Demario Davis says he admired the Dawg Pound from afar during his four seasons with the New York Jets.
On Thursday, he'll get his first opportunity to embrace them as one of their own.
When ClevelandBrowns.com sat down with the veteran linebacker Tuesday, the excitement was already at a high level. We asked him 10 burning questions leading into the Browns' preseason home opener against the Falcons.
CB.com: Cleveland and Berea feel like home yet?
Davis: It's a wonderful environment. It's a lot of energy, a lot of good people, a lot of great fans every day. It's fun, man. Training camp is a grind but I've enjoyed every bit of it.
CB.com: What's the training camp experience been like playing for a new team under Hue Jackson?
Davis: Hue has just challenged us to get better every day and just grind. That's kind of our identity is to grind and keep our head forward and taking steps downhill. I think the team has responded to the challenge. There have been intense practices, long meetings, but we understand what we want to be at the end of the season and we know what it's going to take. We've just been responding to the challenge and they've done a great job of taking care of us, making sure we have everything we need in terms of recovery and refueling between those practices and between those days. It's been a great experience.
CB.com: You had opportunities around the NFL when you entered free agency. What drew you to the Browns?
Davis: It was an opportunity. That's all you can really ask for. It was an opportunity for a lot of different people and a lot of different reasons. New head coach, new regime, new executive staff, new coordinators, new quarterback, new middle linebacker. It seemed like a great place and a great opportunity to start something and build something. It felt like a new era. I just wanted to be in a position for that and now I'm blessed to have the opportunity so I can jump on it.
CB.com: Looking back at what you saw from last week's preseason game, what was your takeaway from the defense's performance?
Davis: We played with a lot of intensity, a lot of guys running for the football. That's what we want to be. We want to be 11 dogs to the football. If we keep doing that, we'll be OK. We have to tighten up a little bit in the running game, have our eyes a little bit better in the pass game. All in all, we've just got to keep getting better each and every week.
CB.com: What was your impression of Carl Nassib, Emmanuel Ogbah and the rest of the rookies on defense?
Davis: Those young players are rising to the occasion. They have a great rookie class and those guys are playing well. Not just Nassib and Ogbah, but (Joe) Schobert is playing well, (Dominique) Alexander is playing well, (Derrick Kindred) is playing well, (Eric) Patterson had an interception. The rookie class on defense, all those guys are definitely answering a challenge.
CB.com: Do you have to change your leadership style when there are so many young players?
Davis: You don't really think about it. You have to think about what your job is. My job is to get everybody lined up, no matter who it is, whether it's 10 vets or 10 rookies. My job is to get them all lined up. Does it vary a little bit depending on who you're dealing with? Yeah, it does. That's why a responsibility is given to you and that's part of it. It's been cool. We've got a great group of young guys. They're young but they're eager to learn and they want to be great. When you have guys like that, it's going to be all right.
CB.com: What do you want to see from the defense by the end of the preseason?
Davis: We just want to maximize our potential each and every day. You've got to take it day by day. It's a long time until the end of the preseason. At practice you just want to be the best possible and make sure you get as much as you can out of the day. The next preseason game, we want to be as good as we can be. When that time comes, let's not look back with any regrets that we could have done this better or this better but we did everything we could in the moment to be where we want to be.
CB.com: What are your goals and goals for the team in 2016?
Davis: Those goals kind of vary as far as me. I just want to be the best player I can be doing whatever I need to do to put my team in the best position defensively. We want to be great. You've got to be great against the run, you've got to be great against the pass, you've got to be great at taking the ball away, you've got to be great at hitting the quarterback. If we can do those things, we'll be OK.
CB.com: How different is the second preseason game from the first?
Davis: The starters are going to play a little bit longer so you've got to go in knowing you're going to play a little bit longer. It's going to be closer to a real game. It's not going to be all basic level. They're going to start tossing in a few wrinkles on offense, a few wrinkles on defense. It's going to be more like a real game and you've got to treat it like that.
CB.com: And it's your first game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Davis: I'm excited, man. I'm excited being in front of those fans and excited to play in front of that Dawg Pound. I've always admired it from a distance and now I'm here.