Jets head coach Rex Ryan likened Demario Davis' leadership ability to a young Ray Lewis before he ever played an NFL game. But now Davis is backtracking on comments he made on the Jets' practice habits.
The words came with little room for interpretation. Davis told the New York Daily News after Sunday's 31-0 loss at the Chargers the Jets were “not practicing like a championship team” and did not put “a lot of effort into the film study.”
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On Wednesday, Davis said his comments — despite how they read — were not necessarily about his teammates but were about himself.
“My opinion of it was never that our practices was an issue,” Davis said. “The whole statement was about me. The statement was about me as a leader and I'm responsible for anything that goes on defensively. I felt like I personally need to give a better effort on the field, setting the tempo for everybody on the defense.”
Before Davis spoke to the media on Wednesday, Ryan answered questions about his player's stinging commentary.
“I would disagree,” Ryan said. “You know obviously everybody has a right to their own opinion. That's fine and dandy. I was shocked by it because we've had some great practices and this team always practice well. I think that's why I was kind of taken aback a little bit by those comments. I recognize that after a game — an emotional game — comments are made and things like that. But I was shocked by them because this team practices well.”
The words from Davis, however, carry some weight in light of Wednesday practice, which Ryan said “seemed to be a little off.”
For his part, Davis is holding himself accountable for not setting a good example for his teammates.
“I believe I need to set the tempo as far as what it means to watch film and guys will follow me. I feel like guys follow me, so it's all on me as a leader to set the tempo of what it means to prepare for an opponent,” Davis said. “And I feel like I've let my teammates down in the way I've been preparing for opponents. And my teammates are going to follow me in whatever I do.”
Player and head coach spoke at some point this week. Davis wouldn't divulge the details of his conversation with Ryan other than to say “it was a real positive conversation.”
I came out of it a lot more respect for him after that conversation,” Davis said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.