The Washington Football Team has made a few notable acquisitions this off season. One of the most impactful may also be the most unsung in veteran linebacker Thomas Davis. Washington already has a very talented group of linebackers coming into the season outside of the Thomas Davis addition, but the acquisition still makes sense considering Davis played for Ron Rivera for multiple years in Carolina. Davis was regarded as the consummate professional during his tenure there, not to mention he played football at a high level. Currently 37 years old, no one knows exactly how much gas Davis has left in the tank, but he will definitely have brand new energy being reunited with his former head coach for another go around.
Thomas Davis was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the 14th overall pick in 2005. He was the first SAFETY drafted that year. That’s right, Thomas Davis started his career off as a strong safety and started week one of his rookie season after the original starting safety, Colin Branch was injured. Davis has lasted 16 seasons as an undersized outside linebacker weighing just 230 pounds. It’s definitely worth mentioning considering football is such a physically demanding and brutal sport. Davis has lasted as long as he has playing the outside linebacker position where you receive contact on every down. Last season was the first Davis did not play in a Carolina uniform after they mutually parted ways at the conclusion of the 2018 season. He was then signed to a two-year deal with the LA Chargers, and finished the season with them only to be released in March 2020 when he subsequently signed with the then Washington Redskins.
Washington will benefit from Davis’ knowledge of the defense after he played under Ron Rivera from 2011-2018. Rivera loves Davis’ toughness and his understanding of what winning football looks like. His leadership qualities seem to be at the top of the list of attributes the entire team will benefit from. Certain players just understand how to set the tempo for practice. They understand how to elevate the guys around them and motivate them to play at their maximum level. Davis is that guy. His age, I’m sure will be brought up frequently however long his tenure is with the team, and it will motivate him to continue to prove he is capable of playing football at a high level.
Washington outside linebacker Ryan Anderson could possibly benefit the most from having Thomas Davis on the roster. Anderson has struggled to find his niche, but has shown flashes over the course of his 2 year career. The latter part of the 2019 season, we began to see some more consistency from Anderson. A situation like this is ideal for Davis in that he can come in and share some of his wisdom with a young kid on the cusp of being a pro bowl type of talent with some more seasoning entering his third year. The problem for Anderson is the same man he will be learning from is going to be trying to take his position. In an off season ruined by COVID, Davis is the ideal player to come in and play without a real preseason because he understands the system, and doesn’t need practice to get acclimated to it. Anderson will need game simulated repetitions to do so. That’s not to say they both couldn’t possibly start, and Jon Bostic, Cole Holcomb, or any one of the other possible starters at linebacker could be out of a job.
The main thing about this Thomas Davis pickup that fans need to understand is there is literally no risk or negative angle to bringing a player of his caliber into Washington’s camp. The guy simply checks every box you could ask for from a player outside of his violation of the league’s performance enhancing drug policy in 2018. There is one thing I can guarantee about Washington’s defense this season and that is their linebacker core will be amongst the best prepared in the league. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio has a history of not only having talented defenses, but he also has potent linebacker groups. Thomas Davis may or may not make the Washington Football Team roster this season, but you can be rest assured that his mark will be left one way or another if he is given an opportunity. As you were…