Corey Davis proving his worth to Titans ahead of critical offseason

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Potential and consistency are two words that are frequently mentioned when discussing Tennessee Titans fourth-year wide receiver Corey Davis. It was Davis' potential that inspired the Titans to select the wideout from Central Michigan with the No. 5 pick in the 2016 draft. That top-5 label will follow Davis for the rest of his career.

But it's his inconsistency that led to Tennessee not picking up his fifth-year option in the spring -- something Davis has worked to change this season.

Coming into the 2020 campaign, Davis had two 100-yard receiving games and six touchdown receptions over the first three years of his career. He also added three touchdown receptions in the postseason.

This year, Davis has become a more consistent pass-catcher. He has already posted two 100-yard receiving games to match his career total. Through five games, Davis has 29 receptions for 369 yards and three touchdowns. At 25 years old, there should be plenty of stellar football ahead. The evaluation process continues when Davis faces his hometown team, the Chicago Bears (1 p.m. ET, Fox), for the first time.

Davis' 74% catch rate on 39 targets is an example of how reliable he has become for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has looked to Davis 10 times in each of the past two games. According to NFL NextGen Stats, Davis has zero drops this season.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound wide receiver is catching the ball with more confidence this season.

"To me, the confidence comes from your preparation," Davis said.

The preparation that Davis is referring to happens in practice, during which wide receivers coach Rob Moore intensely focuses on details such as getting proper releases off the line and setting cornerbacks up in their routes. As a former NFL wideout, Moore knows a few tricks of the trade and comes up with drills to develop skills.

Both Moore and head coach Mike Vrabel will at times put on boxing gloves and punch at the football while the receivers run with it to work on ball security. The results from the various coaching procedures are starting to show.

Davis led the Titans with eight receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The only better game of Davis' career? A nine-catch, 161-yard effort against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 30, 2018.

The game against the Bengals showcased Davis' improved ability to make contested catches and be a more reliable pass-catcher for his quarterback.

"We always can trust Corey. Corey has great play strength and ability to make those contested catches," Vrabel said.

Davis' best play against the Bengals was a spectacular, 12-yard touchdown catch just beyond the front pylon on an out-breaking route. Tannehill threw the pass slightly over Davis' head, but he reached up and grabbed the ball before sticking the landing in bounds.

"I thought that was a great throw and catch in the end zone. Great body control by Corey, and great throw by Ryan," Vrabel said of the play.

The confidence that Davis is playing with even showed after the touchdown grab. The official initially signaled that the play was incomplete. Davis calmly got up and corrected the official, telling him to look at the big screen.

It's an example of the swagger Davis has this season that had been missing in recent years. The plays he is putting on film and the way he is fitting into offensive coordinator Arthur Smith's scheme could have the Titans considering how they can keep Davis beyond this season.