49ers TE Vernon Davis could play role on both sides of ball
Davis worked with the teams’ receivers during minicamp and that plan has been carried out into early training camp as the eight-year tight end faces the opportunity of becoming quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s primary target this season.
"I'm willing to step up and do whatever they ask me to do. They've been having me line up at wide receiver, pretty much all over the place,” Davis said on Sunday. It's a good thing that I get the opportunity to work with those guys because it not only helps me at the wide receiver position, it also helps me at the tight end position. My feet get quicker, my route-running is better."
While 49erss head coach Jim Harbaugh has mostly remained tight lipped about how the team intends to utilize Davis this season, he didn’t shy away from shedding some praise based on the players’ performance so far in training camp.
"I see a lot of improvement, in his ability as a football player, his route-running," Harbaugh noted. "He looks really good, in the prime of his career."
It makes sense for the 49ers to at least look for potential ways to take advantage of Davis’ explosiveness and athleticism on the offense while getting him the ball, which could potentially make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
Davis’ regular season stats – 41 receptions for 548 yards and five touchdowns – were not stellar. But, he had an impressive postseason campaign, including catching five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the NFC championship game win at Atlanta. Davis also had six receptions for 104 yards in the Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers are counting on Davis to benefit from the same chemistry he had built with Kaepernick during the team’s postseason run.
This remarkable difference in Davis’ stats was in large part due to the developing chemistry with Kaepernick last season, after he took the quarterback job from Alex Smith with final six games sox games still left on the 49ers’ 2012 regular season schedule.
"Experience," Davis pointed out the prominent difference in Kaepernick’s approach by the end of the 2012 season, that helped develop a strong chemistry the two players last postseason. "You saw Colin developing into a great quarterback, and you saw the rest of the guys, including myself, following him and figuring him out.
“Getting the timing down, just figuring him out as a person and a quarterback."