Is Ron Rivera considering a role change for Jamin Davis?
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Football Team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles knocked them out of playoff contention once and for all.
It marked Washington’s second four-game losing streak of the year and further hammered home the idea that the club wasn’t quite ready for the end-of-season test featuring five games against the NFC East.
While Ron Rivera has some explaining to do in regard to why his team got swept by Philadelphia and Dallas, he first had to weather the storm that was the outrage behind the decision to bench Jamin Davis on Sunday.
Davis, who hasn’t quite lived up to his first-round billing, played total of 13 snaps against the Eagles. He found himself playing behind veteran David Mayo, who finished as the team’s fifth-lowest graded defender.
With fans eager for an explanation, Rivera came through on Monday.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera explained why he benched Jamin Davis on Sunday.
"“Well, I thought some of the things that David did last week just kind of showed what he’s capable of and what it also did was it took a little bit of pressure off of Cole,” Rivera told reporters.“David’s a pure mike, so we put David in that role and we were able to use Cole in more of a what we call a dime position – the weak side inside linebacker of a nickel package. Thought that that combination looked pretty good, pretty stout.”"
So basically Rivera doesn’t trust Davis in the mike role. Great.
How significant are Rivera’s reservations about Davis’ ability to be the defense’s signal caller? Well, he later revealed to the media that he’s reconsidering how to maximize the young linebacker’s potential in 2022 and beyond.
“I think that’s something we got to really look at and see if it is better for him not to have the kind of pressures that the middle linebacker has on him.”
That’s a pretty eye-opening quote, but let’s not be quick to blame Davis. If you remember, it was the coaching staff who told us they viewed the Kentucky product as a mike that would flourish behind Washington’s defensive line.
It could just be a matter of poor scouting. Not every linebacker prospect is best suited as the middle man. Like Rivera said, Davis might be more comfortable as the second weakside LB alongside Cole Holcomb, who had the freedom to roam and chase on Sunday and turned in his finest game of the year.
"“There were some really good things, I think, when you take the pressure off of young guys having to make decisions out on the field and try to control things. I think it’s a little something we learned about both (Davis and Holcomb).”"
Let’s discuss both sides of this. On one hand, it’s concerning the coaching staff is already pondering a role change for Davis. It’s also alarming that a journeymen was preferred to Davis 17 games into his rookie year.
On the other hand, with Davis seemingly transitioning to a weakside role, it’s very possible he undergoes a big transformation in Year 2.
Davis’ rookie season will go down as a wash, but at least fans can hold onto the fact that he was (technically) playing out of position all year. That falls on both the player and the team, but more so on the latter for entrusting him in the mike role to begin with when he never looked like a fit.