DAVIE – Will Davis wants an interception.
This is part of the next step for Davis, the Dolphins’ second-year cornerback and, for now, the starting nickel back.
Davis might be the team’s best defensive back at getting interceptions in practice, but now he needs to show he can do it in games. He needs to show he can be a difference-maker.
Davis, who only played in five games last season as a rookie, should get an extended opportunity for an interception tonight when the Dolphins host the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale.
“I know coming up against the Rams, they’ll be throwing that thing up,” Davis said. “Maybe I get in there early, the vets are going to sit, so I can get probably the whole first quarter and or even most of the second.
“I know I’m going to have at least two opportunities during that time where they’re going to throw it up. I’m trying to get one before the Patriots game. That’d be dope.”
Davis, who is holding off a challenge for the starting nickel spot from fellow cornerback Jamar Taylor, has done a fairly good job in coverage. He’s sprung a couple of leaks. He’s had two penalties in three games. But overall, he’s been solid, which is what he showed in the preseason opener at Atlanta when the Falcons threw his way three consecutive plays.
“Lovin’ it!” the excitable Davis said of those plays. “Oh, I’m happy as hell, man! Those are the opportunities I want. You want those balls thrown your way so you get the opportunity to make plays.
“I got opportunities and made plays on damn near all of them. I was geekin’! I was like, ‘Oh come again.’ And they kept coming, and I was like, ‘Man, I’m gonna get me one today!’ Unfortunately, I didn’t get one, but those opportunities, I loved it.”
Davis is the proverbial “next man up” in the nickel defense. Because safety Reshad Jones is serving a four-game suspension during the regular season, safety Jimmy Wilson, last season’s nickel back, takes Jones’ spot in the base and nickel defenses. That means Davis takes Wilson’s spot in the nickel defense, with one major difference.
While Wilson played the slot defensive back position in the nickel package, Davis will play the right cornerback position and Cortland Finnegan moves from right cornerback to the slot.
Davis has been fairly steady in pass coverage, penalties aside. He did reasonably well against Atlanta and Tampa Bay…
“And then it was weird,” Davis said. “Against the Cowboys, I’m nothing really. And I really wanted something that game. I got to go against (wide receiver) Dez (Bryant) once, and if I’d have known that was my only pass of the day, man, I would have made a way to break that up. Something, man, if I’d have known.”
Davis isn’t all about big plays. He knows he has to also make the routine plays and cut down on penalties. After all, Taylor isn’t the only one in the mix to play nickel; safety Michael Thomas is also capable.
Aside from that, Davis could lose his nickel job when Jones returns from his suspension in October.
That’s why Davis isn’t taking his tenuous hold on the spot, and it’s also why he wants that interception so badly.
“Right now, of course, when you look at it I’m ahead,” Davis said. “But I know definitely even talking with Jamar, everybody feels all those spots are still open. It’s not like anybody’s playing as if they already lost it, and that’s all that matters.
“That keeps pushing me to secure the spot I’m at, and even reach further.”