Sammy Davis Eyes Improvement

Sammy Davis was taken by the San Diego Chargers with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Considered a polished defender coming out of college, he quickly snared the starting cornerback role and has settled in since then. His commitment to improving each week has been visible to all the eyes on him.

The learning curve in the NFL for a rookie starter must be quick, or that player will be replaced. Sammy Davis has no illusions and is continually working hard to hone his skills. So hard has he practiced and fought through injury that the team felt confident enough to make him the starter since day one.

"I am really trying to work on my technique each week and trying to stay consistent. Whether we are in a zone, off man, or press coverage."

At the time of his selection in the draft, Marty Schottenheimer said, "(Davis) showed excellent skill and versatility in the bump-and-run. They moved him to the nickel back slot when they get to the three wide receiver defense. He is an exceptionally good tackler. When we put all the pieces together he was the name that came up with value at this point.

"My preference is to have two big guys play bump and run on receivers, play man-to-man and make the quarterback have to dodge the rush and throw against tight coverage," Schottenheimer added.

Davis feels he is the right man for the job as Schottenheimer described.

"Oh I definitely enjoy playing man bump and run. It's just you and him out there on an island."

As a rookie in training camp, and the first round pick to boot, Davis was a likely candidate to get some good-natured hazing from the rest of his teammates in training camp.

"There really wasn't that much hazing, they took it easy on me I guess."

The team seems to have started to slowly jell together over the last few weeks. Back in training camp more veterans were sent packing and youth took their place. Maybe there were just so many rookies from all parts of the country that it took some time. Maybe a leader has finally stepped up.

The media, our own Denis Savage included, has argued that Davis has no one to look up to in the secondary. They say there is no true leader that can teach the young guys how to play and how to act. Davis disputes that.

" Kwamie (Lassiter) is our man back there. He is constantly teaching us and critiquing us.

"In addition to Kwamie, I would have to say that Donnie (Edwards) and Marcellus (Wiley) are the leaders."

That should cool the debate. Leaders are also present on offense. Davis has seen firsthand just how impressive LaDainian Tomlinson is on and off the field. In regard to LT, Davis did not mince words.

"He's by far the best back in this league. He really proved that this past weekend. He wanted the ball every down and we were able to ride him to victory."

Davis understands the frustrations in the heat of the battle that Tomlinson faced last week when his number was not called on a crucial third and one late in the game.

"He was extremely upset. But, if that play works and we score, everybody is happy and we wouldn't be talking about it."

Davis knows what it is like to be under the microscope. He played in front of some of the most pumped up fans in the country at Kyle Field. Aggie country is a haven for football, but there are major differences between the NFL as compared to the college ranks.

"I would have to say that there is so much more mental preparation involved from week to week. You have to learn new defensive formations each week, you have to study their offensive formations, and you want to study film to try and pick up tendencies in your opponent.

"In college you might have a one or two guys on each team that are elite athletes. In the pros, it seems like that's the case for almost every position on the field."

Welcome to the National Football League, Sammy.

Part II of our exclusive interview with Sammy Davis will air Friday.

Kenny Williams can be reached at

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