There was no pause, no hesitation.
Jordan Davis didn’t need to think about his answer when asked about the biggest difference going into Year 2 of his NFL career.
“Confidence,” Davis blurted out. “I’d say confidence.”
Davis, 23, was starting to build up that confidence last season as a rookie but then he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Steelers and it took a long time for that to heal and even longer for him to feel like himself again.
“Obviously, I made it this far for a reason but it’s just one of those things where you keep second-guessing yourself,” Davis said. “And especially after the injury, I was always second-guessing myself. But now going into this role, being in a more leadership role, I’m starting to gain more confidence for me, myself and everybody else.”
Davis was a first-round pick last year but explained to NBC Sports Philadelphia in September about his long battle with his confidence. Even though he was one of the best players in the nation at Georgia, Davis has had his issues for years and even speaks with a therapist to help him deal with them.
On Monday, When asked what he was second-guessing last year, Davis said his ability. That might seem crazy for a 6-foot-6, 340-pound guy who moves like him.
But Davis on Monday tried to explain it.
“You know, you’re coming up on the biggest stage of your life,” he said. “ It’s the grandest stage in football. So obviously, people have, not only myself, have imposter syndrome. Just knowing that you’re here for a reason, they picked you for a reason, you’re here to stay. Just do whatever you can do get better. You just prepare your best and let everything take care of the rest.”
It’s not that Davis was bad in 2022. As a rookie, he played in 13 games with 5 starts and did some good things. But there was obviously plenty of room for growth and the Eagles are hoping he takes a big step in 2023.
The Eagles were extremely pleased with Davis’s conditioning this offseason and were also very impressed by the shape Davis was in when he reported for training camp. That conditioning, paired with extra reps has helped.
And now when Davis watches practice film, he’s sees a much more confident version of himself.
“You can see it on the tape,” Davis said. “When I watch practice, I’m more sure. I’m not really hesitant off the ball. I’m taking that first step, I’m taking my gather step. It’s just little things like that. It could be seconds or milliseconds difference but in this game, milliseconds add up.”
Confidence can be fickle and Davis knows that. The best way to gain it is just to keep getting more and more reps. He’s a starter in the Eagles’ defense this season and has even been taking a lot of reps in the four-man front, which seems like steady progress.
There are just things to get used to in the NFL and a lot of that comes naturally. In Year 2, Davis understands that and he hopes that his confidence continues to grow naturally.
“You can look at guys like Fletch (Cox),” Davis said. “This thing is like the back of the hand to him. Anytime I can gain more experience and the more experience I gain throughout these years the more I play, it’s just more and more confidence that grows.”