Bringing back a series I had a lot of fun exploring the last several offseasons. Every player wants to improve, to elevate his game in all areas from one season to the next. Understanding that, we’re going to isolate just one area, one faction of a player’s game. The biggest area for improvement.
Sean Davis – Create Turnovers
A statement that could apply to literally anyone in the secondary, I know this is sorta low-hanging fruit. But if there’s one position you’d expect to at least pull down a couple interceptions, it’s free safety. Capitalizing on a poorly thrown deep ball. Flying in from his centerfield spot to pick off a crosser. Making some sort of impactful play.
That didn’t happen to Davis. He and Terrell Edmunds combined for just two turnovers created, an interception each, and Edmunds at least recovered another fumble. They’re part of a defense which finished with a lowly eight interceptions, the lowest by any team in history with at least 50 sacks. Can’t blame a lack of pass rush.
And he had some chances, like so many DBs on this team did. Pittsburgh led the league in dropped interceptions. Davis was responsible for at least four of them in 2018.
This was a nice, crucial breakup in overtime but a play Davis could’ve picked – he knew it, too – that may have resulted in a Steelers win instead of tie.
Davis reads and closes on this throw to Rob Gronkowski well enough but can’t finish the play. Not the easiest pick in the world trying to reach behind but a play free safeties need to make. He looks like a linebacker here.
This diving try late in the first half against Jacksonville. Can’t secure the ball without letting it hit the ground and it’s an incompletion instead of an interception.
And finally, this deflection against the Oakland Raiders. 3rd and 15, so wasn’t the end of the world, and again, not a “gimmie” pick. But I think everyone started to feel the weight of the frustration of how close yet how far they were away from making a splash play.
Of course, we’re leaving off his collision with Joe Haden against LA on this list since it wasn’t a drop. But it was another ugly play, maybe one that sums up this secondary more accurately than all the others.
40 career starts. Just seven total turnovers: five interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery. Pittsburgh hasn’t helped by moving him around, and I think he needs to be taken off the punt coverage unit (why the Steelers have both safeties on it, I don’t understand) but you can’t make excuses for Davis year after year. He’s gotta produce.