Knile Davis’ crash course into the Green Bay Packers’ offense began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
That’s when Davis, acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that was struck on Monday, arrived at Lambeau Field to embark on a fresh start to his career.
“I’m like, ‘Whoa! Whoa!’ It was Victory Monday so I’m chilling. I’m playing a video game,” Davis recalled on Tuesday afternoon. “I get the call and I’m like, ‘Oh, man.’ It was a whirlwind. I told my family, I told everybody and everybody was excited for me. They wanted to see me actually get a chance to play.”
Davis hasn’t played this season. At least, he hasn’t played much. A third-round pick in the 2013 draft, Davis rushed 134 times for 463 yards (3.5 average) and six touchdowns in 2014. But Davis got lost on the Chiefs’ depth chart, getting 28 carries for 72 yards (2.6 average) last season and just one carry for minus-2 yards this season. He was inactive for Sunday’s game as the team’s No. 4 runner.
It wasn’t what he Chiefs were expecting from the running back who lit up the 2013 Scouting Combine with a 4.37-second clocking in the 40-yard dash and 31 reps on the 225-pound bench press. That combination made the 227-pounder one of the fastest and strongest backs to enter the NFL in years.
“For whatever reason, the offensive staff wanted to do something different,” he said. “They wanted to go in a different direction than me. I thank those guys for giving me an opportunity to play and perfect my game. I took that time to make myself better and I think we’ll get to see that here.”
Just how much he can show this week remains to be seen. Under the best of circumstances, it’s hard for a player to grasp enough of a playbook to contribute in a week. Davis doesn’t have a week. The Packers play on Thursday night, but there’s probably not going to be an easing-in process. Eddie Lacy played through a sprained ankle on Sunday vs. Dallas and is “very sore,” coach Mike McCarthy said before Tuesday’s practice. Lacy did not practice on Tuesday and could miss several weeks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lacy’s backup, James Starks, had knee surgery on Sunday and will miss a couple games. The only healthy running back on the team is Don Jackson, who remains on the practice squad but probably will be promoted for the game.
“We’ve got to make sure he’s ready, if needed,” McCarthy said.
With Starks out and Lacy’s availability, durability and capability all in doubt, the Packers are going to need Davis.
Ready or not.
“At the end of the day,” Davis said, “football’s football but it’s the little details that you need to know that I haven’t gotten yet. We’re going to get on that as soon as I’m done to y’all.”
Davis spent his first practice running with the scout team and also working on special teams. The rest of the day will be spent trying to learn a package of plays in this week’s game plan. Helping matters, there are some similarities between the Packers’ and Chiefs’ offensive schemes. There are differences, too. And that’s what Davis needs to sort out.
“It’s putting what you already know with what they know and not getting confused with terminology that they might say that meant something else for you,” Davis said. “Once I get that done, I think I’ll be good.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.