan has sought out linebacker Demario Davis on the sideline in the final moments of the game. It’s not to put Davis in the game or talk about what the opposing defense is trying to do.
Instead, Ryan has a special request for the outspoken, second-year linebacker. He wants a prayer.
Davis, who has been likened by Ryan to a leader in the mold of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, is known for his strong faith. A devout Christian, he keeps a Bible in his locker and frequently sprinkles his beliefs into his tweets and during interviews.
So in Week 7, prior to kicker Nick Folk’s 42-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Patriots, Ryan made sure to find Davis to see if he was praying.
“If he sees me, you know, he understands that I’m very connected with God and says, ‘Are you praying?’ Which maybe is sarcastic I guess, because he knows that I’m praying,” Davis said. “It comes down — this season — to so much faith and trusting in God. It comes down to faith and courage. I believe God is going to do something special. It requires faith to trust in him when you have dark moments. And it takes courage to go out there and do our game plan.”
Prior to minicamp and following a shakeup of the coaching staff and the jettison of several star players from the team, Davis felt a tug in his heart to direct his daily Bible study toward several men in the Old Testament.
One of those men was the judge, Gideon.
According to the book of Judges, Gideon was a rather ordinary man anointed by God to lead the army of Israel against the Midianites, who terrorized the area. An army that originally numbered in the tens of thousands was whittled down to just 300 men.
Davis explained that Israel defeated their enemy not through might or power, but through God's might. Their army was downsized, he said, so that it would be evident that it was God's power in action, not man's.
Davis sees parallels between this struggle and what the Jets have gone through.
Like Gideon, Davis sees an opportunity for a few men to battle against the supposed favorites.
“We have to remember it isn’t our fight, it is God’s fight,” Davis said. “Then we can’t lose.
“The message is to stay faithful. You don't know God's story till it is over. The wins and losses aren't based on what you're doing. He might test you at times to see if you're faithful, but at the end of the season, you see the finished fruit. We just have to take it day by day.”
He doesn't know the specifics, but he knows that God has spoken to him this offseason about the Jets and their season. Davis won't promise the playoffs or a certain number of wins. Instead, he lets the message speak for itself.
“All God told me is that he's going to do something special,” Davis said. “He is a conquering God, a victorious God. Whatever he's implying, it will be victorious. I don't know what that means, but it will be special.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.