The tight end had a breakout season in 2009, catching 48 passes for 509 yards and six touchdowns as he started 10 games after Chris Cooley’s season ended early with a broken ankle.
Going into the 2010 season, we heard a lot about the team taking advantage of their newly found weapon by pairing him with Cooley on two tight end sets. Visions of Davis running free through secondaries danced through fans’ heads.
But things did not quite work that way. Davis did not completely disappear as he played in all 16 games and about 36 percent of the offensive plays. But he caught just 21 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
Certainly, some of Davis’ issues could be traced to an offense that was generally ineffective. But Davis decided to control what he can control.
He lost 12 pounds, getting down to 242. And he changed his jersey number to 83, the number he wore at USC.
The most significant change, however, may be one that is not visible. “I’m going to change everything about myself, become a student of the game,” he said.
What did the student have for study materials during the NFL lockout?
“I had old film, that I had from last season, look at stuff I used to do, critiquing stuff so I can play with the routes a little bit more, play with the timing of it,” Davis said.
So what is the goal of the film study?
“I want to be perfect. That’s what is is, being a perfectionist. Every time you get out there you want to have a chance to make a play,” he said.
Natural talent can get you a long way in college and maybe for a stretch of games in the NFL. But it appears that Davis has discovered that if a player wants to have a successful NFL career, dedication to the craft and having a desire to be a perfectionist are necessities.
This will be a pivotal year for Davis, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract. It appears that he wants to make the most of it.