We've been talking about Buster Davis for over a year. I was high on him coming out of Florida State, touting him as a Gary Brackett clone. At 5'9, 235 pounds, Buster was all heart and all hustle in college. For whatever reason, the Arizona Cardinals, who run a 3-4 Blitzburg system on defense, drafted Buster in the 3rd round. Obviously, he did not last long in Arizona, but was quickly picked up by Detroit, who are coached by Rod Marinelli and use a Cover 2 style defense. Detroit seemed a perfect fit for Buster to develop. Marinelli once said this about Davis:
"He's short, he's not small,'' says Marinelli of the 5-foot-9, 240-pound linebacker.
But, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Buster was cut by the Lions after pre-season this year. He was quickly picked up by the Colts, and now (because of a leg injury to Gary Brackett), Buster Davis is starting at MIKE backer for the Colts.
So, the million dollar question here is Why did Detroit cut Buster Davis?
A rumor I have heard circling about has to do with Buster getting into a fight with Detroit's now-injured QB, Jon Kitna. I blogged about this incident a few months ago, but didn't give it much thought as to it relating to Buster getting cut from Detroit. I just assumed Buster was cut because Matt Millen was still running Detroit's football operations then, and Matt Millen (now since fired) was a completely incompetent football team manager. But, with the rumors swirling that Buster was cut because he pissed off Jon Kitna, I did some research into this, and I found some interesting info on SB Nation's Pride of Detroit blog:
Seifert also posted the most detailed version of what caused Jon Kitna to lose his temper during yesterday's morning practice. Basically, the practice had already been very fierce and the defense was not holding back at all. Dwight Smith was talking smack to Casey FitzSimmons, Ernie Sims put a big hit on Mike Furrey, and Buster Davis laid out Dan Campbell right after a Kitna pass came in. And then Davis did the same thing to John Owens, causing Kitna to lose it."Do something, Buster! Do something!" Kitna screamed, over and over, after the play. (We're guessing he meant, "Do something in this league before you start throwing players around in practice.") Getting angrier with each yell, Kitna started walking toward Davis before a few coaches got in his way. Fists never came close to flying, but rarely do you so much as see a quarterback advance in a threatening manner.I can understand where Kitna is coming from as I doubt he likes to see his receivers getting hit so hard in practice, but he's got to understand where Buster Davis is coming from. Davis is fighting for a spot on the roster with other linebackers, and he's got to show the coaches that he deserves to make the team. Letting up and gently running into offensive players is not that way to do that, so what does Kitna expect?
After practice, Kitna spoke to the media and basically blamed the little temper tantrum on the entire team being a little cranky as they don't get to play their next preseason game until Sunday, which comes 10 days after their first one."I'm not going to get into specifics, that's how competitors are,'' Kitna said. "Today's really the last day and we're ready to start seeing other people on a weekly basis. You usually don't go more than seven days without a game in preseason and this is our seventh day -- and we've still got three more days until we play. The guys are just ready to hit somebody else.''In the grand scheme of things this little conflict means nothing, but I do like the aggressiveness Buster Davis showed in practice. He knows that he has to do everything possible to try and make the team, and if that means popping a couple of tight ends then so be it.
A week and a half later, Buster was cut.
I also have to agree with PoD's SeanYuille on the incident. Buster is fighting for a job. Maybe if Kitna didn't lay his receivers out, they wouldn't get jacked by the LBers. But whatever, Detroit's loss was our gain. Buster Davis is a quality, young LBer and he should excel in a Cover 2 scheme under Ron Meeks and Tony Dungy.