A.J. Davis came to Cleveland via Detroit last year and spent the season on the Browns practice squad. Along the way, this second-year cornerback found faith in learning from many of the faces within the roster in that tough, but worthwhile season of watching and learning.
Released by the Detroit Lions, which came somewhat as a surprise to the bright-eyed Davis, this cat-like quick player did not let the disappointment get him down. When the Browns called, Davis quickly headed toward Cleveland.
"I was surprised, being in camp for the first time, you really don't know what to expect," A.J. Davis said.
Upon joining the Browns' practice squad, Davis worked daily with the team, and was sponge-like in absorbing all he could from coaches and veterans on the roster alike.
"I learned a lot from Leigh (Bodden) and Daven (Holly). They are cool guys and were willing to help me with my technique, mental preparation and things you need to know, things you need to do," Davis said. "Hanging out with those guys helped me, as well as the time and effort Mel (Tucker) put into working with me and helping me understand the responsibilities."
Tucker, the then-defensive backs coach, had a close working relationship with his positional players. Known as a teacher and communicator, Tucker has the ability to get players to play for him.
"Mel is a great coach. He just knows the game and he can relay that to players. I have learned more in the year I have been here than at any other time. He teaches us how to prepare, how to get in shape and what to look for on the field," Davis said.
Q & A with Davis -
- What happened on the play which the defensive backfield was beaten for a long TD pass against the Jets?
Davis - Which one? No, seriously, we didn't communicate as well as we should have and we let the receiver run to the open spot. We blew the coverage, we know that and talked about how and why it happened. It shouldn't happen again.
- How has camp gone for you personally to this point? Are you satisfied where you are?
Davis - Camp has been good. It's been demanding and I have learned quite a bit lining up against guys like Braylon (Edwards), (Donte') Stallworth and Kellen (Winslow).
There is always something to improve on, you never stop learning. I am glad we are getting into the time where we play someone, but I am never satisfied. I want to get better and will get better.
- There is a lot of youth and inexperience at the cornerback position right now, which is making for some healthy competition in training camp. Has the staff told you anything in regards to where you are on the depth chart or what you need to do to make this team?
Davis - The coaches are always working with us and pushing us to get better. You can get an idea of where you are with the group that you get on the field with. There are a lot of young guys here, but I don't think that is a bad thing. We push each other to get better.