, the 5'11" runningback out of Clemson was a New Years Baby, being born on January 1, 1986.
The Cleveland Browns picked him up with high expectations of the now 24 year old runningback. He excelled at training camp in 2009 as a rookie, but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after Week 1 last year and never got the opportunity to live up to his expected potential. He was ultimately placed on Injured Reserve in October, when he followed up with surgery via Dr. James Andrews in Alabama to repair a torn labrum in the shoulder. In late March of 2010 Davis stated that he was past the shoulder injury that landed him on IR last season, stating "The rehab process went really (well), right now, I'm 100 percent, but I'm only getting stronger."
James Davis signed a four year contract with the Cleveland Browns in July of 2009.
A year ago James was an ultimate stud in training camp, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He broke a run for an 81 yard touchdown, and looked poised to replace Jamal Lewis as the feature back. "Davis led the team in rushing with 187 yards on 24 attempts, running past defenders like they were out of position, leaving them groping at his dust trails" states "The Plain Dealer." Davis was warned by coaches and teammates that the speed of the game would pick up in the opener against the Minnesota Vikings, and sure enough, the holes disappeared. Davis simply looked overmatched. The last hit, Davis was leveled by Viking cornerback Antoine Winfield. Then, adding insult to injury a few weeks later Davis was hurt in one of Coach Eric Mangini's "opportunity periods" after a team practice. Reinjuring his shoulder again in a one-on-one blocking drill. ESPN.com reported that witnesses said Davis was not wearing pads while the player who hit him was wearing pads. ESPN went on to note that unidentified union sources were "outraged." Numerous conflicting reports were made, and the result was no punishment to Mangini or the Browns.
Since then the Browns made a high draft pick choice by adding runningback Montario Hardesty
, and traded for veteran Peyton Hillis, all competing with three-game sensation Jerome Harrison
, who appears to be leading the pack.
Davis made comments to Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer: "I can't waite to get to the season, that's what I've been working for. I want to prove people wrong, that James Davis is the real deal. I just want my shot."
With injuries to newly acquired runningback Peyton Hillis and rookie Montario Hardesty, the Browns have been giving Davis a lot of reps. Jerome Harrison is the expected starter, but anything can happen. Should Davis get back to his rookie preseason studism, I would think he would be the man.
Mike Holmgren is a smart man, a real smart football mind. He alone will make Cleveland a better team. As for challenging for the division title and / or the playoffs, it's only a matter of time, providing Holmgren gets what he wants, and his players react in kind. The second option here, being the challenge.
The Browns did in fact win their last four games of 2009. With a West Coast Offense implementing Run First, the Browns needed to have a deep backfield. Next year I expect Cleveland to concentrate on a prime wide out, and as long as Josh Cribbs remains healthy, they will be starting their offensive runs at a better position than recent years.
I tend to like Montarrio Hardesty and James Davis as a two headed monster, but only time will tell. I certainly hope Cleveland can open holes for the running game.