Pro Football Focus's Jeff Deeney tweets out all sorts of interesting tidbits about the 49ers, and today he had some about tight end Vernon Davis. Through 12 games, Davis has 23 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Deeney tweeted out his stats on pass attempts of 20+ yards:
Vernon Davis on pass attempts of 20+ yards: 2013: 11-23, 409 yards, 6 TD 2014: 1-8, 29 yards, 1 TD #49ers— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) November 29, 2014
The season has been mostly a disaster for him, and one has to wonder how much his previous back injury has to do with it. He had this brief exchange with Matt Maiocco after tweeting out the above stats:
@MaioccoCSN Probably some of both, but my guess would be more of the latter. 0-6 since his back injury vs. PHI.— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) November 29, 2014
Davis suffered an ankle and knee injury against the Chicago Bears in Week 2, and sat out Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals. He returned in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, and proceeded to suffer a back injury. He missed Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but returned in Week 6. He has played since then, but there has been a belief that his back has hampered him.
I don't really have anything I can say about Vernon's back that would not be mere speculation. But can there be any other explanation for how little we have seen of him in the passing game? I supposed he could have hit a wall and has lost a step, but given the back injury in Week 4, it really seems like that is a big issue. The 49ers offense was not spectacular last year, but it seemed at least a little more consistent. There could be a host of explanations, but compensating for an injured Vernon Davis could certainly be one of them.