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49ers 2011 Roster Confidence, Tight End: Will Vernon Davis Paint The Picture Of Consistency?

So, we actually had the '0' option prevail in the latest confidence post, taking a look at fullback Moran Norris and his ... let's call it "varied" level of play in 2010. We had 121 people vote that they had zero confidence in Norris, and it's a position I can understand. Now, we move on to hopefully brighter topics and examine the 49ers tight end position, and more specifically, Vernon Davis. My Long Look Back, Brief Look Forward post on the position can be found right here, for some preliminary reading.

Vernon had 56 receptions for 914 yards with seven touchdowns and an average of 16.3 yards-per-reception. His yardage totals and touchdown totals were down from 2009, but his receptions and average yards-per-reception saw a definitive increase. He was a reliable target, to say the least, and every time Alex Smith threw him the ball, it was usually a great throw. I don't know what it was about Davis, but it seemed like Alex actually threw better balls, with good spin and accuracy on them, when he was throwing them to him.

Maybe it's because Vernon's routes were simple, and Smith knew he could depend on them. That isn't to say Davis has bad route running by any means, it's just that he didn't beat guys because of it, he beat them with superior athleticism. Davis was the guy last year, and in Jim Harbaugh's offense, he'll be the guy again. Harbaugh loves tight ends, and Vernon Davis must be like a gift from above in that regard.

Still, one has to wonder if Davis is going to keep playing at that level. Mike Singletary came in and whipped him into shape, nobody can deny that Davis owes his turnaround to Sing, as much as he has earned our eternal ire. Maybe without Singletary he doesn't play as hard. Maybe with that contract extension and a lazy offseason, he doesn't come back as strong. Maybe he was never that great to begin with and after two 900 yard seasons, teams will key in on him and figure him out. Who knows at this point?

A '10' implies nothing short of a Pro Bowl season. Davis did better than Tony G. over in Atlanta this past season and it's criminal that he was snubbed from the game. A '7' implies that he'll be a great tight end, but maybe he gives way to other targets in the west coast offense. A '5' implies regression, but regression from his caliber of play would indicate somebody who is still a good starter. Below that is where the haters are.