Praise doesn’t get much higher for a rookie linebacker than to be compared to Ray Lewis, but that’s the comparison Jets coach Rex Ryan made today after seeing rookie linebacker Demario Davis at practice for the first time.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that after the Jets’ rookies took the field at today’s minicamp, Ryan singled out Davis, a third-round pick from Arkansas State, as having similar “natural leadership skills” to Lewis.
“Ray Lewis motivated me as a coach,” Ryan said. “That’s rare for a player to do that [and] have that kind of ability. I’m not saying Demario is that guy, but . . . and there’s only one Ray Lewis . . . but it’s interesting. His face. His mannerisms. Passion. I see some things. . . . You either have it or you don’t and it seems like he has it.”
Ryan may be reining in some of his brash talk after last year’s Super Bowl prediction went bust, but he still isn’t afraid to say so when he likes what he sees on his team.
“We think we’re special here,” Ryan said. “I know we had a bad year. Granted . . . I’ll say that with every statement, but I know one thing: We want it to be special. You play in this league, but can you play for the Jets? Again, we want that attitude and that mentality… that this is the place to be. We want everything you got. . . . I think that young man understands it.”