House Hitting Home Run at Training Camp

It wasn't too long ago when Davon House dreamed of playing Major League Baseball. As a fourth-round pick last year, he played in just two games and didn't get a single snap on defense. This year, he's made himself a central figure in the wide-open battles at cornerback.

At Palmdale (Calif.) High School, Davon House dreamed of playing professional baseball. His brother, Tyreace, had dreams of playing professional football.

Instead, Tyreace was drafted by the Oakland A's and Davon was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

"I played (football) as a youth but I didn't really like it — I loved baseball," Davon House told Packer Report after a big-play Monday at training camp. "Then my junior year of high school came and it was my brother's last year and I looked up to him — he was my idol. So, I figured I'd play with him one last time. Halfway through the year, he just started playing offense so that left open a spot at corner and I took that spot and had a decent year with like three picks. That summer, I got my first letter to Sac(ramento) State so it was like, ‘Maybe I might be able to play football.' Then baseball season came along and I was doing good but I broke my finger, so that was the (end of the) dream for baseball."

House was a fourth-round pick last year but his rookie season was a bust. The lockout, of course, didn't help, nor did a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the first two preseason games and an ankle injury sustained during the final preseason game. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt figured House would be better off watching and learning from the sideline rather than being thrown into action when he wasn't ready. So, House was active for just four games and played in two games on special teams only.

The equivalent of a redshirt season, plus a full offseason of work with the coaches and training staff, has paid dividends. House was one of the top players in OTAs and the minicamp, and those strong performances have carried over to the practice field. He intercepted two passes and broke up a pass in the end zone on Monday.

"I was really happy to catch the ball," House said. "I've been dropping some balls in individual (drills), and at the end of OTAs, I dropped a pick, so that was bothering me a lot. I've been working on my hands during this little break we had, so I'm glad I caught the ball."

The mental side of the game is a work in progress. During a two-minute drill to end practice, House said he dropped coverage, which allowed his man to get free. Earlier in practice, House played the odds when coordinator Dom Capers dialed up a blitz. House beat receiver Dale Moss to the ball on a slant for the interception.

"I knew the ball had to come out because we were blitzing," he said. "I was going on the first move, so if he wasn't running a slant, it would have been slant-and-go, and he wouldn't have had enough time to throw it. When I saw he was running a slant, I went to go get the ball."

House says he's a "new guy" compared to last year, when he couldn't get on the field even while the Packers fielded the worst pass defense in NFL history. During OTAs, Whitt promised it would be a wide-open competition for the third cornerback in nickel and fourth cornerback in dime. Those spots are among the most hotly contested at training camp, with Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush and Casey Hayward joining House in the battle.

"I think they're all involved," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think they all have a chance. We haven't played any games with Casey. Davon's come on for us strong at the end of the year, you could see that, particularly on the scout teams and he was active there for a few games. He's made a big improvement in the offseason, and he's off to a good start."

House ran with the No. 1 dime during the practice-ending two-minute drill. Nothing is assured, though. Shields had an excellent rookie season in 2010, Bush is coming off his best season and the Packers traded third- and fourth-round picks to move into the second round to grab Hayward.

"I love it. I love to compete," House said. "I feel it brings the best out of all of us. I feel like we're all rooting for each other, too. There is no, ‘I'm glad Casey's doing bad,' or ‘Dang it, Davon got a pick.' I feel like we're all helping each other out."

Nobody's helped out House as much as House himself, which is why Tyreace — giving football another shot at Division II McMurry — calls his little brother his idol. McCarthy likes to point to the offseason program and the significant gains made by players as they transition from being a rookie and into their second year. House has improved more than anyone.

"I feel like I'm 10 times better than I was last year," House said. "I'm out here flying around. I look like a different person. I feel like I can compete here and I can play here and I can play here for a long time."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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