A big pass catching tight end can be a quarterbacks best friend, and when the tight end is 6'7", 267 pounds, and as athletically gifted as Kellen Davis, he's worth getting to know. Davis entertained the idea of playing in Dallas during the off season, but the promise from the Bears to actually, you know, utilize the position, prompted him to resign with Chicago.
Through the first 3 games, Davis didn't look very good. He only had one dropped pass, although it seems like he had more. The perception of his dropping more passes is due to him stumbling and falling when the balls in the air. There were a few occasions where he seemed to be in position to make a catch, but his feet failed him. According to Pro Football Focus he has been targeted 14 times to accumulate his 6 catches, for a poor catch percentage of 42.9%. To put that number in perspective, of the 33 tight ends that have played at least half of their teams stats, Davis' catch percentage is 33rd.
Part of that can be attributed to Jay Cutler's shaky accuracy though the first 3 games, but part of it is on Davis for not making the athletic plays on the ball that he should be making. Like the play last night that saved an interception, as he stole the ball from the Cowboy defender.
Against the Cowboys Davis had 3 catches for 62 yards, but that's only part of the story. All three of his grabs were on 3rd down, and all three were enough to move the chains. His first catch was at midfield on a 3rd and 10, and he hauled it in for 16 yards. Catch #2 was on a 3rd and 4 from Chicago's 36, and Davis picked up 21 yards. His final catch was a 25 yarder, and it came while the Bears were trying to ice the game in the 4th quarter on a 3rd and 3 from their own 40.
His blocking still is a work in progress, but it's not nearly as bad as some believe. Unfortunately for him, the first play of the season was a sack that he gave up due to bad technique. It's a tough image for us fans to shoo out of our minds. Missed blocks are often replayed to the television audience so we see the mistake over, and over, and over. How often do they replay a blocker squaring up a defender and shielding him from the play? It's not nearly as much as the bad play. Since the week 1 sack, he hasn't given up another, let alone a hurry or a QB hit.
Pro Football Focus has Davis graded out negatively in only one game so far. Against the Packers on Thursday Night Football he had a -2.4 overall grade that was helped along by a -2.4 in the run blocking category. Week 1 against the Colts he was +1.2 overall with a high mark of +1.6 in his run blocking. Against the Rams in week three he had a neutral grade, and last night he was back in the positive with a +2.3.
Davis can do it. He can be that guy that Cutler looks to when Brandon Marshall is drawing double teams. Davis can be the guy that Greg Olsen was when he and Cutler were on the same page, and hopefully last night was a glimpse into that being a reality.