Tag Archives: Upper Deck Foundations 2005

Davis, Anthony “A-Train”

Card: Upper Deck Signatures 2005
Acquired: 2012, Target Authentic Autograph Memorabilia

A ‘slasher-back’ with a deceptive burst, Anthony Davis was a sensational runningback in college for Wisconsin. During his Freshman year in 2001, Davis’ 1466 yards ranked only behind Ron Dayne, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, and Alex Smith (Pitt), while his 10 100 yard plus games were an NCAA Freshman record. For an encore in ’02 he had 300 carries for 1555 yards and 13 TDs. His 119.6 YPG was ranked only behind Willis McGahee and Steven Jackson. Already though, nagging ankle and knee injuries began to set in 2003. He would however finish with 116 carries for 682 yards and 7 touchdowns. Again in 2004, Davis missed 5 contests due to a deep thigh bruise and a fractured orbital socket, but he still managed 201 carries for 973 yards and 11 touchdowns. At the time of his graduation, Anthony’s yards and total touchdowns placed him second on the school’s rushing list, only behind Ron Dayne and Billy Marek.

His draft stock was really hurt by injuries. It also didn’t help that Davis had a small frame at 5′ 7″, 205lb- he was considered more of a 3rd down specialist in the league, and the 908 carries didn’t help either (even though he just fumbled once in his career). Still the Colts had him tabbed on their board and liked something about him, grabbing him near the bottom of the 7th round of the 2005 NFL draft. He would make it all the way through training camp- seeing the turk in the final cuts. Despite this, he was signed back to the practice squad later in the season as the Colts were plagued by injuries to their RB corps. He’d jump over to the Canadian Football League in 2006, signing with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. Davis played 2 seasons for Hamilton, carrying the ball 86 times for 457 yards and a TD. Near the end of 2007, Anthony was traded to the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for Yo Murphy, but was released in 2008.

Anthony’s other passion has always been teaching. He has been sighted at Loras College in Dubuque, IA, where he is currently Director of Inter-Cultural programs for the Hawks.

Johnson, Travis

Card: Upper Deck Rookie Foundations 2005
Acquired: Purchase, Beckett.com 2010

Travis Johnson was the number one rated defensive tackle coming out of Florida State in 2005. The Texans (with Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson on the board) traded down drafting Travis with the 16th overall pick. It was considered an overall weak draft at this position. I was incredibly angry at this pick -but supportive of the team’s move going for an unglamorous position of need. Johnson saw playing time in his rookie season starting 3 games making a sack and 23 tackles. In terms of being a two gap lineman or having a high speed motor, Johnson would have problems amounting to even generating the power of a weed whacker- constantly outperformed by grizzled veterans and free agent fodder. In 2006, Johnson started 8 games making  just 11 tackles in the team’s 3-4 defense. After the season, head coach Dom Capers and the staff were fired. With a new regime and general manager in charge the Texans made the switch to a 4-3 defense. Starting 13 games in 2007 Travis had 41 tackles and 5 pass defensed and an interception from the defensive tackle position. In a controversial play against the Dolphins that season (that virtually ended quarterback Trent Green’s career,) Green dove low on a block, hitting Travis near the knees, flipping Johnson up in the air. As Green laid unconscious on the turf, Johnson got up and angrily lambasted the downed quarterback. He was reprimanded on the sidelines by head coach Gary Kubiak, but after the game, Travis maintained that he was angry about how Green was trying to end his career by diving at his knees. Johnson was largely labeled a ‘hood’ after the incident and maligned both in the media and by fans. His 2008 saw him playing more from the doghouse in a rotation of defensive tackles with occasional flashes of brilliance followed by complete mental lapses. During training camp in 2009 the Texans traded Travis to the San Diego Chargers for a conditional 5th round draft choice where he currently plays through 2010. The trade stunned the young tackle who was recovering from a sports hernia which he claims to have limited his effectiveness since his drafting. As the Texans certainly regarded this pick as a failure because of his non-eye opening stats, how he will be judged remains to be seen till his career ends.

Travis is a much kinder and smarter person than the media portrays him and while off the field incidents and situations such as the Trent Green one didn’t help, a change of scenery was probably best for the young tackle where hopefully he can rehabilitate his image, as Travis’ fire has been misunderstood as a ‘thug mentality’. While getting together my blitz for the 2010 Texans, I thought it’d be great to try to get the autographs of all the former first round Houston Texans. I checked into the values of the cards and found all of the players authenticated autographs reasonably cheap on Beckett.com. I rarely purchase autographs, but from the historical aspect thought I could make an exception for Johnson, Carr, and Babin.

G/Gs 54/38    Tac 133   Sac 3   Fum 1    Int 1  Yds 0   Avg 0.0   Td 0  Lg 0