GREEN BAY – If evaluations were based purely off of crowd reactions, Trevor Davis was responsible for the finest catch of the Packers’ first practice of training camp on Tuesday.
With one hand, the rookie receiver hauled in a nice pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers near the sideline facing the fans sitting in the Ray Nitschke Field stands.
It was a remarkable reception on the surface with a defensive back draped on his shoulder, but Davis knew he could’ve done better.
He could’ve made things easier on himself with a little more attention to detail on his route, and his first reaction after catching the ball was to duck out of bounds rather than turn upfield.
“I should’ve finished the play,” said Davis on Wednesday. “I caught the ball and went out of bounds. I had a college moment. I thought the play was over and forgot that we finish through everything no matter if we go out of bounds or not here.”
Those are the mistakes the Packers understand rookies will make on their first day of camp, but overall the soft-spoken Davis has looked like he belongs.
Along with his one-handed snag, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound receiver also outran the secondary for two more catches in the same team period.
He carried over the lessons he learned on Tuesday to Wednesday’s practice, timing his routes perfectly to catch two more passes across the middle.
“You see the big plays, but it’s the details, the fundamentals, the little things, the discipline,” said Head Coach Mike McCarthy before Wednesday’s practice. “You just want to see him build off of that because he’s shown that he can make big plays, but you want him to do the details that require the offensive player to be a first-, second-, and third-down player. He’s off to a good start.”
No one is arguing Davis’ abilities. His 4.42-second time in the 40-yard dash weighed heavily into the Packers’ decision to take him in the fifth round of this year’s draft.
The key is learning the finer points of the offense and improving his route-running ability. He’s embraced the Packers’ approach that’s seen him work at both the outside and slot receiver positions.
Davis feels comfortable in either role. He played slot receiver during his time at Hawaii before transferring to California, where he estimates he played “90 percent” on the boundary.
His time with the Golden Bears also gave him a deep appreciation for Rodgers, whose likeness can be found everywhere on Cal’s campus. The quarterback he once hoped to meet is now the one responsible for throwing him passes.
Davis cracks a smile when admitting that he can be shy at times, which is why Rodgers took it upon himself to reach out to the rookie during the offseason program.
Davis appreciates the feedback his quarterback has given him. He knows the more passes he catches, the more Rodgers’ confidence in him will grow.
“When he has something to tell you about your route (and) you know that he wants to tell you, it helps you a lot,” Davis said. “You know that he cares. You know that he wants you to get better. Knowing that, it builds your confidence. It lets you know you can do it. You can run these routes right. Just shows you can be the player he wants you to be.”
As for his spectacular catch on the sideline, Davis hopes there’s more to come. The best way to make that happen is absorbing the offense, honing his routes and making progress.
Two solid practices don’t make a preseason, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
“I was happy I got to make that play, I guess,” Davis said. “There were actually some details on the play that I needed to fix up. Some things might look great, but at the end of the day you realize over lots of film you go back (and watch), you have to fix that, fix that. It’s the details.”
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