The trade of receiver/returner Trevor Davis to the Raiders, for a sixth round draft pick came out of the blue. As with the release of Mike Daniels, the unusual timing of this move is suggestive.
Daniels was released the same day he reported to Packers’ training camp – I continue to maintain he showed up seriously overweight and out of shape. The joke’s on Detroit, for picking him up for a year at a head-scratching $9.1 million. After two games, he’s been on the field for less than 30% of the defensive plays.
Daniels is not injured. The team depth chart has him behind Damon Harrison, a humongous (353 pounds) DT who has hung around the NFL since going undrafted in 2012. Big Mike has one assisted tackle on the year – looks like he’s burned out and just wants to collect the checks for a final season. And it looks like GM Gutekunst saw it coming.
But back to Davis, one wonders whether he was sent away because he failed to call for a fair catch last Sunday, got crunched by a gunner at full speed, and was lucky to hang onto the ball? I think that’s just part of the story.
Special teamers are always eager to showcase themselves, which sometimes leads them to ignoring coaches’ orders. The results can be disastrous. You probably recall Brandon Bostick stepping in front of sure-hands Jordy Nelson to catch an onside kick. And how about Ty Montgomery ill-advisedly trying to return a Rams’ kickoff deep in the end zone in mid-2018 and fumbling away a chance to win the game.
I don’t think it was just the one miscalculation by Davis that sealed his fate. Trevor handled seven fair catches in the season’s first two games, and almost every time I watched him delay signaling for a fair catch, and at the last instant reaching forward to tenuously grab the ball. He seemed to be pressing to make a return. My guess is that ST Coach Shawn Mennenda tried to correct this and Davis didn’t listen – it seemed a costly turnover was becoming inevitable.
At any rate, the Packers filled the roster spot by obtaining Tremon Smith off waivers. A sixth-round choice of the Chiefs in 2018, Smith had 33 kickoff returns as a rookie, averaging a decent 26.8 yards per return. The Chiefs were uncertain about how to utilize Smith, as they tried him as both a running back and a cornerback. Smith, who’s slight at 6’ and 190 pounds, seems a better match as a punt returner than a kick returner.
What position might the Packers try Smith at? In his four years at Central Arkansas, Smith had 15 interceptions, and was once named a third-team FCS All-American. We do know Gutekunst is wild about speedy players. Though Smith did not attend the NFL Combine, I believe he was timed at a Pro Day event at 4.40 seconds in the 60-yard dash.