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VOL. 43 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 16, 2019

Davis' mantra for new season: "I've got to get open''

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Tennessee Titans' wide receiver Corey Davis, 84, talks with quarterback Marcus Mariota during NFL training camp in late July in Nashville.  

-- Mark Humphrey/Ap

The Tennessee Titans are banking that 2019 will be the year that Corey Davis becomes what is known in league circles as a “WR1.”

Or in layman’s terms – a No. 1 wide receiver. One that makes his quarterback better, transforms a passing attack and keeps opposing defensive coordinators up late scheming ways to stop him.

As most Titans fans know, the team hasn’t had one of those in quite some time.

But with the way he played in the week of training camp with a highlight reel play in virtually every practice, Davis, the fifth pick overall in the 2017 draft, is showing signs of becoming that guy.

The third-year pro from Western Michigan, who has battled his share of nagging injuries, says his confidence is in the right place coming into this season.

“Mentally and physically I’ve got my confidence level (up). (When you) consistently come out here and work on your craft and kind of perfect it, you’re going to naturally get better. That’s all I’m trying to do is come out here each day and try to get better,” Davis says.

“I’m never going to be satisfied. We’ve made some plays, but we’ve got to keep making them.”

Many times when a WR1 comes to mind, not only does talent play a vital part, but so does personality – sometimes even to the point of distraction.

With Davis, though, there is absolutely no diva in his game. You won’t find Corey Davis threatening to retire because he doesn’t like his helmet. He won’t be doing sit-ups in his driveway as he holds a press conference, and he won’t be changing his name to “Ocho Quatro” anytime soon.

In fact, quite the opposite. There are those who wonder if the low-key Davis needs to be more vocal and more demonstrative in his actions on and off the field.

But Davis, who comes to camp craving more consistency in his game, is far from the type to call out his quarterback or offensive coordinator if he doesn’t get enough targets on a Sunday.

“My personality is I’m not going to be a diva. I’m not going to be a guy who goes out there and whines that I’m not getting the ball. If I’m not getting the ball, that’s my fault. I’ve got to get open,” Davis adds. “Me and the quarterback have got to get on the same page, and that’s what we’re working on here.”

Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who drafted Davis, is fine with his receiver’s low-key personality just as it is. In scouting Davis, he watched more of how he worked than how he reacted.

“It starts with the on-field evaluation. Do they get open, do they catch, do they block. You get to know the player, and you talk to the coaches that have worked with him for three or four years in college. What does he bring to practice every day? Does he show up ready to work?” Robinson explains.

“I want guys to be into practice. They don’t necessarily have to be the most vocal, but are they competing and going hard? Corey is a guy that when he clocks into work every day out here, he may not be the most vocal guy, but he’s grinding and trying to make plays.”

And in the Titans’ run-based offense, he knows that in order to get his opportunities, he has to buy into the team concept, which also includes blocking. Last season, the Titans rated Davis as their best blocking wide receiver, and his efforts can be seen easily on Derrick Henry’s historic 99-yard TD run last year against Jacksonville.

“I don’t think of myself as a stereotypical receiver. I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can to help the team. If that’s going in there and blocking and helping to dig out the safety, I’m going to do it,” Davis says.

But just because Davis is a mellow kind of personality, he doesn’t want people to think that he is shy or not up for a challenge once the game begins.

“There’s a mentality when you come out here and cross these white lines, it’s a whole different mentality. The defense is out here trying to make a check too and doing the same thing we are – trying to win. So you’ve got to definitely change your mindset,” he says.

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