The former Carolina Panthers back was so giddy this morning for the start of preseason that he rolled into Flowery Branch an hour early at 8 a.m., even though the team didn’t have to report to the field until 9 a.m.
He also did it in style:
“It’s really exciting. It’s really a dream to be home. I mean, I’m here early so that speaks for it a lot,” Davis told the AJC.
Davis, 28, is a Georgia native who attended Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain. It’s safe to say, he’s happy to be back home.
The Falcons have been in a drought when it comes to their ground game and finished last season ranked 27th across the league after totaling just over 1,500 yards in rushing yards.
Davis Could Be On Tap for a Breakout Season
Davis has never really been in the NFL spotlight since being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.
He had a big shot last season after he stepped up for the injured Christian McCaffrey in Carolina and rushed for a career-high 642 yards and six touchdowns on 165 carries in 15 games (12 starts).
He enters Falcons training camp as the expected No. 1 running back with a new head coach who loves to run the ball. Of course, the Falcons will have to fix their offensive line for Davis to get more action, but he’s in a perfect position to post some much higher numbers under Arthur Smith.
While winning is nearly everything, so is building chemistry with his teammates, which Davis has done a good job with over the summer.
He and vetted quarterback Matt Ryan have already developed a strong bond heading into training camp.
“The relationship is really good between me and Matt. He’s a veteran guy. He knows what to look for. Really smart out there on the field. Anytime that you have a smart quarterback like Matt, that’s always a plus.”
Ryan is certainly a step up from 28-year-old Teddy Bridgewater, who led the Panthers last season.
Davis doesn’t know the exact game plan yet in Atlanta with Smith, but he knows his own game plan.
“I just want to come out and win. I (am not) really too much pressed for the stats or whatever that comes with. I’m just here to try to make the team better, my teammates better. I just want to win. That’s all that matters.”
Davis has been working out harder than ever this offseason and you can physically see it in his mammoth quads that went viral and in a pilates video he posted on Monday.
The Offensive Line Will Need to Step Up
The Falcons’ ground game was non-existent last year, averaging 3.7 yards per carry on over 409 attempts.
But can’t put all of the blame on the Falcons’ running backs last season, because it goes much deeper than that––the offensive line.
Whoever takes over Alex Mack’s starting job at center and whoever ends up filling the left guard position will be the major keys to an effective run game.
Second-year rookie Matt Hennessey should start at center.
However, the left guard position remains a huge question mark since projected starter Matt Gono is out indefinitely after having surgery for an undisclosed injury. The competition will be hot this offseason between Josh Andrews, Drew Dalman, and Jaylen Mayfield for the starting left guard spot.