Jamin Davis' NFL career is only five games old, but those five games haven't provided a lot of evidence that Washington was right to spend a first-round pick on him this past April.
So far, Davis is responsible for 14 solo tackles, none of which have gone for a loss. He hasn't registered any quarterback hits, either, and his work in pass coverage has been relatively unnoticeable. And against the New Orleans Saints this past weekend, he was on the field for only 13 snaps despite the fact that it was the club's first contest after Jon Bostic's season-ending injury.
On Thursday, Davis' boss, Jack Del Rio, was asked for his thoughts on what's holding the 19th overall pick back from making more of a contribution as a rookie.
The defensive coordinator believes that one of Davis' best qualities might also be hurting him currently.
"He's a great young man," Del Rio told reporters in a press conference. "He cares a great deal. Probably cares a little too much. I'd like him just to say the heck with it. I'm going to make a play, you know?"
Davis assessed himself in a similar way when he met with the media before Week 3's trip to Buffalo. During that session, he admitted that he wasn't seeing things as quickly as he'd like, which was preventing him from showing his true abilities.
To Davis, "playing fast" isn't just a phrase to toss out in back-and-forths with the press. It's a concept that's of the utmost importance.
Del Rio just doesn't think Davis is comfortable enough to fulfill that motto just yet.
"[He's] trying to be careful," Del Rio said. "A little trying to be careful and trying to be exact and I want him to let it rip a little bit."
Now, an easy counter to the coach's point would be: How can Davis be expected to "let it rip" when he's on the sidelines and not in the middle of the unit more often?
As touched on, No. 52 was hardly a factor in the Saints loss, and all together, he's seen action on 44% of Washington's defensive snaps.
Right now, it feels like Del Rio and Davis are stuck in a bit of a tough cycle.
Del Rio is clearly hesitant to play Davis and simultaneously wants him to be more aggressive. The latter thing, however, is hard for Davis to do, since he's only getting limited reps and may think that even one mistake will affect his playing time even more.
The positive part of this dilemma, which Del Rio explained, is that Davis wants to get it right.
Davis may be immature in terms of his football experience, but he has a very serious personality and seems extremely level-headed, traits that should be helpful as he looks to start delivering on his draft status.
"He's working hard," Del Rio said. "I look forward to him turning the corner as well. I think we will. I think he'll make an impact as we go through the season."
It's difficult to be patient with someone who has such outstanding physical skills and who lines up at a position of major need. For Davis, though, it's simply necessary at this juncture.
But if Del Rio wants Davis to be less cautious when his number's called, maybe Del Rio needs to be less cautious when it comes to calling Davis' number, too.