Last year, Knile Davis stepped up and became a savior in the early portion of the schedule. With Jamaal Charles coming along with a high-ankle sprain, Davis saw a combined 70 carries against the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, gaining 318 yards.
Then, after sustained success, Davis garnered only 63 carries for 142 yards over the final 12 games, becoming nothing more than an afterthought on offense. Davis did contribute in other ways, though, scoring on a kickoff return against the St. Louis Rams to open the second half.
So, with Charles entering the latter stages of his 20s, will Davis begin to lighten the load?
Davis’ main problem is that he doesn’t use his speed. At 5’10” and 227 pounds, Davis ran a 4.37 40-yard dash coming out of the University of Arkansas before the 2013 NFL Draft. For comparison, Charles ran a 40-yard dash of 4.36 seconds. Davis has shown that breakaway speed in the NFL, both on kickoff returns and offensively, showcased on a 70-yard touchdown catch against the Oakland Raiders in December.
However, when you watch tape of Davis, he fails to hit the hole with authority. This is especially frustrating because his speed, coupled with his size, is a deadly combination. Few defensive backs are bringing him down in a 1-on-1 situation, and linebackers don’t have the speed and wiggle to keep him contained. Davis must learn to trust his speed instead of worrying about finding the hole to create a big play. His talent can do that by itself.
On the positive side, Davis has the ability to become a versatile weapon. If Andy Reid and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy can convince Davis to dance a little less, Charles and Davis could be a formidable tandem.
My goal for the duo is 1,800 rushing yards between them in 2015. Are you taking the over/under?