Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Following up on Vernon Davis, West TEs
By Mike Sando
Vernon Davis took no snaps on the perimeter and just one from the slot during San Francisco 49ers practice Tuesday.
The subject is of interest after Davis, a career tight end, suggested he would be working with wide receivers. The truth is that Davis will remain a tight end even if he does line up in the slot or outside the numbers a little more frequently.
Davis has averaged 19.0 yards per reception, tops among tight ends over the past two regular seasons and playoffs, when lined up in the slot or outside the yard-line numbers, according to Doug Clawson of ESPN Stats & Information. He has six touchdowns on these plays, including four during the playoffs after the 2011 regular season. He caught seven passes on seven targets for 259 yards on those plays.
For perspective, I've put together a chart showing 2012 regular-season reception totals for prominent NFC West tight ends, broken down by whether the player lined up wide, in the slot or as an inline tight end.
Jared Cook, formerly of the Tennessee Titans and now with the St. Louis Rams, caught a high percentage of passes from the slot. These tight ends caught very few of their passes after lining up as wide receivers outside the yard-line numbers. I don't think Davis is going to suddenly start operating from that area regularly. Doing so would essentially remove him from the running game while making it tougher for him to motion into the formation.