Alex Anzalone Relishes Reconnecting With Jarrad Davis in Detroit

Amani Oruwariye Alex Anzalone

Getty Amani Oruwariye slaps a high-five with Alex Anzalone during the Lions 2021 win over Minnesota.

Once a Florida Gator, always a Florida Gator. That sentiment is true for all proud alumni of the school, but it especially rings true for a pair of NFL players now joined together on the Detroit Lions.

Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone played together with the Gators from 2013 to 2016 on the same defense. They were friends in college, and as both transitioned to the league, distance and time both marched on. Now, the universe has managed to reconnect the pair in the Motor City, and Anzalone couldn’t be more grateful to enter a new phase with his good friend.

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Speaking to the media after practice on Tuesday, June 7, Anzalone explained that he was good friends with Davis and that remained so even after the duo went their separate ways into the league. Now that they are back together closer, it’s just been a continuation of the relationship.

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“We were definitely tight (in college). As you go into the NFL and different teams and life goes on, I think that (some things change) but when you get back together, it’s like nothing’s ever changed,” Anzalone told the media. “We already hung out, our wives got together, our kids got together so it’s like nothing changed. It’s just a different part of our life except for (new families). I mean you feel the chemistry too. It’s like I said, it’s like nothing changed and it’s just like picking up where we left off.”

That relationship, along with Davis’ experience, will help the Lions on defense this year according to Anzalone. Given his prior experience in Detroit, he sees Davis as an easy fit within the defense and a player who’s veteran instincts will be appreciated, especially given what the team lost.

“It’s awesome. I think that losing (Jalen Reeves-Maybin) this past free agency to adding Jarrad Davis. You know he’s been here, he knows the ropes. It’s like he never left. It’s really important and even adding a vet like Chris (Board), I think that just helps the room overall,” he said.

Chemistry and leadership are a few things that have come natural to Davis, and he will have the chance to prove that he still has both in spades even if things haven’t gone according to plan so far in his career.

Davis’s Career Stats & Highlights

As Anzalone would no doubt attest, Davis always brings it on the field in terms of energy and passion, and that’s something he has done since he played in college with Florida while putting up 201 tackles and 5.5 sacks in Gainesville. Known as one of the best tacklers and leaders in his class when he came out, Davis has always had all the tools to be a solid NFL player, but has yet to get comfortable in the league. Perhaps he can find a home in Detroit again with his aggressive play and achieve some consistency. Though he wasn’t always elite or a star, he has played at a high level in the league before like the tape shows:

Jarrad Davis 2018-2019 Highlights – “Gun Smoke”None of the Clips in this video are owned by me, all of these clips are owned by the NFL and espn, No need for copyright infringement, the song used in the video does not belong to me either. I’m using the clips for entertainment purposes only I Hope you enjoyed and make sure you…2019-03-06T20:07:25Z

At times, Davis can be his own worst enemy in terms of the things he does on the field in pursuit and in coverage, but more often than not, his speed and passion is a major advantage for him when in attack mode. One of his last years in Detroit, Davis was best at rushing the passer. He put up 63 tackles and 2 sacks in the 2019 season for the Lions. As a whole in his career, Davis has 330 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 1 interception.

Anzalone Believes Second Detroit Stint Could Benefit Davis

No matter how uneven the stats early on have been, it’s fair to remember that Davis came to the Lions with pressure immediately as a first-round pick. That’s tough duty for a young player, but now that he has new priorities and a new lease on life in the league and is flying under the radar, it could be a positive for his development and his ability to play well according to Anzalone.

“He’s in, I think, a different place in his life. A different mindset. He has a wife and a child now. That changes a lot of things,” Anzalone said. “Not putting all that pressure on you to perform and if you have a bad day here, you can go home and let that go and that helps your next day. If you just hang on to that frustration or anger or disappointment, it affects your next day and that’s when things start snowballing.”

With new priorities, the pressure gone and a good friend in tow to help the transition, Davis could get back to the fundamentals of football and rediscover some of the love of the game and what makes him successful.

Anazlone could likely be counted as someone who wouldn’t mind seeing that happen at all.

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