Controversial officiating call costs Demario Davis a win at Pro Bowl dodgeball game

WATCH: A controversial officiating call costs Demario Davis a win at Thursday night’s Pro Bowl dodgeball game

The New Orleans Saints just can’t escape last-minute officiating gaffes. Linebacker Demario Davis earned his first-ever trip to the Pro Bowl Games this season, and he was put in a big spot during one of the event’s first highlights: the NFC Dodgeball game, in which Davis made the final throw.

He beamed New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley in the head with a dart that would have won the game for the NFC defense — it’s a miracle Barkley’s bucket hat didn’t go sailing away. But the referees said Davis illegally hit Barkley in the face, which led to his disqualification and instead a win for the NFC offense.

But it made for terrific content, with an instant reaction from the crowd and Davis’s teammate Cameron Jordan cheering him on after what they thought was the game-winning throw. Ah well. They’ll have other opportunities to shine in upcoming events like the flag football game on Sunday.

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Demario Davis earns his fourth consecutive AP All-Pro team appearance

Demario Davis earned his fourth consecutive honor from the Associated Press, who named him a second team All-Pro for the third year in a row:

Bang: there’s some well-deserved recognition for Demario Davis from the Associated Press, who selected the New Orleans Saints linebacker as a member of the 2022 All-Pro second team on Friday. It’s the third year in a row for Davis to make the second team, and this is his fourth consecutive All-Pro honor after making the first team in 2019. He was also finally recognized as a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career this season.

Davis was the only Saints player to be on the field for all 1,132 defensive snaps in 2022 (though safety Tyrann Mathieu came close with 1,129 snaps), finishing the year with a team-leading 109 combined tackles (54 solo, 10 tackles for loss). He was also credited with 6.5 sacks and 8 quarterback hits, plus a fumble recovery, an interception, and 6 passes defensed. Not bad for someone who just celebrated his 34th birthday, having reached an age where many players begin to call it quits.

However, Davis was also the only Saints player to be recognized as an All-Pro in 2022, which goes to show how big of a step back New Orleans took this year. The Saints have had multiple All-Pro honorees every year since the 2017 season, so they’ll need to turn things around in a big way this summer to get back on top of things for 2023. Finding better ways to maximize talents like Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave would be a good start.

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WATCH: Demario Davis delivers his Saints pregame speech vs. Eagles

WATCH: Demario Davis delivers his Saints pregame speech vs. Eagles

There’s leadership: Pro Bowl linebacker Demario Davis delivered his weekly pregame speech to his New Orleans Saints teammates before their Week 17 kickoff with the Philadelphia Eagles, with a lot on the line. A loss would eliminate them from playoff contention while a win could keep them alive.

Nobody knows that better than Davis, the 11th-year pro who started his career with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. Davis never even played in the postseason until Year 7, his first with the Saints.

It’s been a difficult season for New Orleans but having his steady presence in the locker room has meant a lot. If the Saints are going to upset the Eagles on Sunday and keep their season going, it’ll take big-time plays from big-time players like Davis.

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Saints again nominate Demario Davis for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

The Saints again nominated Demario Davis for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, having previously put him up for consideration in 2020:

Here’s some well-deserved recognition for Demario Davis. The New Orleans Saints nominated their defensive captain for the the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for the second time in three years (he was previously nominated back in 2020). Davis is one of 32 nominees from around the NFL, with a league press release stating that this award “recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.”

Cameron Jordan was nominated for this recognition in 2021, and former Saints left tackle Terron Armstead was up for it in 2019. Legendary Saints quarterback Drew Brees shared the award back in 2006 with his old Chargers teammate LaDainian Tomlinson. All of these men have been heavily involved in philanthropic pursuits and community activism away from the field while performing at a high level, and it’s considered one of the highest honors handed out each season. We’ll find out who is this year’s winner at the annual NFL Honors ceremony before Super Bowl LVII in February.

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WATCH: Demario Davis delivers his Saints pregame speech before kickoff vs. 49ers

WATCH: Demario Davis delivers his Saints pregame speech before kickoff vs. 49ers

It’s been a tough year for the New Orleans Saints, who have leaned hard on team leaders like Demario Davis. The veteran linebacker and defensive captain has enjoyed the best production of his career since signing with the Saints back in 2018, and he’s proven to be an invaluable presence for their defense. It’s on him to set expectations with a fiery pregame speech to his teammates.

Davis first started delivering a weekly address when Drew Brees went down with an injury, picking up No. 9’s long-running tradition with ease. With the Saints experiencing more adversity than ever, having respected voices in the locker room like Davis brings value you can’t quantify.

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WATCH: Demario Davis delivers Saints pregame speech before kickoff vs. Ravens

WATCH: Demario Davis delivers Saints pregame speech before kickoff vs. Ravens

There’s no doubting the role Demario Davis plays as a leader for the New Orleans Saints. The veteran linebacker took the torch from Drew Brees in delivering a weekly pregame speech to his huddled teammates, and he made the most of the opportunity to address his team before Monday night’s prime-time game with the Baltimore Ravens.

“Play as one,” Davis boomed to the Saints, emphasizing what’s been a key issue for them on the year so far. For the first few months, we weren’t seeing that typical rally to the football that defined excellent defensive play from New Orleans in recent years. The defenders were too slow to mob together and stop gains short as a group, putting too many individuals in tough position in the open field.

They improved on that last week against the Las Vegas Raiders after taking some extra time during the mini-bye after a Thursday night game to reflect and regroup, and the early returns against Baltimore were encouraging. The Saints defense forced a punt out of the first Ravens possession. Let’s see if they can keep it up.

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Offense coming back to life: 10 takeaways from Saints-Packers practice on Aug. 17

Chris Olave, Lucas Krull, and the Saints offense looked to get back into rhythm during the second day of joint practices with the Packers. 10 takeaways, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

The defenses of the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers will continue to be the topic of major conversation when it comes to the joint practices across the street from Lambeau Field. However, on Wednesday, while both offenses struggled for the majority of practice, some of the stars and big names found ways to show out. Here are our key takeaways from Wednesday’s joint practice with the Packers:

Michael Thomas dominates again in Day 13 of Saints training camp

Michael Thomas produces more highlights in Day 13 of Saints training camp and more important takeaways, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

The goal for New Orleans Saints training camp Day 13 was to watch some of the guys that will get real opportunities in this weekend’s Houston Texans matchup. But it’s hard to do that when a superstar just keeps making big plays. In front of the fans and in full pads, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas dazzled yet again. Here are some of his highlights and more key observations from today’s practice:

Saints’ Demario Davis primed to outperform his top-10 LB ranking from NFL personnel

Demario Davis is finally getting the recognition he deserves with a top-10 ranking as voted on by players, coaches, and executives, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

The role of the NFL linebacker has changed drastically changed across the NFL. With more and more two-linebacker sets, defenses across the league are asking their second-level players to be more involved in the passing game than die-hard football fans will remember from the Lawrence Taylors and Brian Urlachers of the world. New Orleans Saints star Demario Davis has navigated that evolution over the next decade by developing into a multifacted defender who can cover, rush the passer and make plays in the run game. All while being the quarterback of Dennis Allen’s defense.

His progress netted him the No. 6 spot on ESPN’s top-10 off-ball linebackers list ahead of the 2022 season. The rankings are determined by the votes of NFL players, coaches and executives. Davis’ ability to mold to the modern-day game did not go unnoticed. Here’s what NFL personnel shared with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler:

“He might start to decline this year, but he’s so damn smart that it almost doesn’t matter,” an NFL personnel evaluator said. “Does everything well.”

“He’s always been an exceptional athlete and worker, and just the maturity that comes from being in the position for so long and being in multiple schemes and the game evolving to more sub-based packages has allowed him to become the three-down prototype,” an NFC scout said.

Davis is expected to be accompanied this season by second-year pro Pete Werner. For the majority of the last two season, he’s worked next to current free agent Kwon Alexander. But Werner’s versatility as a multi-phase defender himself may have a positive impact on Davis. Not to mention the team arguably improved at safety with the offseason acquisitions of Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye. The ability to disguise across the field (and don’t forget C.J. Gardner-Johnson) could generate confusion and hesitation for opposing quarterbacks, opening time for the former Arkansas State Red Wolf to get after them or take advantage of their mistakes over the middle.

Davis’ production has not seen a decline since joining the Saints. He’s racked up over 100 tackles in each of the last four years since arriving in 2018. He’s also produced at a level that no defender across the league has during that span as well.

With his ability to impact that game several different ways on defense, his willingness to continue to evolve with the game, and a strong supporting cast. Davis is primed to outplay his No. 6 ranking in 2022.


Watch: Demario Davis leads the Saints pregame huddle in Week 17

Watch: Demario Davis leads the Saints pregame huddle in Week 17

He’s back: linebacker Demario Davis returned to the New Orleans Saints after missing last week’s game on the COVID-19 reserve list and immediately made an impact, resuming his leadership role prior to kickoff with the Carolina Panthers. Davis addressed his huddled teammates from their home end zone at the Caesars Superdome.

These weekly pregame speeches have been one of the longest-enduring traditions in the Sean Payton era, with Drew Brees passing the torch off to Davis in his later years and Cameron Jordan filling in for him in Week 16. Davis remains one of the best linebackers in the game today, no matter what the obsolete Pro Bowl roster might tell you, but his strengths as a leader are only part of what’s made him such an effective pickup for New Orleans. He’s a game-changing talent on the field, too.