To say the least, it's been a rocky three year career for safety Keith Davis. After a promising rookie year in 2002, he was shot in the right hip outside a Dallas strip club and missed the entire 2003 season. But he bounced back last year to make a strong contribution on special teams, and head coach Bill Parcells has been pleased with his progress.
"He's been everything that I can as from a player since that incident," said Parcells, "so I'm going to give him a shot at the starting job. I hope he can get it. He's a nice kid. He's a hard working kid and he's a pretty good football player."
Parcells said today, if the season were to begin today, Davis would be his starter, even though veteran Lynn Scott has been working a lot with the first team. Scott was thrust into the starting role last year because of Woodsons back injury, but Parcells considers him a journeyman player who's value is greater on special teams. Former Cowboy Izell Reece was brought back in the offseason to add depth, but he as well may be more valuable to the special teams unit. While he may not know who will play the position, Parcells does know what he wants out of it.
"Be a good tackler, have good range, anticipation, hopefully be a little bit of a ball hog," said Parcells.
He may just have described rookie safety Justin Beriault. The problem is, Beriault is playing behind two-time pro bowler Roy Williams at strong safety, and Parcells doesn't like to flip flop young players.
"Whatever situation they put me in, I'm going to take it in full stride," said Beriault. "If that's special teams, back up Roy [Williams], or free safety."
"It's going to be competitive," said Reese. "It's going to be a lot of play in the preseason games, to determine who's going to be the starting free safety."
Kevin Berns reporting.