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Vernon Davis’ Lack of Production Means Offensive Balance

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 7: Tight end Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a pass and picks up a first down against the Buffalo Bills on October 7, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 45-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

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 By Jerrell Richardson

There is no denying the drop in production, statistically by Vernon Davis. The gifted tight end has just six catches in his last six games, and after a career in which he has been a major part of the offense, there is the raising level of concern. How will the team survive the playoffs without their Pro Bowler, playing at a Pro Bowl level? A closer look however shows that there is no reason for the murmurs, based on two reasons. One is that the team is winning, and that’s all that really matters. The other reason is that the dip in Davis’ numbers has more to do with the way he is being defended then the admitted lack of timing between he and Colin Kaepernick, or the foolish notion that the coaching staff is not designing plays to get the ball into Vernon’s hands. The San Francisco coaching staff knows the importance of Davis, but must also avoid catering the game plan to silence a few critics. The reality is that Davis needed to be the number one option previously due to those around him, and despite his recent decline statistically, continues to play a major role in the teams success.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 7:  Tight end Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a pass and picks up a first down against the Buffalo Bills on October 7, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 45-3.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Two Is Better Then One

Even if the 49ers wanted to call plays designed to get the ball into Davis’ hand they would have a hard time doing so. Since entering the league he has been one of the best in the game, and after his impressive postseason last year, and a hot start to this season, opposing teams were fed up. The game plan to defend the 49ers passing attack turned into eliminate Vernon Davis, and force someone else to beat you. This has opened the door for Michael Crabtree, who this season became the first 49er since Terrell Owens in 2013, to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. Kaepernick has developed a undeniable chemistry with Crabtree, which only makes the offense more dynamic, and this year the team enters the playoffs with two very viable threats in the passing game. So now their opposition must pick their poison, as you can’t double both.

Davis’ Time Will Come

Nobody has doubted the talent level of Vernon Davis, or think that he has lost a steip. After all just last year he torched the Saint and Giant defenders while carrying the offensive load. Of course the team would welcome him averaging 10 catches a scoring multiple touchdowns per game, but if he is being watched by two or three defenders every snap, then it’s a good thing that Kaepernick is not forcing the ball to him. Not only has Crabtree lived up to the loft expectations placed on the former Texas Tech standout, but the entire 49er offense has benefited from the attention Davis demands, with everyone from Delanie Walker to Bruce Miller getting open in the passing game. Davis is still a threat to connect on a deep pass, and there will be several times this postseason when the coverage and circumstance call for the home run ball to Davis. In the meantime he will open up the entire field for his teammates, until they can catch their opponent napping, and strike over the top to #85.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest 49er news, see CBS Sports Sacramento.

Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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