Andre' Davis had an up and down career in Cleveland. He provided some big plays for the Browns but for one reason or another, Davis didn't live up to the expectations the team had for him when they drafted the Virginia Tech wide receiver in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Putting his time in Cleveland behind him, Davis is now focused on one thing: helping the Patriots win football games.
Davis wouldn't comment on his former team but said he's excited to be in New England.
"I'm not going to speak bad about Cleveland," Davis said. "I'm here in New England now. Cleveland was just my first stop in hopefully a long career. Right now, I'm just happy to be a New England Patriot and happy to be contributing in any way I can."
The Patriots acquired Davis in a trade with the Browns on Aug. 22 for a fifth round draft pick but then released him in September. Davis battled a foot injury all training camp and attributes not being healthy as the reason why he wasn't on an NFL roster when the season started.
"I was banged up," Davis said. "For me, when I was injured I had a chance to reflect on everything I've been through and realized that I can't help anyone if I'm hurt. I wanted to make sure before I came back and played for any team that I was healthy so I could get on the field and contribute."
The Patriots resigned Davis on Oct. 19 and he was glad to get a second chance in New England.
"I knew that at any time a team could call me and I was happy it was the Patriots," Davis said. "I stayed in the Boston area to continue my rehab so I could be ready to go when I got another opportunity and now it's paying off."
The 6-1, 195-pound receiver with blazing speed has been productive at the NFL level. In three years with the Browns, Davis started 19 games and recorded 93 receptions for 1,412 yards and an impressive 13 touchdowns. Davis actually led the Browns with five touchdown receptions in 2003.
Davis has seen action at receiver for the Patriots, mainly working as their deep threat. His best game this season came against the Saints where he caught a 60-yard touchdown pass to give New England a 21-7 lead. He finished the year with nine receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown. He has also returned kicks and played on kick coverage for the Patriots.
"I'm going to go and keep working at receiver but wherever they throw me in, that's where I'm going to try and make the biggest impact," Davis said. "We're going to continue to go with the gameplan that's here and fit me in where I can help the most."
Davis went from a team in turmoil with the Browns to a Patriots team that's made challenging for a Super Bowl title an annual event. The receiver is thankful to be part of an organization where winning is the bottom line.
"It's all about winning here," Davis said. "I'm glad I'm in a situation now where the only thing I'm concerned about is helping my team win. Everyone here expects the best out of each other. Just knowing how hard these guys work and seeing the guy next to you working his tail off, it makes you want to go out there and play well."
Davis is an example of the quintessential New England Patriot under Bill Belichick. A guy who once complained he wasn't getting the ball enough in Cleveland is now happy to be a gunner on special teams and willing to do whatever it takes to help the Patriots win football games. That kind of mindset is why this team has experienced so much success in recent years and continues to be the NFL's model franchise.
Same place, new PatriotsThe Denver Broncos will see a totally different Patriots team than the one they defeated 28-20 back in October. In that first meeting, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk and Corey Dillon all missed the game. Rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs - who has helped solidify the secondary since he was inserted into the starting lineup – was still a backup at that time. That was also the game where Mike Vrabel made his first start at middle linebacker. All and all, the Patriots team walking into Invesco Field this Saturday will not resemble the team the Broncos saw the first time around and Denver head coach Mike Shanahan is well aware of that.
"Well number one they're healthier, a lot healthier," Shanahan said. "They played extremely well in the second half of the season after we played them. You take a look at what they've been doing in their rushing defense. They've allowed 2.9 yards per game in the second half of the season, that's unprecedented. In December they're giving up under eight points a game and 164 yards total offense. The offense is playing extremely well - gaining a lot of yards and points. You always want to play your best going into the playoffs and that's what they've been doing."
NotesBelichick said at his Wednesday press conference the Broncos will be the Patriots toughest test so far this season. "We'll have to see how we do against Denver," Belichick replied when asked about how well the Patriots have played down the stretch. "That will be the big test. Other teams we've played recently aren't Denver. No disrespect to them but they're not Denver."…Belichick was also asked about the possibility of defensive coordinator Eric Mangini becoming the next head coach of the New York Jets. "You'll have to talk to the Jets about that," Belichick said. "I really don't know anything about their coaching job. You'll have to ask them. I'm sure they'll be happy to share that information with you."