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Old 05-03-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
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Default Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_623419.html#

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 3, 2009

Outside linebacker Bruce Davis didn't make a single play as a rookie no tackles, sacks or interceptions which is why he couldn't wait to get into the weight room and bulk up so he never goes through a season like that again.

A third-round pick in 2008, Davis shouldn't be labeled a bust because he wasn't on the field long enough to show he could play. But he knows the pressure is on him to produce this year.

"Last year, I don't want to say it was disappointing," said Davis, who had 29 career sacks at UCLA. "I would have hoped it would have gone another way, but it didn't."

Davis expects making a bigger contribution in 2009 because "the difference between year one and year two is I'm a lot more comfortable."

"I know the calls now," he said. "I don't have second-guess myself. I can just play. I know what I'm doing. I get to use what I've got. Anytime you're out there thinking on the football field, you're not moving as fast as you can. Now, if I get a call, I run with the call."

In college, Davis was always among the most talented players on the field. In the NFL, everyone can play, and Davis needed to change his approach.

"I got a lot stronger," said Davis, who is spending his offseason in Pittsburgh. "I got in the weight room with (conditioning coach Garrett Giemont and conditioning assistant Marcel Pastoor).

"I lost a little bit of weight (255 pounds, down from 262) and gained some muscle. I definitely feel like I have a half-step back from last year."

That extra half-step can make all the difference for a speed pass rusher if Davis can get on the field. He's playing behind James Harrison, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and LaMarr Woodley, who had 11.5 sacks in his first season as a starter.

"Realistically," Davis said, "am I going to take James Harrison's spot? I doubt it. That's just being real. The way it worked last year, I got to sit back and learn watching the best defense in the game. Until my number is called to make plays on defense, I'm going to play special teams like I'm out there playing outside linebacker. I'm going to go as hard as I can and try to knock some people out.

"Special teams is definitely a huge phase of this game and this team. Coach (Mike) Tomlin puts emphasis on special teams.

"But you can always get better. I want to get better on special teams and make an impact."

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

Bruce, you've got the right attitude, now get out there and hit some people!
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

Honestly, Davis' role on the team puzzles me. If the only position he can play is OLB, I don't expect him to see any playing time at all for the next three years or so unless there's an injury to Woodley or Harrison. And by then, his contract will be up. I could see him getting some playing time at ILB as Farrior gets older, but it doesn't sound like Davis can play ILB. Basically, I'm wondering what the deal is with him.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

He can spell either Woodley or Harrison if needed. Show us what ya got kid.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

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Originally Posted by KeiselPower99 View Post
He can spell either Woodley or Harrison if needed. Show us what ya got kid.
Yeah, exactly. We could easily put him into rotation with Deebo and Woodley. Dont underestimate the value of depth.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

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Originally Posted by steelreserve View Post
Basically, I'm wondering what the deal is with him.
The deal is that he is playing behind Harrison and Woodley. That right there is tough to do when you are an athlete. He sounds like he has a good understanding of it and adds depth to the position and he contributes on special teams. There are only 11 spots open on that field and the NFL is so specific now especially the Steelers that the OLB position is almost singular in nature, you either have what it takes to play the position or you don't.

The Steelers do great because they always have an eye for talent and for drafting/signing solid players that can fill roles.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

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Honestly, Davis' role on the team puzzles me. If the only position he can play is OLB, I don't expect him to see any playing time at all for the next three years or so unless there's an injury to Woodley or Harrison. And by then, his contract will be up. I could see him getting some playing time at ILB as Farrior gets older, but it doesn't sound like Davis can play ILB. Basically, I'm wondering what the deal is with him.
Davis will never play ILB

He is a pass rusher

Hopefully he can learn to play well on special teams and maybe earn some spot duty as a pass rusher
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

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Davis will never play ILB

He is a pass rusher

Hopefully he can learn to play well on special teams and maybe earn some spot duty as a pass rusher
We saw Timmons come in a lot on 3rd down last year in rushing situations. I know he is a ILB and not an OLB, but he lined up at both positions to bring the rush. We could see him in this kind of role to give some players a rest. The way I feel is it might be better to have a fresh pass rusher on 3rd down than maybe a tired Woodley or Harrison. Especially deep into a game and deep into the season.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:22 PM   #9
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Lightbulb Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

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Originally Posted by Psyychoward86 View Post
Yeah, exactly. We could easily put him into rotation with Deebo and Woodley. Dont underestimate the value of depth.
no doubt about that psyychoward...
Depth is very important just for the fact that you never know when Harrison might take the last snap of the '09 season or of his career as far as that goes. You never know do ya?... what about when Big Ben was sitting on the bench his rookie year when Maddox went down? If he werent ready where would the Steelers have been that season? He went what 15 games without losing his first?... Now, I think that being said.. you need to be ready at all times... I am rooting for ya Davis, I just aint hoping for injuries to happen to get you on the field.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' linebacker Davis eager to make impact

Love the Steelers way of bringing in rookies, teaching them for a year then expecting them to contribute. Look for Hills, Davis and Sweed all to see much more action this year.
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