QB ON STANDBY
Davis serious about backup role
A ustin Davis has played in the background this season for the Broncos, backing up the backup quarterback. As the thirdstring quarterback, his role is always on standby. But Broncos general manager John Elway signed Davis in the first week of the season for a reason. He has a history of staying on top of the game.
Davis was a walk-on in college at Southern Mississippi, and after redshirting his first year, he immediately won the job as a freshman in 2008. He threw for more than 3,000 yards his first season and in two more after it, finishing his college career with more than 10,000 yards passing.
In the NFL, he followed the same pattern, going undrafted in 2012 before earning backup stints with the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns. After the Broncos cut Mark Sanchez at the roster deadline before the season, they signed the 27-year-old Davis as an emergency quarterback.
Davis on Sunday will be active for the second time this season, with Trevor Siemian out because of a foot sprain. He will back up rookie Paxton Lynch. Davis on Friday talked about his move to the Broncos and the keys to always being prepared as a quarterback:
Q: How has the transition to Denver gone for you this season?
A: It’s been really good. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this quarterback room. I just tried to catch up early in the season, trying to learn the offense. But now I feel really good. It’s a normal, weekly schedule for me now.
Q: What’s the hardest part about joining a new team, something with football or with the move?
A: All of it. The logistics of getting settled, finding a place to live, all that kind of stuff. But the football part is what you focus on. You don’t let the rest of the stuff get in your way. I lived in a Ramada for about a month looking for a place. But it’s all good now.
Q: Actually, when I’m on the road sometimes, it’s really helpful to stay in a boring place. It forces you to focus on work.
A: When I was in the Ramada, that’s all I could do. I went home and studied playbooks. I had nothing else to do. I didn’t know anybody. So it is helpful.
Q: You’ve been really good at this from the very beginning. Did being a walk-on at Southern Miss prepare you for coming in from the outside and figuring things out on the fly in the NFL?
A: Maybe. With my personality, I just hate being unprepared. I hate not being able to say that I did everything I could do to be successful. My dad instilled that in me at a young age, about working hard at all things. I’ve always had that mindset. It helps. The other thing is, as a quarterback, you have a lot of responsibility. Everyone is counting on you. It doesn’t matter if you got here in Week 1 or you’ve been here for five years. If you’re the guy in the game, then the whole organization is counting on you. We can all agree that it’s an important position to win. I take that responsibility seriously.
Q: Do you miss the south much?
A: I do love home. No doubt. But I do like getting out and seeing new places. I lived in St. Louis for a couple years, then Cleveland and now Denver. It’s neat to live in different places.
Q: With your role, you have to straddle some different roles. You’re a player and a little bit of a coach. Do you take on all those jobs as a whole? Or find yourself switching back and forth?
A: I don’t make too much of the coaching thing. That’s not really my role. People make a big deal of that when you’re a backup. And I try to help out when needed if Paxton or Trevor ask something or need something that I can help with. But I haven’t played that many games either. So I don’t consider myself a seasoned veteran by any means. I’m still learning myself. As a group, we’re in it together. So if I can help, I can help. With whatever it may be.
Q: Do you feel prepared this week if you need to play?
A: Absolutely. We’ll see what happens. But I feel very prepared.
Q: Have you noticed anything with Paxton’s growth over the season? I know you’ve only started 10 games in the NFL. But that’s a lot more than he has started.
A: There’s no replacement for experience. You have to go through it. I didn’t have to play as a rookie. So I can only imagine the challenges if I had to play that soon. He’s definitely getting better every week. But the only thing that will make him better now is playing. With that opportunity this week, I’m sure he’ll do great.
Broncos third-string quarterback Austin Davis will be active Sunday for the second time this season. He will back up rookie Paxton Lynch.