Packers preseason 2017: Trevor Davis needs to be mistake-free for rest of August

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 10: Trevor Davis
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 10: Trevor Davis /

Nearly two weeks ago, many had wide receiver Trevor Davis all but written in as a lock to make the Green Bay Packers 53-man roster.

The second-year pass catcher not only made a strong case to be the team’s punt return man after scoring on a 68-yard return against the Philadelphia Eagles in their first game of the preseason, but he’s impressed the coaching staff by showing up this year with improvements both physical and mental.

Davis has wowed everybody with his speed throughout training camp, but he took a step back in Washington last Saturday when he fumbled a kick return early in the game.

“That’s completely unacceptable of me to drop a punt,” Davis said earlier this week, via Jason Wilde of the State Journal. “That’s a huge play, a huge momentum shift. It just can’t happen.”

With Randall Cobb vying for the starting returner job, and a considerable number of young talented receivers competing for a limited number of roster spots, there is little room for error on Davis’ part.

Davis’ bad week continued Wednesday when he fumbled during practice.

Wednesday’s practice wasn’t a complete downer for Davis, however. In what may be representative of his time in Green Bay, the practice featured the mistakes that have held him back as well as a display of the talent and speed he’s capable of. Later in the practice, Davis caught a long ball from Aaron Rodgers over corner Lenzy Pipkins for a touchdown.

Davis does have a few things working for him. One is that speed (he ran a 4.42 at the combine last year). He’s fast. Really fast. He’s got big hands and has put on weight over the offseason to better align his body frame with that of an NFL receiver. He certainly has the tools to become a success in the league.

And though Cobb has been open about wanting to win the return job, head coach Mike McCarthy wants to make it a point to get him more involved in the offense again. Cobb has also not had a full healthy year since 2014, so that may factor into the team’s decision for the position as well.

The problem for Davis is that McCarthy will bench talent for mistakes, as he did to Davis himself last year. Davis returned nine punts in 2016 for 115 yards (including one return for 55 yards against Atlanta). But he fumbled a return in a game against Tennessee – and didn’t see punt return duties for the remainder of the year.

And with the Packers looking to sort out a positional battle between a talented group of receivers for only a few spots, McCarthy may not be too patient with Davis.

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Davis is likely still in the forefront for the return job at this point. He doesn’t need to wow anybody Saturday in Denver against the Broncos or for the rest of the preseason for that matter, but he’ll need to be free of those mistakes.

Green Bay knows what he’s capable of. Now they need to see that he could truly put the errors behind him.