Packers TE Tyler Davis on right path as he works his way back from injury

By: Paul Bretl 6/11/24

During the last three weeks of team OTAs, Green Bay Packers tight end Tyler Davis was, as he has been for roughly the last nine months now, off to the side while practice took place. However, while he still isn’t back on the field quite yet, Davis is feeling good and on the right path.

“I’m feeling good,” said Davis at his locker last Tuesday. “Getting there. It’s just a process. Taking it day by day, trying to do the best I can each day. Everything is moving in the right direction, so excited about it.”

Davis is still rehabbing from an ACL injury that he suffered last preseason, ending his 2023 season before it could even get started. The process of coming back from an ACL injury is long and can be mundane, to put it mildly.

At times, the mental aspect of the recovery can be challenging, just as the physical component of it is. Every day is a challenge but different than the normal grind that football players are accustomed to. In navigating this new hurdle, Davis attacked his rehab with the same competitive spirit he brings to the field.

“I think that’s the thing about it,” said Davis, “it’s a challenge every day. But as I looked at it, I feel like competitors look at things as like an enjoyable challenge. Something you can go out, and whether it’s the game or rehab or what not, just attacking it the same way that I did playing. So definitely just put your mind in a different place and attack it the same way you did football. It’s been good to sharpen my mind that way.”

While attacking the physical aspect of his rehab, Davis stayed engaged mentally by constantly being in the team facility. While he wasn’t able to be on the practice field with his teammates and fellow tight ends, as one of the veterans of that position group, Davis was still involved in meetings and able to answer questions or provide guidance when needed.

“It was awesome,” said Davis on seeing the growth of the rookie tight ends. “Obviously, because I kind of got to start with them in OTAs after they got drafted and whatnot. Seeing where they came from and then being able to help during the year, and seeing where they finished at was awesome to see.

“Very proud of those guys for how far they came because they really came a long way. It’s a credit to those guys and how much work they put it. I tried to help out the best I could from afar. Like you said, I tried to stay engaged. I love football so wasn’t really hard for me because I love the game, I love helping, I love leading. So it was cool being able to see those guys excel in their first year.”

In a tight end room that features Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave, along with an offseason for the Packers that saw them add Xavier McKinney and Josh Jacobs in free agency, their decision to re-sign Davis is likely a move that flew under the radar. However, in the ultimate team game, this is one of those back end of the roster additions that could prove valuable with Davis’ ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.

On offense, Davis certainly won’t be the focal point at tight end, but during the 2022 season, he was most often used as a blocker. His presence could provide added competition for Ben Sims, who primarily filled a blocking role last season. Perhaps, with Davis’ athleticism and versatility, the Packers have him fill the H-back role that is now vacant with Josiah Deguara in Jacksonville.

What, if any, role Davis has on offense is still to be determined, but his calling card is on special teams, where he has filled a do-it-all role in the past. Following Davis’ season-ending injury last August, Rich Bisaccia said that losing Davis was like losing his right hand because of all the roles he’s able to fill while doing so at a high level.

In 2022, Davis played 344 special teams snaps – the most on the team – and did so across five of the six special teams phases. He was also third on the team in tackles.

“It’s always interesting,” said Davis about his role on special teams, “but that’s why I love, that’s why I love this game, the preparation is the key and I love preparing. I know it might sound like a lot to a lot of people but to me it’s what I love to do, so it’s not anything too crazy for myself. I love my roles. I love to be on everything. I love the variety I can play with and just really looking forward to getting back to that.”

While dealing with the restrictions of the injury, Davis had to alter his offseason plan–striking a balance between rehabbing and not pushing himself too far while still trying to improve his game and hit his benchmarks.

Although it can be a difficult balance to reach, what happened was that it forced Davis to slow down and take a step back, something that he believed was a positive for him. This allowed Davis to circle back to some facets of his game that he hadn’t been able to work on during other offseasons, along with starting over, to a degree, with other aspects and being more detailed in his approach.

“I’ve looked at it in a positive way,” said Davis about rehabbing during the offseason. “It’s like, you know when you have an injury like this you kind of restart, so you start from ground zero.

“So some of the stuff you wanted to work on previously, you get to restart, go through at it at a slower pace to try to learn it a little bit better and take it a little bit slower with the restraints of the injury. I’ve looked at it as a positive thing for me to be able to fine-tune some things that I’ve previously wanted to work on.”

Just a year ago, the tight end position was one littered with question marks for the Packers. But today, it’s become a crowded room, with ascending talents in Musgrave and Kraft, an up-and-comer in Sims, along with Henry Pearson, who can also fill the move tight end role in the offense. 

However, not to be forgotten about as he works his way back from injury is Davis. Both on and off the field, Davis has shown that he can make an impact on this Packers team while doing so in a variety of ways–and there is very much value in having that type of player on the roster.

“Tyler’s a stud,” said tight end coach John Dunn. “He is as dedicated of an individual as they come. There’s not enough good words I can say about Tyler, just him really being one of the veterans in the room, just the guidance.”