For the most part, the Dolphins will keep outside linebacker Joey Porter lined up away from tight end Vernon Davis, but by motioning Davis to Porter's side, the 49ers can get their highly-praised blocking tight end matched up on the NFL's sack leader.
"It's about technique and playing with your heart," said Davis of the potential matchup with one of the league's best. "If you play with your heart, technique and intensity, you can pretty much do whatever you want to do. I'm pretty sure he's a competitive guy as well. I'm a competitive guy, he's a competitive guy and we're pretty much going to have to get after it."
When the pair do go head to head, there's sure to be some verbal sparring as well, but Davis refuses to let all of the trash talking in the world from the notoriously outspoken Porter get under his skin.
"Oh that's fine. He can talk as long as he wants," said Davis. "I'm not going to let that get to me. I talked to Coach Singletary numerous times and we have an understanding, I won't let anybody get under my skin. I'm just going to go out there and play my game. I'm not going to let anybody take me out my game. I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can in the passing game as well as in the blocking game."
Davis learned from the incident in the 49ers loss to the Seahawks at home, in which he responded to some verbal taunting by pushing a Seattle defender under the chin. Davis incurred an unsportsmanlike penalty and ended up being sent to the showers by Singletary.
"That's what they want to do, they want to get under your skin. But I'm not going to let that happen ever again."
So Porter can try, as others have since that game, but Davis promises he won't bite.
"It seems like everybody was trying to come at me," said Davis. "People were telling me little things like, 'I'm going to tell Singletary to tell you to go in the locker room.' And things like that. It didn't bother me. I know they saw that on TV or whatever. Like I said, I'm just going to play my game and do what I do best, which is play hard every Sunday."
Singletary referred to Davis in his Monday press conference as the best blocking tight end ever. With Pro Bowl announcements coming next week, Davis wishes that blocking tight ends got more recognition.
"If you look at some of the tackles that go to the Pro Bowl who are known like Larry Allen, Leonard Davis and guys like that – they get noticed for their blocking. And I feel like the tight end should get noticed the same way," said Davis. I think there should be a Pro Bowl [spot] for a blocking tight end. I think tight ends should be picked for that. Because if you look at it, it's not just about catching passes. I mean yeah , the passes are fine, but if you look at a tight end's overall game and look at how he's running down the field or even if he's not catching passes and he's running down the field and the way he's blocking and the way he's pass protecting. That lets you know right there, looking at those things, how talented and how much intensity that tight end has."
And if there was such a Pro Bowl berth for a blocking tight end, Davis believes he'd be a shoe-in.
"If you say for blocking and pass protecting, I'd say yeah. And all the other things, being intense, playing fast. Yeah, why not?"
As it stands, most tight ends get voted into the Pro Bowl based on receiving production. With only 22 catches for 292 yards and two touchdowns, Davis admits he doesn't have Pro Bowl type numbers.
"From a pass catching standpoint I haven't really had the opportunity to do that," said Davis.
But offensive coordinator Mike Martz feels that Davis does deserve to have those passing opportunities come his way.
"Vernon made a heck of a catch last week," said Martz of a 20-yard grab by the tight end. "He went down and dug that ball out of the ground. He didn't chop his feet on the route. He's really maturing as a receiver. We are trying to get him the ball as often as we can. It doesn't always work out that way, but he's done a real good job route wise. He's really focused on doing all of the little details within the routes. To see the way he's progressed with (tight ends coach) Pete Hoener, it's pretty remarkable. He's done a good job."