The perpetual rehab of Panthers veteran Thomas Davis is about to take another step, in hopes the hard-luck linebacker can complete a comeback this time.
Davis, attempting to become the first player to return from three torn ACLs, said he’s going to be ready for training camp.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll be ready to go,” Davis said, per the Charlotte Observer. “I’m pretty much there right now. We’re just taking precautions.”
The Panthers have done a lot of that, after counting on him in the past only to see him go down in midseason 2010, and early last year. This spring, however, they provided cover by drafting Luke Kuechly (who also provides insurance against Jon Beason returning from a torn Achilles).
There’s a chance part of Davis’ problem in the past has been trying to come back too fast. But if he makes it back to the field this year, they’ll likely try to limit his snaps to maximize his impact.
“It’ll be a huge plus to be able to get him back as well,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of Davis. “And have that linebacking group as a whole, as opposed to last year when it was bits and pieces.”
Playing in a division with legitimate receiving threats at tight end (Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark), the Panthers would like to use Davis as a situational coverage player. Along with taking advantage of his (still excellent) speed as a blitzer, the notion of limiting his reps gives them the ability to tinker with personnel groups. As bad as their defense was a year ago, any wrinkle’s going to help.