Alright, a show of hands everybody. Who had high expectations for Corey Davis last year? I know I’m not the only one who got burned by him. Everybody, let’s just pump the breaks with the dreaded word, bust. Keep reading and learn exactly why Davis is going to breakout this season.
Davis is FINALLY Healthy
Last season, Davis was plagued for most of the year by a nagging hamstring injury. Hamstrings can make or break a wide receivers season, Davis is proof of that. After missing weeks three through seven with that hamstring injury, Davis returned week nine, following the team’s bye. Despite being healthy weeks nine through sixteen, Davis did little to inspire fear into opposing defenses. It was clear he was far from 100% for most of the season. Davis finished his rookie campaign with 34 catches for 375 and zero touchdowns. On to 2018 right?
Increased Volume Increased Production?
Much of the blame for Davis’ struggles can be pointed to elsewhere. Quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered his worst statistical season as a starter. Fellow wide receiver Eric Decker came into the season highly touted but did very little to back up the hype. In fact, relative to the sky-high expectations for Decker in this offense, it could be stated he did little more than steal targets from Davis and Rishard Matthews. The good news is, Decker is an unrestricted free agent this season and the Titans are not expected to bring him back. Decker averaged 5.2 targets per game last season, while Davis averaged 5.9. With an extra five targets per game up for grabs this season, expect Davis to dominate the target share.
An often underestimated factor in a team’s success is the team’s chemistry. This holds especially true for wide receivers and quarterbacks. Towards the end of the season there appeared to be a connection developing between Mariota and Davis. Week 16, Davis caught six of nine targets from Mariota for 91 yards, including a 37-yard beauty. In the divisional round of the playoffs against the Patriots, things really got going. Davis caught five of eight targets for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Those touchdowns turned out to be the only two Davis caught on the season. Given how lethal that connection looked, it is reasonable to expect there are much more on the horizon.
Enter Matt LaFleur
Before he has ever called a game for the Titans, it seems as if new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur can do no wrong. There is a significant buzz around the Titans with the new coaching regime taking place. With a new regime comes a new coaching philosophy…thank goodness. LaFleur has tossed around focusing on creating more explosive plays on offense, centered around the play action. Both Davis and Mariota thrive in play action. Last season Davis averaged a healthy 1.37 yards of separation per target and as well as an average of 12 yards per target. Expect both of these numbers to skyrocket under LaFleur.
For Corey Davis and the Tennessee Titans offense, the sky is the limit in 2018.