Vernon Davis admits that he wants to remain a team player. When he was asked about his NFL career, the 49ers starting tight end that he is only thinking about winning a ring and not putting up stats or All-Pro accolades.
“In my younger days I played for stats,” Davis said on Sunday afternoon. “It’s all about that ring, and that’s what I’m here for [which is] to help these guys get the ring.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said Davis is looking “pretty good” throughout training camp and it has showed with several receptions in the middle of the field for 20 or more yards. Davis said he is currently at 245 pounds and his weight has helped him become even quicker. Harbuagh said he has noticed the changes throughout the last year.
“I see a lot of improvement in his ability as a football player with route-running,” said Harbuagh. “He looks a little leaner, too. He’s in the prime of his career.”
With Michael Crabtree being out for a significant amount of time with a torn Achilles, Davis will be expected to step in as a receiver on occasion. Last year, the chemistry with Davis and Colin Kaepernick didn’t click immediately as the team’s quarterback was seen throwing to Te Delanie Walker more frequently.
During training camp Kaepernick tossed a few more deep balls to Davis which included a pair of 30-yard passes on deep corner routes.
“[Kaepernick] gotten a lot better,” said Davis. “You have to keep in mind, we had minicamp and OTAs, we had an opportunity to get some things to get corrected and get our timing where it needed to be. In training camp, it’s even better.”
Davis said in training camp it has been easier to work with Kaepernick knowing the timing and habits. His relationship with Kaepernick has been better throughout the last month.
“We have a great relationship, we’re putting it all out there and we’re working in training camp,” said Davis. “That’s what training camp is all about. It’s about developing that relationship, that’s what we’re doing here.”
In Kaepernick’s debut start against the Chicago Bears, Davis had six receptions for 83 yards but failed to get 30 yards during the remainder of the regular season. He was averaging one reception per game and was not even targeted in a game against the New Orleans Saints.
Davis admitted that the on-field chemsitry wasn’t clicking when Kaepernick took over San Francisco’s starting quarterback job, but this is the first full off-season with both players on the first-team offense.
“We’ve come a long way since last year,” Davis said. “It takes time to get that connection and to develop something special.”
Davis had 41 receptions 2012 which was his lowest total since 2008. The 6-3 tight end will be expected to make a significant contribution to the 49ers passing game with Crabtree’s absence.
He has the most touchdowns for a tight end in 49ers history 40 touchdowns and is second in team history only behind Brent Jones with 345 receptions and 4,351 receiving yards combined.
Even though Davis has put up impressive record numbers with the 49ers in his seven years, he won’t be looking to set more records entering his eighth season. He says he is one of many players who will help the team.
“I’m here to contribute, I’m just a piece of the puzzle,” said Davis “I’m not here for statistics, I’m not here for the Pro Bowl.”