GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Trevor Davis has been through ups and downs before -- both in college and last season as a rookie. The Green Bay Packers wide receiver and punt returner believes those lessons will allow him to get past his fumble in Saturday night’s win over the Washington Redskins and earn the Packers’ punt-return job once and for all.
“I’ve learned that sometimes your emotions can get the best of you and you do think about things [too much],” Davis said Sunday, one day after he muffed the first punt of the game against Washington, setting up a Redskins field goal. “You go through things and you learn in life how to put things behind you. This is a game of consistency. You can’t go out there worrying about the last play.
“You’ve got to able to put things behind you, no matter if you score a touchdown or drop a punt.”
Through two preseason games, Davis has now done both.
After the Packers’ preseason opener, it appeared Davis was well on his way to being the Packers’ punt returner. Not only did he deliver a 68-yard touchdown on one return, he also added a 26-yarder later in Green Bay’s 24-9 victory over Philadelphia. It was a convincing argument from a player so desperate for the job that he sent special teams coordinator Ron Zook videos of him catching punts during the offseason break.
Now, though, the Packers have to consider other options, whether it’s veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb, who has lobbied for the job he held as a rookie in 2011 and off and on since, or one of the younger receivers on the Packers’ roster. Max McCaffrey handled four punts after Davis caught a second one cleanly after his fumble.
“Honestly, I made sure I had all that stuff out of the way [mentally] before I went back out there,” Davis said of his thought process before his second catch. “Just talking to myself, ‘You know, you’ve been doing this since high school. Just go out there and catch the punt. No need to worry about the fact you dropped the last one.’ Because you can’t go out there with butterflies, you can’t go out there worrying. You have to go out there and do what you practice every single day. Just put it behind you.”
That’s what the touchdown in the opener was supposed to have done for Davis after last year. He’d shown his explosiveness as a punt returner with a 25-yard return against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 16 and a 55-yarder against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 30. But two weeks later, Davis muffed a punt in what would end up being a 47-25 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 13. And he was never heard from again on returns.
This time, he’s hoping he has ample opportunity to redeem himself.
“I just know how good I am and I know how good I can be. And that’s not what I am,” Davis said. “It’s OK to be mad about it in the moment, but after that you know you have to get back out there and just keep going. Just like the touchdown, it’s behind me. It doesn’t really matter anymore. Fumble, touchdown, whatever, you have to move on to the next play and understand that you’re only as good as your last play. So I definitely have to pick it up.
“That’s a big momentum swing. The biggest thing on punt return isn’t the fact of getting yards, it’s being able to secure the catch. That’s the main thing first. That’s a big play and that’s a big play for [the other] team. So I cannot let that happen.
“In my mind and in everyone’s, I want everyone understanding that I’m going to be back there and everyone will be comfortable that I’m back there and they’ll know that I’ll be able to secure every catch. That’s completely unacceptable of me to drop a punt. That’s a huge play, a huge momentum shift. It just can’t happen.”
Editor’s note: Jason Wilde covers the Green Bay Packers for ESPN Wisconsin and hosts Wilde & Tausch with former Packers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays on ESPN Milwaukee and ESPN Madison.