Panthers LB Davis on facing the Packers: We should come away with a victory
Written by Steve Reed
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:05
Thomas Davis trips Arizona's Beanie Wells in Sunday's loss to Arizona. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTE – It’s only Wednesday, but Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is already sick of the media hyping up the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and their offensive leader.
“Man, I’m tired of talking about Aaron Rodgers,” Davis said of the Packers quarterback during the team's open locker room session. “We’ll line up and we’re going to compete as hard as we can and we should come away with a victory.”
It wasn't exactly a prediction, but it's strong talk for a guy playing for a team that only won two games last season.
But Davis’ confident demeanor represents a change in the overall attitude of this Panthers team under coach Ron Rivera and the way they perceive themselves as a competitive football team rather than the league's doormat as they were in 2010.
“You look back and the fans were excited about us being in the game against Arizona,” Davis said. “Arizona is a team that went 5-11 last year. So I don’t know why that is something to be excited about. We went out and fully expected to win that game, just like we are going out and fully expect to win this game.
“You can’t really go into a game thinking you don’t have a chance or we’re close. This is the NFL and any given Sunday you can win a football game.”
The oddsmakers don't think so.
Rodgers and the Packers have been installed as an 11.5-point favorite.
The downside is the Panthers will be playing without middle linebacker Jon Beason, who is done for the season after tearing his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s 28-21 loss to the Cardinals. That can't help when facing a team with a quarterback like Rodgers, the Super Bowl MVP who has picked up where he left off last season by completing 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-34 win over New Orleans.
Davis said that while the Beason injury hurts, he remains confident in backup Dan Connor.
“Dan is a guy who has played in this system,” Davis said. “He knows how to play defense and he’s a guy that has come in in the past and played well. So we’re expecting nothing different from Dan Connor.”
Connor and company will be tested this week by a Green Bay team that appears to have few weaknesses on offense.
But Davis believes that Connor having played every snap with the starters during the preseason while Beason was resting a foot injury can only help.
“Without a doubt,” Davis said. “The fact that we able to get in there, get a feel for each other. We were playing with each other and I think it’s going to be great for us. Dan is a guy who is always ready.”