Earlier in the offseason I took a look at Pittsburgh Steelers running back Knile Davis and his history as a runner in the National Football League, and suffice it to say in summary, for the most part, it wasn’t a very pretty picture. It was also one that generally speaking got worse over the course of time.
But he is hoping that working with a new team will change his fortunes, even if it doesn’t reward him with many more touches, now playing behind a workhorse back in Le’Veon Bell, and quite potentially also working behind rookie third-round draft pick James Conner.
As part of his efforts to reverse his fortunes, however, he has been afforded ample opportunity to get a head start while the two aforementioned running backs have been sidelined with injuries. Bell is still recovering from offseason groin surgery, while Conner missed most of OTAs with a hamstring injury, though he has since returned, perhaps on a limited basis.
The long and short of this is that Davis has been getting lots of quality reps with the first-team offense because of the number of bodies that have been down at the running back position, and it is helping him gain a level of comfort with his new teammates—especially his new blockers—and a new offense.
The workload is something that he has appreciated. “That’s really been helping me out”, he acknowledged recently in speaking with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s been good, doing a lot of learning. I’ve been getting better every day”.
Another local writer has described Davis as a player who needs the reps in order to get better, so while that may be a concerning observation of a fifth-year veteran with hundreds of career touches, it is better that he gets them than not—assuming that he does make the 53-man roster.
“I’m ready to get back on the scene”, the former Chief said following a pair of seasons in which his playing time has dipped. He even saw himself get traded mid-season last year, only to be released after two games and then re-signed by the Chiefs. But he doesn’t doubt what that means about his abilities.
“I’m comfortable playing the game. I know a lot more about the game”, he said. “It’s my fifth year. I’m very confident. I know what’s going on, on and off the field, the business side of it. It’s like a coming back party. I’d like to redeem myself, for sure”.
The Steelers would certainly like to see him redeem himself as well—or to be more accurate they would like to never have to see him touch the ball on offense, barring mop-up duty in blowout victories—but I think right now it would be a stretch to call him a lock to make the team. Even his duties as a returner, for which he was purportedly signed, has dropped off in quality over his career. And he was not a returner in college, either.