After experiencing the kind of leadership necessary to win a Super Bowl with Broncos, tight end Vernon Davis has noticed a similar kind from quarterback Kirk Cousins.
If there was any doubt about tight end Vernon Davis' commitment to the Redskins, consider his hesitance to join the Broncos in Washington D.C., two weeks ago for the team's visit to the White House.
Initially, Davis didn't want to attend the event with his former Super Bowl-winning teammates. He was a member of the Redskins, and he wanted to proceed through the offseason as such.
"I was talking to [head] coach [Jay] Gruden. I said, 'Coach you think I can go to the White House?'" Davis said on ESPN 980's "Inside The Locker Room." "He was like 'Yeah go ahead sure. I think it's a great thing.' I said, 'OK but I'm not going to the ring ceremony.' He said, 'Why not?' I said, 'Because I wanted to put it behind me.' It happened and I'm elated, it was a great experience, and I'm grateful for it but I want to win one for this team. I want to do it again here. My time there is up and, now, it's time try and do it again."
It's that kind of attitude which has made his return home that more meaningful. At 32 years old, and with a wealth of playoff, and now Super Bowl, experience, Davis knows what a successful locker room looks like. He mentioned during OTAs how this group of teammates in Washington was one of the closest he's been a a part of. That tight-knit quality was responsible for the Broncos' success last season.
"One thing about Denver this past year is that every single day everybody was walking through that locker room saying we going to that [champion]ship," Davis said. "You could feel the energy and it was there and no matter how many mistakes someone would make, we just kept playing and staying in and playing together. The bond was tight and it was just a great atmosphere."
So far, Davis has felt that way with the Redskins. The will and desire is palpable, he said, something he can see in a lot of the team's younger players. With Kirk Cousins at quarterback, he believes this team has found one of its primary leaders.
The Washington Redskins held minicamp practice Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"I see a lot of great things amongst this team. When I walk into the building I can just feel the energy," Davis said. "Kirk has been tremendous. He has been a leader, he has been vocal and everything you want in a quarterback, and he is trying each and every day to be the best that he can be to lead this team and I see that.
"It stands out like a sore thumb. Guys are following him, too. There's humility there and he minimizes himself when he's around the group and that's what a leader does. He minimizes himself. And he does the right thing and people see it and he is the right man for the job. I feel like we can do some special things around here because you have a lot of young guys and it seems like they are hungry and they want to win. Most importantly they are out there competing."
Davis is, too. Gruden has been impressed with his new tight end, especially during the team's two days of minicamp last week. While Jordan Reed sat out resting, Davis demonstrated why tight ends coach Wes Phillips calls him a "genetic anomaly," using his skills in both aspects of the offense.
"Vernon Davis, really, coming in and learning the system, he's had the longest way to go just because it's brand new terminology," Gruden said. "But he's picked it up very well and you can see his speed and explosion, not only in the passing game, but in the running game."
"He's been great," Phillips said. "Vernon is a really good person in the room and, of course we know how athletic he is still…He can really run and he's very powerful in the run game. He's transitioning really well in the room with the group of tight ends that we have and we're really pleased."
Davis caught 38 passes for 395 yards last season, but his role with the Redskins will expand beyond just pass-catching. He's eager to contribute in any fashion.
"It seems as if we are building something really, really strong here," Davis said. "Last year you guys made it to the playoffs and this year it can only get better. We just have to keep our faith and believe that we can make it further."