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Monday, November 21, 2011
Vernon Davis: Little things elevating 49ers

By Mike Sando

SAN FRANCISCO -- Vernon Davis, once the San Francisco 49ers' publicly brashest player, has grown into a reliable source of perspective.

The Pro Bowl tight end broke open the 49ers' 23-7 victory over Arizona with a second-half touchdown reception Sunday. He said the 49ers have long been a confident team, but in past seasons, doubt crept in when the defeats piled up.

Now, at 9-1, the doubt is gone. Why? One reason, Davis said, was the new coaching staff's insistence upon coaching to the smallest details, a theme quarterback Alex Smith has hit upon as well.

"It makes a big difference in my eyes, I believe," Davis said. "A little thing could be me getting the correct depth on my route that’s 12 yards. Don’t get 11, get 12. Don’t get 14, get 12, those type of things. Catching the ball with your eyes. Whether it’s (tackle) Anthony Davis getting his second step down right after his first step, those little things right there can make a difference, a big difference."

Right, but didn't previous coaches emphasize details as well?

"One thing that I found out is that you can focus on the little things as much as you can, year after year after year, but you revert back to your bad habits," Davis said. "You always revert back. That’s what the coaches are there for: to get on you. Sometimes, you get coaches that don’t really talk about the little things. You might be doing so well that they don’t mention the little things to you."

The 49ers won comfortably Sunday, but their offense and special teams didn't do all the little things well. There were blocked field goals, dropped passes, errant throws and penalties in the return game.

Davis' touchdown reception was the 34th of his career, moving him past Brent Jones on the 49ers' all-time list for tight ends. Again, though, Davis sought perspective.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "The win meant more to me today. I’m more excited about the win than anything. I can celebrate the touchdown catch later. It’s all about winning right now and that’s what I’m most excited about."