It’s probably not the most illustrious title, but Seattle Seahawks defensive end/linebacker Dexter Davis has earned the distinction of Mr. August after two preseason games.
Even hard-to-please linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. gushed over the improvement Davis has made since joining the team in April.
“If there is one player who would be the MVP of the camp, one guy who came in at a certain level and has risen from Day 1, it’s Dexter Davis,” Norton said. “He’s been more than we ever could have thought.”
Care to elaborate, Ken?
“He’s been strong. He hasn’t missed a day of camp. He’s been playing (outside linebacker) and helping out at (defensive end) pass rushing. Doesn’t say nothing and does everything you ask of him. I’m extremely impressed with him. He’s certainly someone we can’t stop talking about.”
A seventh-round pick by the team in this year’s draft, Davis has been as good as advertised. He leads the team in tackles (10) and sacks (2) in the exhibition season, showing a natural ability to rush the passer for a team sorely lacking talented edge rushers.
And he’s competently made the switch from a lean defensive end at 6-foot-1, 244 pounds to linebacker, playing behind starting outside linebacker Aaron Curry and appearing to pick up the new schemes and positioning on the field well.
Helping Davis’ cause was the fact he got a lot of reps during the first week of camp when Curry was sidelined with a concussion.
He said the extra work helped.
“Any chance you get to showcase what you’ve got is definitely great,” Davis said. “I got to learn a lot just being in there. And Curry helped me out with the assignments and alignments and everything. So it’s a learning process.”
But Davis has had the most impact rushing the passer. He started 50 games for Arizona State, the most starts of any player in school history, and left the Sun Devils with 31 career sacks, finishing only behind Terrell Suggs (44) and Shante Carver (41).
Davis notched an impressive trifecta during the second half of Seattle’s game Saturday against Green Bay, sacking quarterback Matt Flynn, stripping the ball and recovering the fumble.
“It’s a great feeling, you know when you beat a guy one-on-one and then the quarterback is just sitting there waiting for you, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “I just try to make the most of it every time.”
Along with playing with the second-team defense, Davis also is working on every special teams unit, a likely area of focus for him if he makes the 53-man roster.
“That’s such a big factor for me as a rookie,” he said. “I know I’ve got to come in, and that’s probably how I will contribute most during the season. I’ve got to focus on that as well as learning the defense and picking up everything I can.”
Davis’ play has not gone unnoticed by coach Pete Carroll.
“I’m really fired up for Dexter,” Carroll said. “He’s making a big statement about making the team, and having a role on the club. He just kind of keeps doing it. There’s a lot of consistency as we see it, and it’s carrying over to the game, so we have to find a spot for that guy pretty quick here.”