When defensive lineman Carl Davis looked back at his rookie season, one word kept coming to his mind.
The third-round pick said over and over that he needed to find a way to perform at a steady level, without some of the peaks and valleys that defined his first year as a pro.
"Consistency is the key," Davis said. "Nobody tries to be inconsistent. I know I started off good at the beginning of the year, and then my play wasn't as consistent as far as making plays. That's what I have to work on doing. I'm going to take this offseason and really try to better myself."
Davis finished his rookie year with 11 tackles in 13 games. He didn't have a sack or any forced turnovers.
The defender out of Iowa opened the year strong, particularly in the preseason. He had 10 tackles, a sack and two passes defensed in four preseason games, leading to big expectations for his rookie campaign.
He then stepped into the starting lineup in Week 3, and looked like he might become a high note in this year's draft class.
But after three games in the starting lineup, the Ravens cut back on Davis' playing time. He didn't start another game and was actually a healthy scratch for three games in the middle of the season.
"It's going to be frustrating, but it all depends on how you take it," Davis said about having his role reduced in the second half of the year. "I just try to take it in a way where I can get better and become a better player."
Davis used his time on the sidelines to watch and learn from some of the veteran players on the roster. He kept an eye on 11-year pro Chris Canty and budding star Brandon Williams to see how they approached their craft.
As Davis watched them, he saw the kind of reliable play that he's working to get out of himself.
"Consistency is a key thing among the great players in this league," he said. "I kind of got my feet wet a little bit. Next year I hope to have a bigger role. I feel like I know what it takes to win, or at least contribute to winning here, and I'm glad to be here."
Davis, 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, also said he wants to pack on some additional muscle this offseason.
"I realized that as the season goes on you're going to get banged up, and the more muscle you have you can absorb more hits. And you'll be able to play harder," Davis said. "I'm going to focus on my strength."
Davis and the Ravens expect him to return for the offseason program in April stronger and motivated, and they are confident that he could develop into a key piece of their defensive front.
"Carl Davis has a high ceiling that we think he will be able to get to," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said.