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Fred Davis Is Much More Serious

Posted by Matt Terl on May 8, 2009 – 1:03 pm

Let’s be honest: last year didn’t work out quite the way Fred Davis wanted, right from the start. Between the whole oversleeping-his-alarm-clock-and-missing-a-practice thing and the three-receptions-for-27-yards-in-2008 thing, this was not the mark that the 2007 Mackey Award winner was hoping or expecting to make in the NFL.

In just a few short practices this offseason, Davis appears (to me) have completely turned things around. He’s looked fast and athletic in practices, and he’s appeared focused while working.

I talked to Davis about minicamp and the first week of OTAs, but first I talked to head coach Jim Zorn about if he had seen the same differences in Davis that I had.

“Oh, he’s very different than last year when he came in,” Zorn said. “More explosive. He looked powerful, caught the ball well.”

But Zorn didn’t agree with me that Davis’s speed had improved with this minicamp. “I’ll tell you where he improved his speed,” Zorn said, “was last year, as he started getting the offense and started trying to prove that he was a good player. He just made up his mind. He worked both on offense and on the show teams [acting as the opponents in practice], and he improved his suddenness, his speed, his awareness. I mean, he improved as a football player.”

So I went to the source and asked Davis himself if he was any faster.

Davis: “When you first come in — anybody, I mean — you don’t know the system, you don’t know how it is, you’re just running around with your head cut off. You make slower decisions. Now, once you know the offense a little more, you can make decisions a little faster and you can play a little faster. You can play your real speed. And that’s what I’m doing: playing at the speed I can play at.”

How’d you feel about the minicamp and OTAs?

Davis: “We got some good work in. Worked with the new tight end coach [Scott Wachenheim], got to get out there and run around a little bit.”

How is the new coach?

Davis: “He’s a good coach, you know. Good detail, every technique down, make sure we’re playing fast and perfect, so I like him.”

(As a side note, Chris Cooley also had good things to say about Wachenheim: “We like Wach,” he said in a separate conversation — although he didn’t spell it out, so I suppose it could be Wock, or Woc, or Wok. “He’s awesome — real smart, and he teaches really well.” Back to Davis.)

So if you could call back in time a year, what would you tell that version of you?

Davis: “I wouldn’t, because I think everybody’s gotta go through the situation where they’re gonna learn and become even more of a man. I think it’s better that I pretty much had to sit a year. I think it makes me more hungry this year to be able to come out and help the Redskins any way that I can.”

Which pretty much confirms Zorn’s final thoughts on Davis as well: “He’s much more confident, and he knows we want him to be on that field — and that’s what he’s getting ready for. He’s not just trying to make the team, you know.”

Sure, it’s only May, and I know, I know: everyone looks good in May, in shorts and no pads. Still, so was the whole alarm clock incident, and this is by any measure an improvement over that.

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