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NASHVILLE – One of Nate Davis’ Christmas gifts last year was most unwanted.

On Dec. 25, 2021, the Tennessee Titans announced they’d placed their starting right guard on the Reserve – COVID-19 list ... for the second time that season.

It was that kind of year in some respects for the 2019 third-round draft pick. In addition to the two COVID stints, Davis missed a number of days in training camp with an undisclosed injury and then missed three full games due to concussion symptoms.

As training camp approaches, the Titans hope Davis will resume his upward trajectory in 2022, after a 2021 season that saw him plateau – or even slip a bit.

“For Nate, it’s just consistency,” offensive line coach Keith Carter said. “I think it’s just like everything in professional football -- executing at a high level on a consistent basis.”

There’s little doubt COVID and the concussion had a significant impact on Davis’ 2021 season.

Though he never missed a game because of COVID, the disease stole 10 days of preparation time for Davis just before the season opener, and then sidelined him again just before the final two regular-season games.

“That definitely hit and it’s real,” Davis said. “So just being able to bounce back from that and have a full season where I don’t have to worry about that hopefully, God willing, will be awesome.

“Getting it twice affects you -- your conditioning, your strength and even a little bit of your confidence. There’s a reason why COVID is huge in the United States and the world in general.”

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The concussion issues cost him three games in the latter half of the season – against the Rams, Texans and Patriots – as well as the practices leading up to those contests.

Davis finished 2021 with an overall blocking grade of 69.2, per Pro Football Focus, a dip from his mark of 71.1 in 2020. His biggest issue was pass-blocking. The 6-foo-3, 316-pounder's grade in that category was just 49.5, which ranked him 32nd of 36 guards who played at least 1,000 snaps last season.

But even as he battled through injury and illness, there were encouraging signs as the season progressed.

After he surrendered four sacks in his first five games, for instance, Davis allowed just one in his last 10, including the Titans’ playoff contest. Also, two of Davis’ top pass-blocking performances came in the team’s final three regular-season games, per PFF.

“I think he improved as the year went on last year,” Carter said. “We can come up with a million excuses. But he missed camp because of injuries and everything else. It took him a minute to get in his groove from a protection standpoint. I think he did, and I’m hoping we can build from that.”

The 25-year-old Davis said he’s made his health an even bigger priority since the end of last offseason, noting that he was both “thinner and bigger” after adding muscle while maintaining his same weight.

“I added a nutritionist, and I added a personal chef for myself,” Davis said. “Everything we do is strategic in a way, from January until now. So I’ll be able to carry that to the season. It’s going to make a huge difference, I feel.”

The Titans need all the stability they can get on the offensive line, as the team lost starting left guard Rodger Saffold and starting right tackle David Quessenberry in the offseason.

Davis, meanwhile, is heading into a contract season and will be playing for his future – a sign of how quickly time has passed.

“I was actually thinking about that,” Davis said, recalling his rookie season. “I was kind of wide-eyed, just trying to figure out my role and figure out the city, just a lot going on.

“But now it’s more comfortable. I understand what I need to do for this team. I understand where I need to be, how to conduct myself off the field as well as on the field. So I would say it’s a big difference.”