NASHVILLE — Corey Davis’ position is less than ideal at the end of the 2020 campaign. The Tennessee Titans wide receiver heads into his first NFL free agency lacking the momentum he started the year with.
In a Wildcard Weekend 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Davis sat sidelined by injury.
The 2017 fifth overall pick finished with a career-best season in almost every statistical category of import. But, like Tennessee’s offense, Davis went silently into that cold offseason night with only five catches for 39 yards in his last three games. When Davis mysteriously vanished from the Titans game against Baltimore on Sunday, fans accused him of quitting on his team.
Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel was quick to provide context, but issue that plagued Davis remains unclear.
When Davis Showed Signs
For all the inconsistency of Davis’ career with the Titans, 2020 served as a revival.
Tennessee’s WR2 all but vanished against the Ravens, though, with two targets and no receptions. Baltimore’s defense deserves a great deal of credit for the passion with which they played, holding the Titans offense to its lowest scoring output of the year (13 points). Down seven with at their own 21-yard line with 4:13 remaining in the game, Davis was noticeably absent from the offense.
The wide receiver looked on from his team’s bench without his helmet in hand.
“We don’t talk about injuries,” said Vrabel on Monday. “But, clearly if Corey (Davis) was able to finish that football game he would have. He would have tried to have done everything that he could have done that to help us win. That wasn’t going to be a possibility at that time.”
What the Titans media contingent at Nissan Stadium missed (myself included) is that was not the only snaps that Davis missed. In fact, the wide receiver was not on the field for the entirety of the fourth quarter. The last sighting of Davis in the game with the rest of Tennessee’s offense was on the final play of the third frame.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill drove his offense to 3rd-and-Goal at the Ravens’ 5-yard line. Out of the shotgun, Tannehill dropped back and completed a pass to running back Derrick Henry for a loss of 2 that would force the Titans to settle for a 25-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Davis is split out wide at the top of the screen with corner Marcus Peters in coverage.
The play is seen below, courtesy of NFL Game Pass.
Titans’ Davis Downfall
The injury to Davis appeared to be non-contact, which is perhaps what is most concerning.
Davis goes into his break, the play breaks down and Tennessee’s scramble drill begins. As Davis tries to shake his man to create separation, he appears to almost trip forward. He immediately comes limping off the field favoring his right leg. It is not clear whether this was the play where Davis was injured or if this was merely the most visible sign of aggravation.
Regardless, it was his final appearance of the game.
“(Davis) wanted to be out there helping the team,” said teammate A.J. Brown. “I knew if he could be out there, he would.”
Clearing the 1,000 yards receiving mark would improve the optics immensely but the Western Michigan product elevated Tennessee’s passing game immensely this season. He matched his career high 65 receptions while posting career marks in yards (984), yards per reception (15.1), touchdowns (5), catch percentage (70.7%) and yards per target (10.7).
Pending the severity of this latest malady, Davis stands to see a substantial increase in his average annual salary as well.
Spotrac.com projects the Tennessee Titans receiver’s market value $9.9 million a year from whichever team decides to shell out for him. But, as has been the case several time in Davis’ career, everything depends on the medicals.
Featured Image: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports.