Davis se­ri­ous about backup role

The Denver Post - - NFL SUNDAY - By Nick Groke

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.

Steve Nehf, The Den­ver Post

Bron­cos third-string quar­ter­back Austin Davis will be ac­tive Sun­day for the sec­ond time this sea­son. He will back up rookie Pax­ton Lynch.

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