Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer 65d

New York Jets' Corey Davis faces former team with something to prove

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Corey Davis spent the past two seasons as the WR2 for the Tennessee Titans, playing Robin to A.J. Brown's Batman. He did well in the role, but when his contract expired last offseason, he got the Mr. Freeze treatment from the Titans' front office. (Younger folks can Google the "Batman" references.)

He wasn't offered a new contract, and that irked him.

"A little bit, I'm not going to lie to you -- a little bit," Davis said Wednesday.

Davis faces his former team Sunday at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS) and, although he insisted redemption isn't on his mind, this is an opportunity to prove to the Titans they made a mistake.

The Jets gave Davis a three-year, $37.5 million contract in free agency because they believe he can be a lead receiver. The early results have been mixed, as Davis learns to adjust to the WR1 role. Without a proven receiver on the other side, he's the focal point for opposing defenses. He acknowledged the difference.

"Honestly, yeah," he said. "There's a lot more weapons (in Tennessee), so if you focus on one guy, it's going to go to the other guy. It has been a little different here. Obviously, I'm the main focus point. We have to find ways, which the coaches do, to create space for me and get me the ball and move me around.

"We've got other guys who can do really good things as well. Yeah, it has been a little different, but we're adjusting pretty well."

But are they?

In Week 1, Davis was a major factor, catching two touchdown passes against the Carolina Panthers. In Week 2, the New England Patriots neutralized him and the offense came to a screeching halt. In Week 3, it was more of the same. He got a season-high 10 targets against the Denver Broncos, but there was little production (five catches for 41 yards).

You don't need a Ph.D. in passing offense to figure it out: When Davis and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson are clicking, the offense can function at a respectable level. When they're not, cover your eyes.

"He's probably getting a little more attention," offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. "He had that first game, and he had a good preseason rapport with Zach. Obviously, all defensive coordinators and teams will read on that."

Davis, drafted fifth overall by the Titans in 2017, isn't in Nashville anymore. He had it good with Brown, one of the league's top young receivers.

When he and Brown were on the field at the same time last season, which was the majority of the snaps, Davis averaged 16.1 yards per reception, with 53 catches and four touchdowns. When it was just Davis on the field, his average was 11.0, with 12 catches and one touchdown -- a smaller sample size but still telling.

"I love Corey," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "He's an awesome dude. Loved playing with him. [He] made some huge plays for us here in the past couple of years."

In New York, Davis is feeling the effects of Wilson's inconsistency as well as the lack of a reliable No. 2 option. He welcomes the added pressure of being The Guy, admitting sometimes that creeps into his thoughts.

"I do hold myself to a higher standard," said Davis, comparing his current situation to his Tennessee days. "I understand we have a different team. We're a younger team. I know the boys are leaning on me a little bit more than in my past. That's something I want, that's something I'm ready for. We just have to do a better job. I have to do a better job of helping those guys out."

Welcome to Gotham City.

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