COSTA MESA – Michael Davis has significantly more competition surrounding him in the Chargers' cornerback room than what he encountered just a season ago.
By brining in the additions of J.C. Jackson and Bryce Callahan via free agency, and Ja'Sir Taylor and Deane Leonard via the draft, Davis has looked eager as ever in training camp to show his value to the defense.
Davis, 27, shared last Wednesday about how his off-the-field circumstances followed him onto the field and really held back his productivity.
“Last year, for me, was a year with a lot of distractions, on the field and also off of the field," Davis said last week, reflecting on his 2021 season. "I think that came into play into my game, like inconsistency. I think we’re past that. Effort, I think it’s all about effort this year.
“Distractions in my personal life, my previous girlfriend. Whatever happens off of the field comes onto the field, and vice-versa. I just think that last year was filled with distractions. This year, I’m able to eliminate all of the distractions go back to my myself, the way that I’ve been doing it before last year. We’re going up from here.”
Davis played in the first quarter of the Chargers' first preseason game on Saturday night against the Rams. He recorded two tackles and one pass breakup, while working the boundary portion of the field.
"I thought he covered well. I felt like he was connected. He was good in run support off the crack-replace, which we've really encouraged him to improve," Staley said of Davis after the game on Saturday. "He moved around a little bit for us tonight. It was good to get him out there. Like I said, I think those guys in the secondary playing together, getting us off to a good start, I thought that was important tonight."
He continued his encouraging efforts during Tuesday's training camp practice, logging a pass breakup across the middle of the field, followed up on the next play with a pick-six off quarterback Justin Herbert when attempting a throw towards the sideline.
Following Tuesday's practice, head coach Brandon Staley said Davis and second-year player Asante Samuel Jr. are competing for a spot at outside cornerback.
"Those guys are competing. They’re both competing well," Staley said. "We feel like they’re both starting-caliber corners. We feel like, with our top four corners, that we have four starting-caliber NFL corners. We have two guys, for sure, that can play Star, as well, with Asante and [CB] Bryce [Callahan]. I know that [CB] J.C. [Jackson] could do it. That’s good for our football team. We wanted it to be an open competition. It has been. It’s going to continue to be. Those guys are both playing well for us. We’re excited to see them the next two days versus Dallas.”
Staley and the rest of the Chargers' staff will receive another in-depth evaluation of Davis in live action.
Throughout camp, Davis has seen time with the first and second-team defense during 11-on-11s. He's likely to get looks with both units over the next two days when the Chargers hold joint practice efforts with the Cowboys.
Davis also has been rotating in on special teams as one of the gunners. It's unclear which players will consume that role come Week 1 of the regular season, but Davis looks to be firmly in consideration.
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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.