On Tuesday night, the Miami Dolphins appeared in the first episode of HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the MIami Dolphins. While several of the players took staring roles, or had good things said about them, one player clearly became a focal point for all the wrong reasons. Cornerback Vontae Davis was seen as out-of-shape and lacking the focus to compete, let alone hold on to his starting position.
Today, Davis faced the media, answering every question they had for him - all with his customary smile. According to a Miami Herald report, Davis stated he did not watch the show, but knew something had happened when his phone started ringing after 10pm.
Davis stated that one of the phone calls was from his grandmother, who told him simply to get in shape. He told her he was working on it, and told the media yesterday that he was in better shape now than when Hard Knocks started filming.
Head coach Joe Philbin seemed to agree with Davis' personal assessment. When asked after practice if Davis had lost the favor of the coaching staff, Philbin replied, "No, not at all. Not in my opinion. We think he's actually been practicing a little better as of late. He's one of the 90 guys. There's not one player, there's not one coach on this team that doesn't need to improve and keep working and doing a better job. I can do a better job and I fully believe that our players can. So I don't see it that way."
Philbin continued to speak about Davis, address if he was disappointed that a four-year veteran, and former first round draft pick, would need to be challenged during training camp. "Not really," Philbin stated. "Again, when you're a coach you're a teacher and there's education involved, there's growth for a coach at 51, there's growth for a player. Once a player arrives here, Ben (Volin, Miami Herald reporter), it doesn't matter to me if he was a first-round pick or not. I sit there with Vontae, aside from even the bladder conversation, I said to him a couple days ago, ‘You know, look, if nobody was on you about (stuff), you should really get concerned.' Hopefully, your position coach is on you. Hopefully, your coordinator is on you. Hopefully, I'm taking an interest in your development. A, that's our job. B, hopefully, it benefits everybody if you care about the players and their development. In the long run, it's going to benefit everybody. I think he understands that and I didn't speak to him today about anything specific, but I've spoken to him over the course of camp on a number of different occasions."
After hearing all about the show, Davis told the media, "Coach is supposed to be on you hard. If he's not on you hard, I shouldn't even be out here. He wants me to be the best player I can be, and I want him to coach me hard."
Davis, whose brother is San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis, says he has changed his diet since the start of training camp, focusing on his nutrition as well as his hydration. But, Hard Knocks confirmed that Davis is not ready to be the starting cornerback for this season, as well as the reputation he has of not focusing on football. It's something he has to change right away if he wants to get back to the top of the depth chart, and if he does not want to see the fans turn on him.