The Difference a Year Makes

Posted Oct 23, 2014

Austin Davis has come a long way in one year. Read about his progress from insider Myles Simmons.

A lot can happen over the course of a year. As Austin Davis prepares to start against the Chiefs on Sunday, that’s a fact the quarterback surely knows.

It was on this date in 2013 that Davis re-signed with the Rams following Sam Bradford’s season-ending injury.

“A lot of guys never get a ‘second chance’ in this league,” Davis said on Wednesday. “It can be tough. I looked at it as kind of a second chance to get back in the door and keep working.”

And now just one year later, the man whose records Davis broke at Southern Miss has said the young quarterback has a chance to perform like one of the Rams’ all-time greats.

“Not to sound off my rocker, but [Davis] -- in my mind -- can be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner,” Favre told ESPN this week. “[Brian] Hoyer as well. Austin, like those mentioned, just needed a legit opportunity.”

“That’s certainly a compliment coming from Brett, considering what Brett accomplished,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said after yesterday’s practice. “I’m sure Austin would appreciate that.”

As fellow Golden Eagles, Davis and Favre have met and occasionally communicate through text messages. The St. Louis quarterback said on Wednesday that he had a chance to meet Favre and throw a bit with him when he was preparing for the draft a few years ago. There was, however, one downside to working with the known flamethrower.

“Couldn’t quite throw it like he could,” Davis said.

But when it comes to that comparison, Davis said he’s just trying to forage his own path.

“I don’t want to be the next anybody -- just want to be the first Austin Davis,” he said.

As he continues the season as the Rams’ starting quarterback, Davis said he’s enjoying the detailed aspects of preparation.

“It’s real fun to see how we attack some of the same coverages from week to week,” Davis said. “You can’t run all the same plays. So, we’ll kind of mix things up. It’s been fun to experience that.

“Then it’s also fun to go to some of these stadiums -- I’ve never been,” Davis continued. “It’s all a new experience.”

And while he said he’s getting into more of a routine when it comes to preparing for each opponent, that doesn’t necessarily make things easier.

“I feel like that’s what I’ve learned is you’ve got to approach every game as it’s own game,” Davis said. “It’s newer and defenses do different things and you’ve got different game plans. It’s more of a focus on what you’re trying to get done and what the game plan is.”

The quarterback said he appreciates how offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer can be flexible when it comes to running or not running certain plays.

“If there’s a play I don’t like or I’m really not seeing it for some reason, he’ll take it out for me,” Davis said. “I think that’s really been awesome for him to have that kind of confidence in me just to say, ‘Hey if you don’t see it, we don’t have to run it.’”

As for this week, Arrowhead Stadium is famous for being loud, with fans setting a Guinness World Record for a 142.2 decibel crowd roar in September. But Fisher said he’s not concerned about the quarterback’s ability to run the offense at the stadium.

“He’ll handle that,” Fisher said. “It’s one of those deals where it’s hard to be perfect in that environment. But he’ll make good decisions, and we have to help him with different things here and there.”

“I think you get used to crowd noises,” Davis said. “You kind of get used to using your cadence and doing some different things to handle it. Hopefully, it won’t be an issue.”

One of the factors that Davis will certainly have to prepare for is the Chiefs pass defense, which comes in at No. 2 in the league (209.0 yards per game). Fisher complimented Kanas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton for the way the unit creates pressure on quarterbacks as one of the reasons it’s successful.

“They’re well coached, not sophisticated, and they just execute,” Fisher said. “Coach Sutton’s been a creative defensive coach for a lot of years. He’s worked in a lot of interesting systems and now he’s got his mark on this defense.”

As for the quarterback making his mark on the St. Louis offense, Davis will be ready for Sunday’s opportunity -- just as he was when he came back to the Rams one year ago.

“These are the types of things that happen every year,” Davis said. “That’s why you’ve got to be prepared no matter where you’re at on the depth chart. No matter what your situation is you just work and be a good teammate and see what works out.”