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Green and Bold: It's Trevor Davis' Time to Shine

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Green and Bold: It's Trevor Davis' Time to Shine

The Green Bay Packers always look for their players to make significant strides in their sophomore seasons, and heading into his second season, 2016 fifth-round selection Trevor Davis is doing everything right. 

By now, it's become clear that if a Packers wideout wants to get targets on the field, there's one person he had better impress. No, it's not head coach Mike McCarthy, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 

And after three weeks of training camp and the first preseason game of the year, it's clear that Davis has caught Rodgers' attention in the most positive way. 

Rodgers offered unprompted praise for Davis in the locker room after practice on Tuesday. 

Hands are one of the most important intangibles for Packers wide receivers; drops will not be tolerated. Part of what makes Rodgers so special are the plays that he extends, throwing across his body off his back foot. That keeps plays alive all right, but they're not always the prettiest balls. The Packers need weapons Rodgers can trust to bring those balls in...and keep them out of the hands of defenders. 

But for Davis this offseason, it was all about making himself too valuable to cut. One of the easiest ways for wide receivers to do just that is to shine on special teams, and that's exactly what Davis has been doing through one preseason game. 

In preseason Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Davis returned a punt for a touchdown...to the tune of 68 yards. 

That certainly made special teams coordinator Ron Zook happy. The Packers had been weighing the idea of getting Randall Cobb more involved in the return game again, but if Davis can keep this up, why bother?

It's an example of Davis putting his money where his mouth is. This offseason, he put on five pounds of muscle and sent videos of himself returning punts to Zook in order to make his case for returns. 

Some will remember Davis' muffed punt against the Tennessee Titans last season, but Zook maintains that a penalty should have been called on that play, and that it wasn't Davis' fault. 

The 6'1", 188-pound wideout, who ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash among all players at his position group at the 2016 NFL Combine, displayed a second level of speed on his 68-punt return that is very, very special. Coaches love that, because unlike technique or route concepts, speed is inherent, not teachable. 

While that speed will certainly come in handy on returns, there are ways that McCarthy and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett can utilize it to their advantage in different offensive looks featuring Davis, as well. 

As for the roster battle at wide receiver, there are currently 12 players at the position on the offseason roster. We can assume that the Packers will keep six, maybe seven receivers; last season, they were the only team in the league to have seven wideouts on the initial 53-man roster. But six is more likely. 

Jordy Nelson, Cobb, Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and DeAngelo Yancey are likely locks, the latter by virtue of being a drafted rookie, a type of player that Ted Thompson doesn't often cut after camp. With rookie Malachi Dupre's injury status up in the air, that leaves one or two roster spots open for Jeff Janis, Davis, Michael Clark, Montay Crockett, Max McCaffrey, and Colby Pearson to battle for. 

In all likelihood, Janis and Davis won't both find themselves on the Packers' opening-day roster. 

There are still three preseason games left, but it certainly seems that Davis locked down a position with his impressive performance against the Eagles, which only adds to his body of outstanding work during training camp this summer working with the first- and second-team offense. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (24) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

sonomaca's picture

I'd they cut McCaffery, he's probably on his way to NE, Arizona, or Detroit. Got t

TheVOR's picture

Cutting McCaffery would be a huge Gaff, he's the most Legit WR of the young guys. Davis has been very unimpressive as a WR. The question around Davis is can he make the team as a kick returner, because he's not a WR. I view Rodgers statements as "The Dreaded Vote Of Confidence" because there is a reason he rarely see's ball, and when he does it's a nothing end. Not a Fan of Davis. McCaffery? Ya, I'm a fan.

sonomaca's picture

I'd worry about Clark too. Don't see that kind of size and leaping ability everyday. Dupre can be IR'd.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

This team is loaded on offense. See what draft and develop plus mindful free agancy can do?

Nerd's picture

What's so great about Geronimo?

To me, Cobb gets to stay one more year, but he needs to prove he belongs.

sonomaca's picture

Cap hit too big on Cobb. However, he's gone after this year.

They'll keep every young receiver who might end up a one, two, or three. Why? Because then they might not have to pay Adams! Can let him go if you have replacements.

GBPDUKE's picture

Slightly off subject, with all the injuries, when are they going to raise the number of players on a team from 53 to say 55 or even 60 players?

stockholder's picture

Can't see Davis being a good gunner. Will only get hurt with cheap shots. I believe he'll make this club as a punt returner. ( And he's a good insurance policy against Cobb and Adams leaving. )

cuervo's picture

"In all likelihood, Janis and Davis won't both find themselves on the Packers' opening-day roster."

I'd take that bet (assuming no injuries). Davis seems like he'll be the punt returner, and there is no way they will take one of, if not the best gunner (Janis) in the NFL off the team so they can stash a 6th reciever that MAYBE one day will turn into something worthwhile, and will contribute nothing this year.

No team will sign Clark, a player with 1 year of minor college ball to their 53 man roster....to think that could happen is pure silliness (ok, maybe the Browns would).

Once we and every other team cuts their players, it will be a scramble to get your guys on the practice squad...but unless some other team is going to promote them to their 53 man roster, we should be able to keep anyone that we think we should.

Spock's picture

cuervo, All valid points, especially your last paragraph. That 'one and only' cut down should be one heck of a circus! There will be a lot of journalist "pulling an all-nighter" to cover that!!
edit: Also, Janis is being praised for his training camp at WR. Will the Janis train get back on the tracks?

cuervo's picture

Janis is, what he is...the epitome of a great 5th or 6th reciever on a team. he adds tremendous value on special teams and in a pinch can play some reciever....that's what most teams in the NFL would die for their 5th or 6th reciever to be. People have to stop thinking all of these guys are going to be the next Jordy...they aren't.

Spock's picture

cuervo, Yeah that was tongue in cheek. I guess I should have included a tilde (~). I just think it's hilarious that he's suddenly getting praised at WIDE RECEIVER (in 3 things video by Larry McCarron of all people), LOL.

RCPackerFan's picture

'No team will sign Clark, a player with 1 year of minor college ball to their 53 man roster....to think that could happen is pure silliness (ok, maybe the Browns would).'

Probably true. But did anyone think Brock Osweiler was worth 70 million dollars either?

Jonathan Spader's picture

Denver and the Texans did. The Browns thought eating his contract was worth the draft picks.

Bearmeat's picture

That was hilarious.

It was funny to watch Bill O'Brian's rage machine kick in on TV at Brock's pouty face all fall.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Sport broadcasters were praising the Texans for poaching Osweiller from the Broncos. They bragged about his height and athleticism and learning from Peyton Manning. God bless hindsight.

RCPackerFan's picture

Well to be honest. I think the Texans did. I think Denver was happy to let him go.

PatrickGB's picture

Max has been catching everything in camp. That has to mean something. If he can be something on special teams then I can see keeping him over Janis! Davis is still too light in the pants to be used as a gunner and I'd like to see him be better getting off the los to be considered a true WR. However, he can be a good bottom of the roster WR with time and experience.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Davis has been assigned 1 drop in 7 targets last season. He had a 42.9% catch rate. He has 2 fumbles in 15 touches. He has muffed 2 punts in practice during this TC. It is a small sample size, but it is likely that he was benched last season due to his hands.

He needs to show dynamism as a PR, perhaps as a KR, and at least something as a WR, and also show improved ball security and hands. He could make the 2nd year leap still. We could really use a vertical threat with speed.

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/stats?season=2016&week=100&category=RECEIVI...

sonomaca's picture

Janis can return kickoffs and is their best gunner. They can also use him on offense in a pinch. He's probably staying, but I really wouldn't classify him as a receiver.

Kubyskins12's picture

I don't know why people get so down on Janis and to say I wouldn't classify him as a receiver is just ridiculous . I'm pretty sure every time Janis has had opportunity in a preseason game or a regular season game when given some snaps his pretty much always make some kind of impactful play on offense either on the end around or in the playoff game making couple spectacular catches or in the Atlanta game last year he had a couple catches and caught a touchdown when given the opportunities he seems to make plays. Plus he's a great special-teams player he may not ever being number 1-2 or even three receiver but he's a good fourth or fifth guy that's reliable on special teams.

PatrickGB's picture

Kuby, people are down on Janis because he broke our hearts. He had so much potential but did not live up to it. Instead he has found a role on special teams. On ST he is big fast and fearless. Faster than LBs, TEs and FB,s and stronger than DBs and most WRS. He is fearless and evasive as a gunner. Besides if he gets injured it's no big loss to the starters. He is what he is and I am ok with that. However, if somebody else can step into his role, I am ok with that too. Besides, he is cheap and that's a good thing.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Jarett Bush was on the Packers 53 for years as a ST player. Goodson has lasted this long due mainly to his ST contributions. Janis was drafted in the 7th round the same round the Packers found hidden gem Donald Driver. His testing measurables compared him to Julio Jones. Expectations like Patrick eluded to are what led to people being down on Janis.

Spock's picture

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