Getting the Ball to Vernon Davis

Norm Hall

Hey Vernon, a Niners Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

When it comes to the passing game, there's pretty much no denying that Vernon Davis is the man. As good as Michael Crabtree has been this season, and as sterling as Randy Moss' past is, I would take Davis over any other receiver on this team right now. I think most would agree with me.

So, these last couple of games have been weird for this very reason. Davis has been held to two catches. And even though the catch against the Cardinals was a pretty strong one, I still think the team has got to feel a little down that they aren't getting the ball to their biggest offensive playmaker, non-Frank Gore division.

Don't get me wrong: I think the fact that Vernon hasn't been getting the ball has had some positive outcomes for the team. Because teams are essentially forced to double or even triple cover him, the other weapons in this offense get open much easier. I mean, besides the lack of injuries, this is probably the biggest reason for Crabtree's career season he is having right now. On top of this coverage, though, are the other tactics defenses are taking. When Davis lines up at the traditional TE spot, he gets bumped by LBs and DEs as he bursts into his route. While that halts his advance, it also means that the defender isn't blitzing or quickly falling into coverage. Of course I'd much rather have Davis get off the line unencumbered, but all the small victories - I'm taking them.

In light of all this, I would like to see Jim Harbaugh run some Vernon-specific plays. Nothing too fancy. Nor should Alex Smith try to force anything. But I bet Harbaugh could scheme a play or two here and there to get Davis open and with the ball in his hands. Besides the fact that the man is just a massive playmaker and liable to do major damage whenever he is around the ball, this would also force opposing defenses to adjust to Vernon even more.

Ultimately, I think Vernon will be just fine. He will continue to produce at the elite level we are used to. This article shouldn't be taken as a lack of confidence in the man. Rather, I am so confident in Vernon that watching a 49er football game in which he doesn't get multiple touches is disconcerting. The man is the lynchpin or fulcrum or what have you of the receiving corps. I'd like to see him continue his leadership role.

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