49ers TE Davis sees himself as 'piece of puzzle'

    2013-07-28 18:22

(Eds: Adds byline. With AP Photos.)
Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Vernon Davis refers to himself as ``just a piece of the puzzle'' when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers' offense.

Reality suggests he's selling himself a bit short.

With leading receiver Michael Crabtree sidelined at least until November due to a torn Achilles tendon, all signs point toward the eighth-year tight end becoming a primary target for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Perhaps that's why Davis has spent some of training camp lining up at wide receiver.

His speed and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, and it makes sense for the 49ers to get creative in finding ways to get him the ball.

``I'm willing to step up and do whatever they ask me to do,'' Davis said Sunday. ``They've been having me line up at wide receiver, pretty much all over the place. 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.''

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh did not address the prospect of Davis playing receiver, but he said he likes what he's seen from his tight end so far in camp.

``I see a lot of improvement, in his ability as a football player, his route-running,'' Harbaugh said. ``He looks really good, in the prime of his career.''

Davis' 2012 regular season stats - 41 catches, 548 yards, five touchdowns - were disappointing compared to past seasons. But he busted out under the spotlight of the postseason.

Davis had five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown in the NFC championship game win at Atlanta. He hauled in six catches for 104 yards in a losing effort against Baltimore in the Super Bowl.

The difference, he said, was the chemistry he began developing with Kaepernick, who took the quarterback job from Alex Smith with six games left in the regular season.

Davis, 29, talked openly last season about him and Kaepernick not being on the same page in games.

What changed in the playoffs?

``Experience,'' Davis explained simply. ``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.''

With Crabtree out, it stands to reason that opponents will key on stopping Davis. That's why it's important for new No. 1 receiver Anquan Boldin and whoever starts opposite him to develop as threats in the passing game.

But perhaps Davis himself will split out wide on occasion.

He said he played some receiver in high school and hoped to play there once he got to the University of Maryland, but his head coach said, ``You'll be too big,'' Davis remembers.

``I actually did get bigger. I got up to 248 pounds, and by the time I left Maryland, I was 255.''

Davis, who is 6-foot-3, says his weight has remained 245 for the past four years. He's faster than most NFL tight ends, and he doesn't think playing receiver would be a huge adjustment.

``I mean, it's just like tight end,'' he said. ``You're just running routes.''

And if playing out of position on occasion is what it takes to get the 49ers over the hump to win a Super Bowl, Davis says he's all for it. He took inspiration from Atlanta Falcons star tight end Tony Gonzalez's decision to postpone retirement and come back for another season at age 37.

``This is a guy who has nothing to prove,'' Davis said. ``He's already (deserving) of the Hall of Fame, he's broken all the records. This tells me how important it is to him to get a ring.

``I don't play for the Pro Bowl, I don't play for statistics. Maybe in my younger days I played for statistics. It's all about that ring.''

Notes: Harbaugh said he sympathized with Tarell Brown after learning the cornerback lost out on $2 million, and that he believes ``there's a solution there.'' Harbaugh said team officials - not just Brown's agent - were not aware of the contract clause that obligated Brown to attend voluntary offseason workouts to receive all of his money. ``Unfortunately, nobody caught it,'' Harbaugh said. ``That's real torpedo that nobody really wanted to see happen. Now let's get the solution and solve the problem.'' The coach added that he'd like to be involved in discussions to help remedy the situation, but did not get into specifics.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mark IngramNov 25 06:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram's (shoulder) injury isn't expected to be a major concern after resting last week during the bye. It's unclear, however, if his shoulder injury [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 25 06:23p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) is confident that he will play again this year, but a timetable for his return at this point is tough to gauge. [ More ]

Leonard HankersonNov 25 06:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) is still bothered by a hamstring strain, and the Falcons may continue to take their time with his injury. Hankerson previously missed two [ More ]

A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) is out of surgery and will be in an intensive care unit for 3-5 days. Doctors are hopeful he will make a successful recovery.

Danny AmendolaNov 25 04:43p

New England Patriots WRs Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Glenn DorseyNov 25 04:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 03:53p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) will return in three to four weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, but he could be [ More ]

Matt ForteNov 25 03:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) are both listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

John BrownNov 25 03:13p

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Martellus BennettNov 25 02:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) has been ruled out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Michael FloydNov 25 02:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Emmanuel SandersNov 25 02:23p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Charcandrick WestNov 25 02:03p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Charcandrick West (hamstring) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Johnny ManzielNov 25 01:33p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's tenure with the Browns may not be over, according to head coach Mike Pettine. 'I certainly hope not,' Pettine said, when asked if Manziel [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 01:23p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) underwent successful sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. The hope is that Lynch can return in late December.

Christian PonderNov 25 01:03p

Updating a previous item, free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) signed with the Denver Broncos Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. Ponder will start out as the team's No. [ More ]

Zach ErtzNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ryan MathewsNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is a long shot to play Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Detroit Lions. He practiced fully Wednesday, Nov. 25, and is questionable for Week 12.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 12:43p

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) is feeling better and likely to play in Week 12, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'I think Tyrod is going to play,' [ More ]

Devonta FreemanNov 25 12:33p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is still in the first phase of the concussion protocol and won't practice Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Marcus ThigpenNov 25 12:23p

Buffalo Bills RB Dan Herron and WR Denarius Moore were cut Wednesday, Nov. 25. WR Marcus Thigpen was re-signed by the Bills.

Christian PonderNov 25 12:23p

Free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) will sign with the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He'll be the No. 3 quarterback.

Frank GoreNov 25 11:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore (knee) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Joseph RandleNov 25 10:43a

Free-agent RB Joseph Randle (Cowboys) was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 24, in a Kansas casino on charges including felony criminal threats, misdemeanor assault of a law enforcement officer, interference with [ More ]

Colin KaepernickNov 25 10:13a

Updating previous reports, San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (shoulder) had a more significant tear in his left labrum than originally believed, according to a source. He'll require four to six months of rehabilitation.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 09:33a

Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) will have surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, to repair a sports hernia, and he's expected to be out for a month.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 08:53a

Updating a previous report, St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) will undergo surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, after he was shot twice in the head in Florida. Bailey is [ More ]

Stedman BaileyNov 25 02:03a

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) was involved in a shooting incident Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Florida, and he suffered a head wound, according to a team source. [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 02:03a

All indications are that Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is expected to miss four to five weeks due to his abdominal injury. The hope is that Lynch is [ More ]

Thomas RawlsNov 25 02:03a

Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls is expected to serve as the primary ball carrier for the game Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers with RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) missing [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group