and defense. And therefore, special teams is often just patched together with the remaining healthy bodies.
But if you can afford a spot or two on your roster for an ace, you have to do it. They don't come along every year. Sometimes, they just develop into that role.
Bill Bates had it. So did Kenny Gant. I don't want to leave out Jim Schwantz, who wasn't a big name like the previous two, but he did make the Pro Bowl in 1996 by recording a team-record 32 tackles on special teams.
Those guys were special teams warriors.
Put Davis right in there with all of those guys, if not higher.
To run down on those kickoffs and punts, you have to be a little bit crazy. Check.
You've got to be tough as nails, or . . . bullets maybe. Check again.
Davis provides all of that, and a little more. He's got a sense of swagger and attitude that separates the good players from extraordinary.
Last year was a prime example of that. In the third game, the Cowboys went to Chicago and all week long we heard the rumblings that they might not kick to Bears return specialist Devin Hester.
That was the big story all week. Will they or won't they kick to Hester.
So opening kickoff comes and kicker Nick Folk was told to do some sort of pooch kick that was supposed to get to another Bears player around the 25- or 30-yard line. Instead, Folk shanked the kick into the Cowboys' bench, giving the Bears the ball on their own 40. So much for that idea.
And Davis balked. He went straight to special teams coach Bruce Read and all but begged him to kick it deep. He promised Read the coverage team would stop him.
And they did, holding Hester to just 85 yards on five returns, including a fumble, which was caused by none other than Davis.
Here in the last few weeks, Wade Phillips even sourced that game as an example that his team's coverage units could be effective. What he was forgetting to mention was that Davis was a big part of that.
Maybe deep down he knew Davis would be back. Or maybe he was just sticking up for his guys. It doesn't matter now. Davis is now one of the guys here again.
That's the way it should've been all along.