Running back Mike Davis is aiming to impress in a bid to make the 53-man roster, and he has already caught the eye of Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.
The Carolina Panthers took part in their first full-speed practice on Friday as preparations gather pace for the new season. This was something that each member of the roster clearly relished. And now the business of honing cohesion on the field can finally begin.
New head coach Matt Rhule liked what he saw from his squad. But there is much work to be done to ensure the Carolina Panthers are fully prepared for their Week 1 encounter against the Las Vegas Raiders.
They are working with a completely new coaching staff who are looking to implement their style of play without the presence of any preseason games. And Carolina’s roster has been gutted from any real prominent veteran leadership in a bid to turnaround their fortunes.
How players stand out in the coming weeks will go a long way to determining their spot on the 53-man roster. And there should be a fierce competition for places during team drills in Carolina.
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Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Panthers’ No. 28. Mike Davis is one of those aiming to secure the primary backup spot behind All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. And he recently came in for praise from Rhule on the way he has applied himself during camp so far.
“I really like Mike Davis. He’s a pro. He’s done a lot of good things in this league. He’s doing a lot of good things for us.”
Mike Davis has his work cut out with the Carolina Panthers
Davis came into the NFL with a big reputation after a standout college career at South Carolina. The back accumulated 2,440 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns from 454 carries during his three-year stint with the Gamecocks. And his supreme speed saw the player selected in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.
Things have not gone completely according to plan for Davis at the next level. He lasted two years in San Francisco before moving to the Seattle Seahawks. And this resulted in a career season in 2018 of 554 rushing yards, four touchdowns, and a yards-per-carry average of 4.6.
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This was not enough to earn a longer stay with Pete Carroll’s men. And after a brief stint with the Chicago Bears, Davis signed for the Carolina Panthers during the 2019 campaign.
While he has not seen much time on the field. Davis’ prospects might have improved with the introduction of a new coaching staff.
Everyone is working off a clean slate. And although Rhule’s praise hasn’t done the likes of Cam Newton any good this offseason. It should be an encouraging sign for the player.
One suspects Reggie Bonnafon to be the favorite to win the No. 2 role when McCaffrey needs some time off the field. And there are also some financial ramifications to consider of Davis makes it onto the 53-man roster.
The back is set to count $3 million against the Panthers’ salary cap in 2020. And this represents a big commitment for someone who is not expected to contribute much next season.
It would not cost Carolina anything in the way of dead cap money if they decided not to keep Davis around. This leaves the player with plenty to overcome in pursuit of a roster spot. But according to Rhule, he has made an eye-catching start.