Vernon Davis: I'm the Same Player I've Always Been

Vernon Davis has gone seven games without a touchdown catch.

Yes, you read that right.

It's the longest touchdown-less stretch of the tight end's nine-year career with the San Francisco 49ers.

Davis caught 13 touchdown passes last season. He appeared to be on a similar path after hauling in two scores in San Francisco's Week 1 road win against the Dallas Cowboys.

Davis' number, however, hasn't been called as often as in years past. In eight games this season, Davis has 18 receptions for 176 receiving yards. After being targeted 84 times last year, Davis has just 35 targets in eight games. Injuries have played a role in his 2014 production. But on Wednesday, Davis said he's fully recovered from back and knee issues that hampered him prior to the team's Week 8 bye.

Davis said if anybody doubts his ability, they're mistaken.

"Are you the still the same player that you have been?" a reporter asked Davis.

"I would like to think so," the tight end said. "I feel like I've been doing the same things in practice since I got here.

"If anyone is asking that question, I would just tell them, 'Come to practice.'"

San Francisco's practices are not open to the public. Reporters are only able to see Davis warm up during individual drills.

So is Davis really the same vertical threat we've seen in recent seasons? Is he the same player who has franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches by a tight end?

Judging by his body language and upbeat facial expressions, Davis sounded optimistic that he could have a major impact in San Francisco's six regular season games remaining on the calendar.

That would start with Sunday's home contest against Washington.

The veteran tight end said he hasn't spoken to the offensive coaching staff about his role, especially in the red zone, where he hasn't been targeted often despite the team's struggles inside the 20-yard line.

"All I can do is just take care of my assignments and do my job and just work as hard as I possibly can," said Davis while wearing a green Michigan State shirt, a sign of a lost bet with fellow tight end Garrett Celek.

"I'll do whatever it takes to help this team win," Davis continued. "That's what I'm here for. As far as getting those touchdowns and those yards, I'm not sure. I'll leave that up to the coaches."

Tugging on offensive coordinator Greg Roman's sleeves to ask for more targets is not Davis' mindset at this point of the season.

"If you're working hard and doing the right things," he said, "it's only a matter of time. It will come. I know that I have to be optimistic, keep my faith and just keep working hard."

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