ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Sometimes, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will sift through the piles of memories of roughly four decades worth of experience in the NFL and come up with a comparison that will raise an eyebrow or two.
Thursday was one of those days when Phillips discussed linebacker Todd Davis.
“He may not seem like it off the field, but he’s really an intense guy," Phillips said after Thursday’s practice. “I don’t know if I’ve been around – well I was around [Chris] Spielman at Buffalo – but [Davis] reminds me of the same kind of temperament. He’s intense every play on the field."
Spielman, who was always known as one of the league’s most intense and prepared players, played 10 seasons in the NFL, including 1996 and 1997, when Phillips was the Buffalo Bills’ defensive coordinator.
Davis was asked about the comparison Thursday.
“Very intense," Davis said. “A comparison like that is a great blessing. To be compared to someone held in that, high intensity, as a great guy, is good."
Davis currently is the lead candidate to replace the departed Danny Trevathan – he signed with the Chicago Bears – at inside linebacker in the Broncos’ 3-4 look. At 230 pounds, Davis isn’t as big as the 247-pound Spielman was during his playing career, but Phillips, as well as several of Davis’ teammates have lauded Davis’ attention to detail and his drive to get it right during practice.
A quiet, mild-mannered sort in his off-the-field interviews, Davis has carved out a niche with the Broncos since the Broncos claimed him off waivers from the New Orleans Saints in November of the 2014 season.
Davis started two games for the Broncos last season and is competing with Corey Nelson for a starting spot. Before he had been claimed by the Broncos in 2014, Davis was waived three times by the Saints in that season as New Orleans had repeatedly moved him back and forth between the active roster and practice squad.
Davis went undrafted in 2014.
“It was my dream to be in this position," Davis said.