Del Rio expects Davis to play better after 'so-so' Week 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
"He's got to play better. He didn't play very well last week," Del Rio said Thursday, just moments after calling Davis' performance a "so-so" outing. "I know he expects to play better. He'll be challenged to play better."
The Commanders' first-round pick in 2021, Davis struggled to find a consistent role in Washington's defense as a rookie. Davis made just eight starts for the club a season ago and earned a 46.8 player grade by Pro Football Focus, the 65th highest-ranked linebacker.
However, the Commanders opted not to draft another linebacker this past April, nor did they sign a veteran at the position throughout the offseason. The organization expressed confidence throughout the summer in Davis' ability to make the Year 2 leap following a forgetful rookie campaign.
"I saw a lot of good things this offseason and it kind of surprised me he didn't play better," Del Rio said, before later adding, "He's worked really hard. I think he prepared to play better than he did in the opener. We expect him to play better."
Being a more consistent player on a weekly basis is something Davis hoped to develop in his second season. He's still hoping to accomplish that goal, even after a shaky start to his sophomore campaign.
"Like I said before, just making more plays, going out there, trying to be more consistent, try to fly around and play a lot faster," Davis said.
One specific area of Sunday's game where Davis struggled was in coverage. Davis found himself opposite Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk multiple times throughout Sunday's contest, a matchup that went heavily in Jacksonville's favor.
Jaguars running back Travis Etienne made the most of his opportunities against Davis, beating the linebacker on multiple routes -- including one that should have been a touchdown had Trevor Lawrence not missed the throw.
"When we do get to [that look], we expect him to hold up," Del Rio said on Davis in coverage. "He didn't hold up very well in that situation. He gave up some big completions. So, we need him to be better and we need to do a little bit better job to make sure we keep him out of those situations."
Davis believes if he continues to "trust his technique" when in coverage, things will start to go his way in the future.
"You just gotta trust your technique at the end of the day," Davis said. "That's one of those things that no matter who you wind up against, you just go out there and do what you got to do, the same thing I've been doing all offseason. So I mean, going forward, it's just, no hiccups, just make more plays."
It's no secret that Davis struggled in Week 1 and that Washington needs him to better moving forward. He expects to meet the challenge.
"Going forward, I know who I am as a player," Davis said. "So [now], just go make plays."