Vernon Davis On Bucs’ MindsDecember 12th, 2013
Some six years ago, 49ers uber-talented tight end Vernon Davis was ordered to his locker room during a game by then 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, who later in his postgame press conference memorably unloaded on Davis, claiming he was too selfish to play for him.
“Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach them,” Singletary said of players like Davis, adding that he would rather play with 10 men. “Can’t do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.”
Since Singletary was replaced by his former Bears teammate, Jim Harbaugh, Davis has been nothing but a winner playing key roles in getting the 49ers to two NFC title games and on the very doorstep of a 49ers Super Bowl title last season.
The last time the Bucs and 49ers played, Davis roasted the Raheem Morris-led Bucs with two touchdowns.
Bucs commander Greg Schiano has watched plenty of tape of Davis and he is more than a little concerned with the eighth-year pro.
“It doesn’t matter what personnel group they’re in with Vernon Davis; this guy is a sub-4.40 (second 40-yard dash) tight end,” Schiano told reporters on Thursday. “He may be the only one walking the planet. hey could go in 11 personnel [one running back, one tight end], 12 [personnel], 22 – when he’s out there, he can lineup anywhere. When he lines up out there at a wideout position, he’s the fastest wideout on their team. So, yeah, he creates mismatches wherever he is. He’s a tremendous player.”
Davis has one of the highest yards-per-catch totals for tight ends in the NFL, more than Jimmy Graham with the Saints, more than Rob Gronkowski with the Patriots, more than Jermichael Finley with the Packers, more than Greg Olson with the Stinking Panthers.
Davis has 44 catches for 726 yards for an average of 16.5 per catch with 11 touchdowns. Only Graham has more touchdowns from a tight end with 14.
Though it is Thursday, Bucs linebacker Mason Foster is already locked in on Davis.
“He is the fastest [tight end] and because of that – he’s not just a straight line fast guy either, he’s a fantastic athlete, and the one thing you probably wouldn’t know unless you watch a lot of film is he’s really turned into an outstanding run blocker, and they ask him to do it and he buys right in and they’re moving him around and having him block on linebackers and crack people and double teams, he does a great job. He’s so athletic, he can get body position on guys and use his hands and move people. But aside from that, not only his straight line speed, but he’s just a very – he’s like having a wide receiver out there. So even when there in two tights, their basically in two-wides because he can line up, detached from the formation, and he does and you’re hoping your corner can cover him well enough. A main target for them [in the red zone], for sure.”
You know, Sunday would be a helluva time for Bucs safety Mark Barron to step up and demonstrate he can be an all-around elite safety by shutting down Davis.