In case you missed Titans WR Rashard Davis make an appearance on the Music City Audible podcast last week, we’ve gone through the trouble of transcribing the conversation for you. Because we’re good people, and we love our subscribers very much.
We enjoyed this conversation with Davis quite a bit, as he allowed us to really dive deep into the topics discussed. Some of the subjects he spoke about include…
- His mindset at this year’s unique training camp
- What it meant for him to win one of the team’s three offseason awards as a newer addition to the team
- His process for watching other receivers to try to improve his game
- Working with wide receivers coach Rob Moore and their relationship
- His favorite Titans defensive back to practice against
- Why Kalif Raymond is the one teammate he would bring with him to war
- Playing video games with Titans teammates
- His experience as the No. 1 overall pick in the XFL
- How he plans to achieve his goals over the next few weeks
JM: Where is your head at right now? This is a very strange and unique training camp.
RD: I’m just trying to focus on the mental aspect of things. I’m making sure that I know the playbook like the back of my hand. I need to be extremely familiar with all of the calls, reads and audibles. When we hit the field at full speed, I’ll be able to play a lot faster.
JM: You’re off to a great start. Mike Vrabel praised you as one of the off-season winners for the work you put in over the summer. What did that mean to you coming from Vrabel?
RD: It was definitely a good feeling, especially when you’re coming into a new team. Obviously I came in halfway through the season last year. I’m taking every situation step by step. This is just another step that can help get me where I wanna go. It’s a great sign. I appreciate coach Vrabel’s support. It’s another step forward for me. I just need to continue to build on the good things I’ve done so far.
JM: You signed with the Titans prior to Week 10 last season. You played an important role on special teams down the stretch. We’re heading into a new season and here you are receiving praise from the head coach. Baby steps as you mentioned, but I feel like you have a great chance to stick here in Tennessee. You’ve had stints with the Eagles, Raiders and Chiefs. Talk to me about the possibility of Tennessee being the place that you may find stability in?
RD: I love it here. The city, the players, the coaches, the fans, it’s all fantastic. This team embraced me like a family member last season and keep in mind I joined them halfway through the year. That’s just the vibe you get in this locker room.
It’s honestly the same vibe that I got in Philadelphia during my rookie year. It’s a family mentality. It was a true brotherhood down there in Philly as well. Everybody looks out for each other here. That’s an environment that you feel comfortable in. It’s an environment that brings out the best in you. It allows you to reach your max potential.
That’s what I’ve felt here. I’ve been diving into things. There’s no reason to be nervous because everybody has my back. That’s a great feeling. You don’t get that in every locker room.
I’m trying to show everybody that I know what I’m doing and that I can play an important role on this team. That’s the most important thing at the end of the day. They’re looking for players that buy in and help this team win football games.
JM: I think it’s worth mentioning that the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl that year. That’s the locker room that you get a similar vibe from here in Tennessee.
RD: Most definitely. We definitely have the same atmosphere and vibe here. The coaches and players give off such a positive energy here. Nobody is walking on eggshells or anything like that. We have a great locker room. There’s a lot of smiling in this facility. There’s a lot of good energy inside the building.
JM: We love to hear that. This is the first time you’ve been in training camp with the Titans. Do you feel like you have something to prove to yourself?
RD: I most definitely do. Since I came out of college, I’ve always felt like I have the talent and ability to play in this league. I’m excited about the opportunity to make the final roster. It’s all about finding the place that fits you well. Timing is everything. Like you said earlier, I’m trying to find that stability. I’m definitely trying to prove to myself that I have the ability and skill-set to not only make this team, but to be a difference maker.
JM: You were an electric punt returner at JMU, but you’re a wide receiver first and foremost. How do you like to play the wide receiver position?
RD: I’m a quick, fast and shifty receiver. I also have the size to play on the outside. I’ve put on some weight this off-season. I made that a priority over the summer. It allows me to play on the outside with greater efficiency.
I’ve been working on my route running as well. I feel like I’ve always been a good route runner but you can always improve. I’ve been working on different stems and what not. I’m working on running routes without making them look too similar. It’s going to help me embrace that role as a receiver and not just as a punt returner or special teams player.
JM: This coaching staff enjoys giving their players tape of other players around the league. Who are some receivers that you’ve watched tape on? Have you picked up a trick or two from anybody in particular?
RD: I had a lot of time on my hands to watch tape this off-season with the quarantine and what not. We had a lot of down time. I was watching tape on just about every prominent receiver in the league. I was paying close attention to what works for them. I was trying to pick up a few new tricks.
I also looked for similarities. I took some mental notes on different releases and what not. I love seeing how different receivers approach the game. I took notes on everything. I embraced it and tried to apply some of that to my game.
JM: We’ve talked about route running. Do you have a favorite route to run?
RD: I don’t know that I do to be honest. I honestly just try to practice every type of route, whether that’s a go route or something with a lot more cuts. I like to be prepared for any situation I might be throw into.
JM: You originally came into the league as an un-drafted free agent and you have found a way to survive. “Survive” is a key word when it comes to being an un-drafted free agent. UDFA’s are facing a very unique challenge this year, even more-so than usual. Camp doesn’t look like its looked in the past, and there are no pre-season games. What advice are you giving the UDFA’s on this team?
RD: They need to approach every day like it’s their last. Every day is a brand new day to prove yourself. You can’t think too much about the day before, whether you did something good or bad. It’s in the past now. You have to take every moment with a grain of salt. You have to be ready to work. You can’t slack off.
This year is different like you said. We don’t have any pre-season games. You’re missing those reps. Every rep in practice just became that much more important. Practice reps are game reps nowadays. Mental reps are also important. Pay attention to how the veterans conduct themselves.
JM: What’s it like working with receivers coach Rob Moore?
RD: It’s great to be honest with you. He was a great receiver in this league. He has a lot of experience. He’s coached some great players in this league, guys like Amari Cooper and everybody else they had in Oakland.
He’s a good guy. He has a lot of stories and insight. He knows so many techniques to help you improve your game. Outside of coaching, he’s a great father. He can help you off the field as well. He keeps his arms open to us. He makes us feel very comfortable.
JM: I love that. Is there one defensive back on this team that you really enjoy practicing against?
RD: When I was here last year, I definitely enjoyed going up against Adoree Jackson. When I was in college, I was watching his highlights at USC. Seeing the type of player he is in person has given me so many great experiences. I love doing battle with him. Once you start practicing against cornerbacks of his skill-set, it makes you feel like you can go up against anybody in this league. That was one of the guys that I really loved going against last year.
JM: You’re both former track stars.
RD: Yeah, we are (laughs). He definitely has some speed to him. We had some fun, speedy battles. It’s always a competition between us when we’re out there. It’s fun competition, though. It’s all love.
JM: Who’s faster?
RD: We never lined up and raced (laughs). The receivers are planning to race one another by the end of camp. We need to see who’s the fastest receiver on the team. We have some speed in our room.
JM: I’m betting on you or Kalif Raymond to win that one.
RD: Oh yeah, most definitely. Don’t sleep on A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. They’d give us a run for our money. Cameron Batson is another one. We have some speed in this room.
JM: That’s great. We always hear about what a tight-knit group this is. If you were going to war tomorrow and could only bring one teammate with you, who would you bring and why?
RD: That’s a tough question. I gotta go with Kalif [Raymond]. He’s like a thief in the night (laughs). Kalif is a ninja warrior. If I gave him a catana or something, he’d go to work out there (laughs). He gets busy on Call of Duty as well. I play Call of Duty as well. We rack up the kills. We’re either gonna die together or ride together (laughs).
JM: Rodger Saffold has his esports company, Rise. They’re big in the Call of Duty space. You need to play with Rodger’s team if you haven’t already.
RD: I have to do that. I didn’t even know about all that. I have to speak with Rodger.
JM: Tell him Justin Melo sent you.
RD: I’m definitely gonna let him know (laughs).
JM: Have you played with Kenny Vaccaro?
RD: I haven’t but I know he gets busy on there as well. I play with my guys and I’ve never really thought about streaming. I definitely have to tap into that market a little more.
JM: We love that. I’m curious to get your thoughts on your XFL experience. You were actually the No. 1 overall pick in the XFL draft. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is part of a group that just purchased the league and plans to revive it.
RD: I wasn’t on an NFL team at the time. A former collegiate teammate of mine put me in touch with the D.C. Defenders franchise. I ended up working out for them a week before the draft. That’s what lead to them drafting me No. 1 overall. I went up there and had a good meeting with them.
Tennessee actually wound up signing me before the XFL kicked off. I felt like it was a good league. They were headed in the right direction before Covid-19 shut everything down. I felt like it was an exciting league. The fans seemed into it.
I feel like The Rock got a steal at $15 million. He purchased an entire league for $15 million. I definitely think it can turn into something big.
It’s also a great opportunity for the players that didn’t get their initial chance in the NFL. Leagues like the XFL give you an opportunity to prove yourself and revive your career. Anything is better than nothing at all.
JM: We can all agree that more football is a good thing. There are so many talented players that don’t get a chance. I’ve been doing this for a while now and I see it all the time. I spoke with Kalif Raymond about this. Look how long it took him to get a fair chance. We’ve seen how talented he is. He got a chance and now he’s catching touchdowns in the playoffs. So many guys never get that chance. How many talented guys never get a chance?
RD: I couldn’t agree with you more. I understand that it’s difficult for the NFL to keep everybody around. There are only so many roster spots to go around. Money always plays a role. It’s tough. The XFL will definitely shed a light on some underrated talent.
I hope those players start to get endorsement deals and what not. Hopefully it turns into something like the D-league for the NBA. The Rock can bring this back to life and keep it going for the players that need it.
I played my college ball at JMU. Coming from there, it’s not that big of a school. We only started to get a bit more exposure as of late. We weren’t really on the map while I was there. We have a lot of players that get overlooked, guys that have talent and can play with guys from bigger schools but they get overlooked by the league.
The XFL will give these players a great chance to prove themselves.
JM: I love that. We’ve really appreciated your time today, Rashard. What are your goals like over these next few weeks?
RD: I’m gonna continue to progress. I’m just approaching every day one at a time. I’m trying to improve my game every single day. As long as I continue to focus on trying to elevate my game and being the best player that I can be for this team, things will continue to move in the right direction for me. I’m not getting ahead of myself. I’m taking it one step at a time. I’m not letting the small mistakes set me back.