When you make a mistake, you should try to correct it and learn from it. Everyone is taught that at an early age.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis took that to heart after muffing a punt in the loss to the Tennessee Titans last season and lost the return job in the process. To make amends, Davis recorded video of him catching punts and sent them to special teams coordinator Ron Zook. The coach said no one had ever done that in his career.
Zook also acknowledged Davis' potential as a returner. "The guy's got some talent. He's a special dude," said Zook while clarifying that it's ultimately head coach Mike McCarthy's call on who will be fielding kicks.
Davis clearly wants the job back, so what are his chances of taking back not one but perhaps both return jobs?
With Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery listed on the Packers' depth chart as the punt and kick returners respectively — dating back to last year — there is a clear opportunity for Davis to step up and lay claim to the job.
Montgomery is now the starting running back and it's highly unlikely McCarthy will continue to allow him to return kicks. Cobb is by no means the fastest guy on the team anymore and the Packers really shouldn't have to risk one of their top three receivers on special teams duty.
That brings us to Davis. With a crowded wide receiver room, his best chance at making the roster might be as a returner. A lot of people will point to Jeff Janis as the obvious replacement as a returner, but Davis ran an identical 40 yard time as Janis (4.42) and is arguably a better receiver despite being more raw. Janis' struggles on offense have been well documented, while receivers coach Luke Getsy was pleased with how Davis was developing as a pass catcher.
"(Davis) has made big improvements this offseason," Getsy said. "Both his approach and how fast he's picked up on things."
That could mean Janis' odds of making the roster rely on his special teams play, while Davis' will rely on his receiving ability.
With such a deep wide receiver room, Davis is the best choice for the returner job. There is enough depth in front of him that he can focus on return work while continuing to develop as a receiver.
This very well could spell doom for Janis.
He had his chance to prove himself as a wide receiver and has failed to do so, one Hail Mary catch and some gimmick plays aside. He has no route discipline and has yet to earn the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He also has shown little as a returner. Janis is a great gunner but not so good at getting yards when he has the ball.
Davis meanwhile does need work as a receiver, but that may be more of a product of the basic offense he played in at Cal. A second year in the Green Bay offense will do him wonders, and McCarthy regularly speaks of wanting to see players make the first year to second year jump in performance.
With the preseason upon us, it's now Davis' time to show he has made or can make that jump. Davis has the speed and ability to make plays at the returner position. It's up to him to show it as training camp and the preseason progress.
The Packers have lacked a spark in the return game since Desmond Howard was on the roster way back in 1996. Davis may not meet those lofty expectations, but fans and coaches alike are hoping he can help elevate the Packers' special teams to new heights.