Stephen Davis back in practice

Okay, I took a little time away from the blog yesterday, so it’s time to catch up on things, starting with Stephen Davis returning to practice for the Carolina Panthers.

I should be more excited about this. Davis gained 1444 yards for the Panthers during their NFC Championship season two years ago. He’s a straight-ahead power back that fits well into Carolina’s run-first offense, and a healthy Davis means more offensive production and better time-of-possession stats for the Panthers. Meanwhile, the buzz around rookie Eric Shelton is starting to fade a bit after a few preseason games, and DeShaun Foster still has to prove he’s not fragile.

But I have my doubts, the same doubts I had about Jerome Bettis a few years ago. Bettis and Davis share the same physical running style, and while the Bus had a great season last year, he’s still not the same back he was five years ago before his injuries. Davis likely won’t be, either. Coming off a knee microfracture at age 31, Davis won’t be quite as fast and won’t recover from those bruising Sundays as well as he once did.

Davis’ presence alone, however, will be a big boost for the Panthers in the locker room, a factor which can’t be easily measured. So yes, it’s good to see Stephen Davis back, but backs like him traditionally don’t last very long. I still want to see what he can do on the field first.

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