Trevor Davis makes triumphant return to Packers' return game

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Trevor Davis sent in videos of himself catching punts this summer to show Green Bay Packers special teams coach Ron Zook that he was ready for another crack at the job he fumbled away last season.

As much as that impressed Zook, what Davis did in the preseason opener trumped anything the second-year receiver could have done this offseason.

The speedy Davis turned on his jets and returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of Thursday's 24-9 win against the Philadelphia Eagles. In one play, Davis not only helped erase the memory of the muffed punt in Tennessee last November that cost him the return job but also might have won the job to start this season.

"It felt great," Davis said. "I've been waiting on it for a long time. Just seeing the work [this offseason] work out, and it was really a testament to Zook and the return team that we have. We've been working on it a lot because we knew we had a chance. They executed it perfectly."

Davis credited second-year cornerback Josh Hawkins, among others, for helping set up the return. It was Hawkins, one of Davis' blockers, who shouted out some instructions as the ball was in the air.

"I heard Hawk say something to me. I'm pretty sure he said, 'catch it,'" Davis said. "I was like OK, and I moved to the right because I knew it was the right gunner who was going to come into my hip, went to the right and everybody made their blocks perfectly."

All Davis had to do was beat punter Donnie Jones, and if perhaps the fastest player on the Packers' roster couldn't do that, well, he knew the consequences that would follow.

"You're just like, 'I don't want to get caught by a punter,'" Davis said. "That's the one thing going through your head. So you're just trying to pick up those knees and get past him. Luckily I did, so I don't have to hear any jokes from my teammates."

Davis didn't do anything as a receiver -- he didn't catch either of his targets -- and watched fellow young receivers Jeff Janis, DeAngelo Yancey and Michael Clark all make big plays. But he might have done enough in the return game -- he also had a 26-yard punt return -- to solidify his spot on the roster.

"We were able to set the wall and Trevor, he did an outstanding job, not only getting vertical but finishing it when he bounced outside and made the punter miss and scored a touchdown," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Well-executed play and a great return."

Now the Packers might not have to use one of their top receivers, Randall Cobb, on punt returns. Although Cobb has lobbied for more reps in the return game, the Packers might be wise to use Davis instead.

"It's a competition," said Davis, who averaged 12.8 yards per punt return last season before he lost the job. "Anything can happen the next week or the week after that, so I don't really focus on this as this is one preseason game and now I locked in a job. It's mainly just a stepping stone -- one stepping stone after another."

Davis' return was part of a banner day for Zook's special teams, which appeared to solve the field goal operation woes of last week and got a solid performance from rookie punter Justin Vogel (who averaged 43.5 net yards and placed five of his six kicks inside the 20).