Chiefs running back Knile Davis wants to play. He believes he’s shown he can contribute to the team and is convinced he will prove it again.
But until that day comes, Davis, who was a healthy scratch for the Chiefs’ 29-13 win over the Denver Broncos, has a plan for handling what has, thus far, been a tough year.
“Man, I’ve been good, I’ve just been staying ready, man,” Davis said. “And whenever my opportunity comes, I’m going to be ready to take advantage of it. Just right now, I’m keeping my head up, keeping a good attitude.”
Not that it has been easy. Davis, a third-round pick in 2013, opened the season as Jamaal Charles’ primary backup and the No. 1 kick returner. But when Charles was injured, Charcandrick West — an undrafted free agent in 2014 — took over the lead role in the Chiefs’ offense in mid-October.
Davis’ playing time has only decreased from there. He started losing carries to Spencer Ware, who served as the No. 2 back Sunday, and in the same game, De’Anthony Thomas assumed Davis’ role as the top kick returner — though Davis currently leads the division in kick-return average.
“They’re just kind of telling me it’s better for the team, a lot of different people can do more things or whatever the case may be,” Davis said. “But for whatever reason, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve just got to stay ready.”
But was he surprised when he was told he would be inactive Sunday?
“Yeah, definitely,” Davis said. “I asked why, and they just told me they wanted to try (Saalim) Hakim. They didn’t really tell me that I did anything wrong. It was just, kind of, a business move.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after that game that the decision to make Davis inactive was because of the special-teams skills of Hakim, a defensive back who was recently signed off the practice squad. Hakim was activated for the first time Sunday and served as a gunner on punt and a corner on punt return. He also participated on the field-goal block and kick-coverage units.
Through it all, however, Reid has maintained he has not lost faith in Davis, who had some success as Charles’ primary backup in 2014, rushing for 318 yards in 70 carries (a solid average of 4.5 yards per carry) during a three-game stretch when Charles was banged up.
This year Davis, after rushing 134 times for 463 yards and six touchdowns last season, is on track to carry the ball only 37 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns. But Reid said Monday that Davis has a lot of good days ahead, which Davis agrees with.
“I believe him, I believe I’m a good player, I feel like I’ve shown I’m a good player,” Davis said. “So I’m just waiting.”