PHILADELPHIA — Jordan Davis had a rookie season that was out of the ordinary. The first-round pick went from starting for the Philadelphia Eagles to suffering a foot injury in late October that slowed down an impactful rookie season.
As the Eagles made a Super Bowl run, Davis was relegated to the sidelines once he returned. Despite the roller coaster ride in Year 1, Davis wouldn’t change a thing
“What it takes to win. What it takes to be the best,” Davis said on what he learned from his rookie season. “I was fortunate enough to go to the Super Bowl in my first year, my rookie year. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity to even sniff the playoffs in their career.
“Just to be able to have that experience and know what it takes.”
Davis went from starting five consecutive games and playing 30 to 40 percent of the snaps to returning from injury and barely playing. The Eagles signed Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph when Davis was out to improve the run defense, and the veterans took up a significant amount of playing time.
The snap count percentage decreased to 10 to 25 percent when Davis returned to the field, part of a defensive tackle rotation with Suh, Joseph, Javon Hargrave, and Fletcher Cox. Davis did play over 30 percent of the snaps in two postseason games, but the Eagles were up big in the second half in both those contests. He played just 10 defensive snaps in Super Bowl LVII.
“We had (Ndamukong) Suh, we had Linval (Joseph) in the room, we had Grave (Javon Hargrave),” Davis said. “Getting that experience with those guys, that’s invaluable. That’s something Fletch (Fletcher Cox) will take the mantle on, but that experience came from all sides. It’s hard to replicate that, especially at my young age. I can’t even begin to have the wisdom that they have.”
Davis took the reduced snaps in stride, knowing the experience in front of him. Hargrave signed with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency, while Suh and Joseph, both in their mid-30s, are waiting until the season stats to determine their future plans.
Cox and Davis are the two main defensive tackles back from the NFC Championship team. The Eagles also have Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu in the fold. Philadelphia signed Kentavius Street in free agency for position depth.
Oh, the Eagles also traded up to draft Jalen Carter — Davis’ teammate from Georgia.
Davis is a veteran of sorts, even though he’s only heading into his second year. Of the defensive tackles on the Eagles roster who have played significant snaps for the team, Davis has the third-most experience.
Even with one year under his belt, Davis feels like a veteran amongst the defensive tackle group. He can thank a rookie year learning from Suh and Joseph.
“The best I can do is reteach what I learned from them,” Davis said. “Knowing what it takes to be the best, those guys were at the top of their game. I respected the hell out of them. Knowing that, going into this role I’m taking. They’re asking a lot more of me, and that’s okay. That’s what I work for.
“I’m lucky to have that experience behind me. Just trying to take those lessons and not have them go to waste.”
Davis certainly learned a lot in the NovaCare Complex in Year 1. He’s taking that knowledge this offseason and using it heading into Year 2.
Is a big season coming? Davis may have found the key to success.
“Just working on the get off technique. That’s the biggest thing,” Davis said. “I watched film of myself and I realized my technique was a little off. I wanted to come in hot, wanted to come in sharp. Especially with the new guys coming in, I want to set a great example for them. I don’t wanna be the guy that falls behind.
“Conditioning, maintaining that on the field, and doing my technique right. The little things.”