From a public relations intern for the Oakland Raiders to the assistant defensive line coach for the Detroit Lions, Cam Davis has seen it all. Now, he’s charting a unique course for his players in Detroit, a path infused with a brutal energy not often seen on the football field. “Violence.” Davis pronounces it boldly, casting his vision for a defense that sends chills down the spines of opposing teams.
On episode 49 of “Twentyman in the Huddle,” Detroit Lions lead writer, Tim Twentyman, asked Davis what he is trying to instill in his players. Davis gave a ferociously direct response:
One word: violence. I want to have the most violent unit up front in all of the NFL. I want guys to know that when they turn on the tape for us… it’s gonna be a long four-quarter ballgame.
Davis continued to passionately emphasize the trouble his unit is going to cause for opponents offensive linemen:
We’re gonna go get after the quarterback… If there’s one thing I wanna be known for, it’s being violent. That is it. That is all that I tell my guys all the time. Violence, violence, violence. And there’s no excuse for not playing violently.
Cultivating a Culture of Fear and Force
Davis’ strategy distinguishes itself in the manner it is all about the gridiron. Rather than merely focusing on physicality, he is intent on embedding a relentless tenacity within his players to be unleashed on the football field. The anticipated outcome? A robust and intimidating front line, proficient in delivering controlled aggression on every snap. Davis’ game plan is targeted towards unveiling the latent power within the Detroit Lions’ defensive line. The Lions’ faith in this vision is demonstrated in their recent choice to nurture their current talent, rather than adding a premier defensive tackle in the NFL draft or via free agency.
Instead, the Lions are relying on Davis and defensive Lline Coach John Scott Jr. to mentor and mold their existing talent. This group includes Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, James Houston, Brodric Martin, Josh Paschal, and veterans like Isaiah Buggs and John Cominskey. Their development, under the tutelage of Davis, is critical to the Lions’ success in the upcoming season.
Aidan Hutchinson: “I feel stronger than ever.”
One player who stands out in Davis’ strategy is Aidan Hutchinson. Heading into his second year, Hutchinson is expected to embrace Davis’ violent vision fully. The coach is notably excited about Hutchinson’s potential, noting his physical transformation and his increasing comfort in the team’s system.
I’m really excited to be going into year two with Aidan… he looks bigger, he looks stronger… The ceiling is wherever he sets it at…
Davis further emphasizes Hutchinson’s mental tenacity:
He’s very locked in mentally, and I think from that perspective you can kind of load him up with things and he’s able to go out there and execute the game plan.
What are your expectations for Aidan Hutchinson in 2023? pic.twitter.com/cE9gM24igc
— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) May 26, 2023
Hutchinson himself has echoed this sentiment, acknowledging his growth over the past year. “I feel stronger than ever. I feel more mobile than ever. Everywhere on the board, I feel like I’ve taken myself to the next level,” Hutchinson said during a press conference at the Lions’ OTAs.
Cam Davis’ Path to the Detroit Lions
The journey that has brought Davis to the helm of the Lions’ defensive line is nothing short of remarkable. Being named an assistant at Diablo Valley College in 2013 began his coaching journey. He later honed his skills under renowned defensive coordinator John Chavis at Texas A&M. Davis continued his own development at other prominent programs such as Rice University and the University of Kentucky. His two-year tenure as the Defensive Line Coach at Lamar University, a Division I FCS program, was a crucial stepping stone to his role with the Lions.
The upcoming season will truly test Davis’s vision of a violent defense. Whether the Detroit Lions can embrace this ethos and translate it into success on the field remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure, their opponents will face a brutal battle in the trenches from the first whistle to the moment the clock strikes 00:00.
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Original Photo Credit: © Lon Horwedel – USA TODAY Sports