There are a lot of things Jets LB Jarrad Davis can improve, but blitzing is not one of them, as he is one of the NFL’s best LBs in that area.
Yesterday, I broke down the blitzing statistics for the New York Jets‘ cornerbacks, linebackers, and safeties. The study made one thing clear; Jarrad Davis is not only the best blitzer on the team, but he is one of the best blitzing linebackers in the NFL.
Since 2017, Davis has racked up 68 total pressures, which ranks as the fifth-most among linebackers over that span. He has created pressure on 22.6% of his pass-rush snaps, which ranks sixth among qualified linebackers since 2017 and is over 8% better than the 2020 league average for linebackers (14.3%).
With an intriguing blend of aggression, power, speed, and finesse, Davis is able to succeed on a far greater portion of his blitzes than most other linebackers.
Ability to defeat running backs
Davis does a great job of maximizing his one-on-one opportunities against running backs, routinely beating them to create pressure.
As the MIKE on a crossfire blitz, Davis loops behind the WILL into the opposite A-gap, where he is picked up by the running back. Davis angles outside knowing that the RB will be unable to get all the way out there coming from the opposite side. He throws a rip with his inside arm to beat the RB and get home for a hit on Jameis Winston, forcing an errant throw on a golden opportunity for a deep completion.
Davis is the MIKE and rushes free through the B-gap for a matchup with the RB as the left tackle and left guard are occupied by other defenders. Davis shows nice bend as he sets up outside, drops his hips, and turns inside to beat the RB, who had taken a hard outside set. The RB looks to engage but Davis counters well as he gets low and aggressively crashes into the RB to prevent him from latching on.
Davis works off the momentum from his collision with the RB to pursue Winston and get him for the strip-sack. Davis grabs Winston’s inside shoulder with his inside hand, prompting Winston to switch the ball over to his outside hand, and Davis then uses his outside hand to punch the ball out from behind.
Davis stands over the B-gap and is left to be picked up by the RB. He drops his inside shoulder and jolts it into the RB, blasting him. Davis stumbles and falls as he leans his weight out in front a bit too much, but he still forces Matt Ryan to make a difficult drifting throw that winds up inaccurate and incomplete.
Davis rushes from the MIKE spot, lined up across from the center. The A-gap to our left (Davis’ right) immediately opens up for Davis, but instead of attacking it right away, Davis stays patient and methodically moves directly downhill to try and keep the RB (Saquon Barkley) away from the open gap. This is successful as Barkley is lulled into focusing on the NT rather than covering the open A-gap on the left.
As Davis approaches the line of scrimmage, he cuts to his right and into the open gap. Since Barkley is late to get over there, he is in no position to pick up the blitz, and Davis bowls him over with a thrust of the inside shoulder. Davis hits Daniel Jones to force an incomplete pass.
Davis is excellent at setting up his blitzes, showing good patience and a solid awareness of the blocking scheme to create lanes for himself. Expect Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich to focus heavily on tapping into the football IQ shown by Davis in the plays below.