If I didn’t know any better, I would think the only storyline of the preseason was the Brady Quinn-Derek Anderson competition, which seems all but over after Saturday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. By the way, if you want my pick, the job has to go to Quinn. He was efficient, crisp, and wasn’t flagged on Saturday just for standing on the sideline. Not that Derek Anderson played terribly; Quinn just had a certain something going for him.
However, this isn’t totally about Quinn. Lost in all this quarterback talk is the play of rookie running back James Davis. You know, the sixth-round pick out of Clemson that has quietly been having the best preseason of anyone on the Browns. For that matter, Davis is having one of the most impressive preseasons of anyone in the NFL. He’s garnering plenty of buzz around the league, and for good reason; he had yet another good game against the Titans, rushing for 28 yards on five attempts in addition to his 27 yards on four catches.
With all of the rave reviews Davis has been getting, it’s a surprise he isn’t getting more attention, despite his performance on Saturday described as only “decent.” To say that the Browns’ quarterbacks were “without a running game” on Saturday makes me wonder what game some of these writers were watching. Sure, Jamal Lewis is beginning to show his age, but Davis has been a spark plug to the running game. It really would not be a surprise to me at all if Davis became the starter by the end of the season, especially with Jerome Harrison missing as much time as he has.
There was a gigantic, dark cloud lingering over the future of the Browns’ running game going into this season, as Jamal Lewis will not be around in 2010. Davis’ emergence has at least given the fans hope that there will be some sort of a running game going into next season. Could the Browns really have found a gem in James Davis? Only time – and regular season games – will tell.
Fantasy Tip: If you’re an owner of a fantasy football team, as I am, Davis is worth looking into at some point. Lewis is obviously the starter for the time being, but his age and production so far this preseason is certainly a cause for concern. Keep an eye on Davis and be ready to pick him up when he finally gets his chance, although the chance for carries could be there right from the start.