With five running backs on the roster, Davis — who finished the 2017 season as Seattle's starter — might be the odd man out. But he's willing to fill any role in the preseason to prove that he belongs.
Mike Davis is still a Seahawk.
Remember him? In 2017, the 5-foot-9, 217-pound running back started the team’s final five games, contributing 240 rushing yards, 131 receiving yards and 3.5 yards per carry in his first season in Seattle.
In March, after visiting the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions, he opted to sign a one-year deal worth $1.35 million to return to the Seahawks.
“Seattle was the first team to give me an opportunity (after being waived by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017), so that’s something that’s always in the back of my head,” the former South Carolina Gamecock said of his decision to return to Seattle. “That’s something that just stuck with me. I could have been out on the street somewhere, but Seattle took a chance on me.”
But how many more chances are the Seahawks willing to give? The talk of training camp, through eight practices, has been second-year running back Chris Carson, who has returned from a broken leg to reclaim his starting job. In Saturday’s scrimmage, starting quarterback Russell Wilson hit Carson down the sideline on the first play from scrimmage for an untouched 65-yard score.
Oh, and have you heard about Rashaad Penny? In April, the Seahawks snatched the former San Diego State standout with the 27th overall pick of the NFL Draft. On Saturday, he showed why, wiggling around blocks and swallowing turf with long, powerful strides en route to a 57-yard gain.
It’s easy to fall in love with Carson’s frame and physicality, or Penny’s blend of size and speed, or J.D. McKissic and C.J. Prosise’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and contribute in special teams.
In an increasingly crowded running back room, it’s easy to forget about Mike Davis.
Unless you’re Pete Carroll.
“He’s been very effective,” the Seahawks’ head coach said of Davis’ performance in training camp. “As a matter of fact, his best day of camp was yesterday. He had a really good day. I can’t tell you too much about today, but Mike has been very elusive. He’s been consistent. He’s been versatile.
“He can play throughout all of the calls at that position, catching the football and running routes, blocking and all that.”
Davis certainly showed that in last season’s limited December audition, stacking up an impressive 15 catches on 18 targets. He says he can do it all.
And to make the team, he’s willing to prove it.
“Whatever (first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) needs me to do, I’m with it,” Davis said. “If he needs me out wide, if he needs me to run a guy over, if he needs me to run past a guy, if he needs me to juke a guy, I’m here to do it all.”
Just don’t ask Davis to compete with his fellow running backs.
With a roster spot on the line, he’s turned the focus on himself.
“My motivation is always myself. I’m not in competition with anybody,” Davis said. “I know what I can come out here and do. I’m always coming out here and competing, but at the end of the day I’m competing with myself. I’m just coming out here and showing the coaches what I can do.”
Perhaps his most impactful opportunity to do that will come on Thursday, when the Seahawks kick off the preseason by hosting the Indianapolis Colts. In doing so, the team will unveil a retooled offense tailored around an increased devotion to the power run game.
In Saturday’s scrimmage, that starting offense produced four touchdowns in four drives, as the blue team battered an overmatched backup defense in a 28-6 win.
But was it simply an inept opponent, or a sign of things to come?
“With the offense, man, Schotty’s putting together a great playbook,” Davis said. “As you can see today, we kind of beat the brakes off of the white team.
“I’m just playing. We just look to be explosive. We’re looking to get the run game going first and then just come out with explosive plays.”
At this point, there’s no telling how many of Seattle’s five running backs will ultimately be allowed to do that. When asked about it on Saturday, Carroll said he’s “not worried about it at all.”
Davis — still, for now, a Seahawk — didn’t seem all that worried about it, either.
“That’s something for the coaches to figure out,” the 25-year-old running back said. “But at the end of the day, I love all my teammates. I’m the oldest guy in the room. I’m always looking forward to helping each and every one of the guys.
“So it’s not about competition to me. It’s up to the coaches, and I guess we’ll see how it goes during preseason.”