Updated, 4:20 p.m. ET
Demario Davis was drafted in this year’s third round for, among other attributes, his speed. That speed is starting to show up on defense, but it has been very much in evidence on special teams, especially during Sunday’s otherwise downer of a loss to the 49ers.
“The main thing about special teams is just to play fast and play physical,” said Davis this week. “You do that, you’re going to always be successful.”
Success was essential against the Niners’ always formidable return man, Ted Ginn — “He’s about as good as they come,” said fellow ST contributor Nick Bellore.
Ginn’s numbers were OK, four returns for 40 yards, but consider that he had only 20 yards on his first six punts (three returns, three fair catches).
Ginn (who we all remember had two kickoff-return touchdowns in a 7:01 third-quarter span of the Jets’ 2009 home loss to the Dolphins) had trouble getting traction. His second return was wiped out because Davis had beaten third-year Niner Anthony Dixon down the field and got shoved in the back, drawing his first penalty as a pro.
Then in the third quarter, Ginn took a Robert Malone punt to the right side of the field and headed parallel near the midfield stripe, looking dangerously as if he was about to turn it up into a bigtime return.
No dice. Davis flew past Dixon again and this time nailed Ginn by the ankles after a gain of only a yard.
The Niners’ final return was his best of the day, after the game was no longer in doubt, a 20-yarder, which nevertheless at the end of which he fumbled (Dixon recovered) when swarmed over by the pursuing Jets cover team. Needless to say, No. 56 was among the pursuers.
Davis played specials at Arkansas State and always took pride in it there. Up here there is no dropoff in his preparation and his impact. During the week he said, “Coach always says, ‘What are they saying about you in their meetings?’ I’d like to think they would say about our teams that maybe I’m one of the top guys.”
And then during the game, he said of the grading system of Mike Westhoff and other teams coaches, “Special teams is easy. There’s a man in front of you. One of you guys is going to get a plus and one of you guys is going to get a minus. At the end of the day, I want to finish the game with all pluses.”
Davis said just as at ASU, he’s playing on most of the Jets’ units — right guard on punt and kickoff cover, “anywhere” or “all over” on punt and kickoff return.
The Jets’ special units would have had a really nice day against San Fran except for one little glitch, the blocked punt that produced the visitors’ final touchdown. Davis knows that such a mistake could be the fatal difference for the Jets before Monday’s national audience. He knows that a Jets triumph will likely be built with the help of a special teams effort against Texans returner Trindon Holliday, punter Donnie Jones and kicker Shayne Graham.
“It’s definitely an important phase of the game that we feel like we have to win,” Davis said. “We’re just going to go out and try to execute our job. And if we do that we’ll be successful.”
Saturday Injury Reports
There was no great news and little change on the injury front following the Jets’ Saturday practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
Five players didn’t participate in today’s practice and four are listed as doubtful for the Texans: FB John Conner (hamstring), WR Stephen Hill (hamstring), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and NT Sione Po‘uha (low back). The fifth DNP, LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring), is listed as questionable, as are LB Bart Scott (toe), S Eric Smith (hip/knee), RB-KR Joe McKnight (illness), and newly signed CB Aaron Berry (ribs).
The 14 other players on the list all practiced full and are probable for the Monday night affair.
Houston’s injured players, meanwhile, appeared to make strides toward better health as 15 of the 17 players on their I-report practiced full and 14 of them are probable, including WR Andre Johnson (groin), RB Arian Foster (hamstring), TE Owen Daniels, and the three starting interior O-linemen, C Chris Myers (back), G Antoine Caldwell (ankle/knee) and G Wade Smith (knee).
LB Ben Tate (toe) is questionable for the game, and S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm) and WR Lestar Jean (knee) have been declared out by head coach Gary Kubiak.
*Special Teams Saturday
Tags: Demario Davis, Houston Texans, Mike Westhoff, San Francisco 49ers, Ted Ginn
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