The numbers don’t lie.
The 11-year veteran receiver has been targeted 42 times by
Davis missed Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, but has caught two touchdown passes from Kaepernick in consecutive weeks. The presence of the speedy tight end has been key to the 49ers offense.
Boldin can attest.
“I think it’s noticeable,” said Boldin, who leads the 49ers with 26 catches and 393 receiving yards. “There’s a difference when he’s not in there. I get more roll coverage, a lot more double-teams.”
Boldin is well aware of the focus opponents have given him in his brief 49ers career. Boldin, however, is not complaining about.
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“Just work,” said Boldin, who needs two receptions to record his 800th career reception, making the fourth fastest receiver in NFL history to accomplish the feat – doing so in 146 games, eight games faster than Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice.
“There’s not much you can do. You know you can try and game plan, coaches can move you around a bit, but that’s about it.”
So while Boldin has been a consistent presence in the 49ers passing stat sheets, the 49ers coaches believe he won’t be the sole contributor in 2013.
“The ball is going to go where the coverage dictates for the most part,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman explained. “Especially when you have multiple receivers in a pattern and you’re trying to distribute the field a certain way. We don’t just say, ‘Hey throw it to this guy,’ because if he’s doubled, that’s not good for business as they say.
“So, the ball’s going to go to the open guy and other guys besides Anquan need to step up.”
In Roman’s mind, the best passing attacks don’t force the football into one receiver.
“As far as coverage goes, the best passing teams are always going to use that as their modicum,” he said. “There really starting point is if we’re going to throw the ball where the coverage tells us to go.”
Roman is hopeful the 49ers will add to the receiving corps as the season goes. Veteran
“That’s possible,” Roman said.
“Coach Crabtree, been doing a wonderful job,” Roman said. “Just got to get him a whistle and a clipboard and there we have it. But no, Michael has been very good in meetings, out on the field on gameday and he’s working really hard. Looking good.”
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Until the 49ers can activate both Manningham and Crabtree, two trusted agents in the passing game, the team will continue to feature Boldin and Davis. Kaepernick’s targets are averaging 15.1 and 16.0 yards per reception, respectively. They’ve also caught all six of Kaepernick’s touchdown passes, Davis leading the way with four touchdown grabs.
Roman is not dwelling on main contributor’s being sidelined, he’s pleased with the progress of the current receiving group.
“Guys are busting their tails, working hard,” he said. “Love the attitude. Love how we’re approaching it. Love how the guys work. And, we just got to continue to improve. Last week’s game was an interesting game.”
The 49ers scored a defensive touchdown to start the game against the Houston Texans and got in the end zone two more times on the ground before the passing game could get going. Roman was fine with it.
“It’s 21-0 before you got to go refill your beer,” San Francisco’s play-caller said. “So, it just took on a different life of its own. But, I felt the guys played extremely well and just didn’t call a whole lot of passes because our O-line was moving some earth.”