Davis' play supports Martz's contention

November, 14, 2008
11/14/08
11:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Vernon Davis' touchdown grab over Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson had to be one of the more encouraging developments for the 49ers in Week 10.

Davis

The 49ers need Davis to develop into a red-zone threat. They need him to become more than just a straight-line route runner. They need him to make the difficult catches. Davis accomplished all those things on this one play.

I asked Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for his thoughts on the play. He explained the route and gave Davis credit for making an outstanding play.

Whisenhunt on the play in general: "He ran a little shake route, but Adrian actually covered it very well. It was a good throw and I think you have to give Vernon credit for making a great catch. He came over the back. Adrian actually turned to play the ball and he came over his back and made the catch, which is a very nice catch. That happens."

Whisenhunt breaking down the play: "I had seen him run something like that. It was obvious what they were trying to do with it. They were trying to isolate him, in this case on Adrian, and give the illusion of running a shake route across the middle where he comes and shakes and comes back. He stuttered and took it deep, which sometimes is an adjustment when you have two high safeties. It wasn't unexpected, but it wasn't something they had shown a lot of."

The 49ers generally haven't asked Davis to run complicated routes requiring adjustments. But offensive coordinator Mike Martz suggested last month that Davis was grasping offensive concepts to a much greater degree and that the "lights have gone on" for the 2006 first-round draft choice. This reception against the Cardinals might provide some evidence.

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