Vernon Davis Improves Ball Skills


Vernon Davis showcased excellent hands when he caught a low bullet to complete a 4-yard touchdown with two Green Bay defensive backs covering him in Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers.

The fact that Davis has added impeccable hand-eye coordination and concentration to his already daunting combination of size and speed makes the prospect of trying to stop the 49ers tight end even more of a headache for opposing defensive coordinators.

"The first couple of years (in the NFL) I probably couldn't have done anything like that," Davis said of the touchdown catch. "That's something that I've been working on. It's one of those catches where you have to go out and train your eyes and hands to be able to grab that ball."

Davis is hungry to improve even coming off one of the greatest postseason performances in NFL history. The seventh-year veteran's advancement in ball skills serves as a prime example.

In the 2012 playoffs, Davis became only the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to catch at least a pair of touchdowns in two consecutive games during the same postseason.

As an encore, Sunday's performance in Green Bay saw Davis record three catches for 43 yards. Davis showed he has picked up right where he left off last year.

The additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to the 49ers receiving corps can only help reduce the amount of double teams Davis has become so accustomed to facing throughout his six previous seasons.

It certainly was the case when Davis got open over the middle for a 29-yard completion from Alex Smith during the same third-quarter drive in which Davis found the end zone.

"Randy's going to make big plays and (Michael) Crabtree's going to make big plays," Davis said of his teammates. "What that does is it allows the attention to get away from me and go toward them… It's awesome playing with those guys because we work hand-in-hand. If the attention goes to them I get the ball and if it goes to me they get the ball."

Davis was also complementary of his quarterback on Wednesday. Smith was 20-of-26 for 211 yards with no interceptions against the Packers.

The 49ers quarterback has now thrown 185 passes without an interception, passing Hall of Famer Steve Young (184 attempts) for the most in franchise history.

"It's pretty amazing, but it doesn't surprise me," Davis said of his quarterback's record. "Since I've been here with Alex, when I look into his eyes I see determination. I see a guy that wants to succeed and he wants it bad… He's doing a great job of taking charge as far as being a leader. That's why he's one of the captains this year. He's doing a great job at it, I'm very proud of him."

Davis has emerged as Smith's go-to target in recent seasons, a fact that was on display on Sunday. The pair's touchdown connection came on a third down in the red zone, an area where by all accounts, the 49ers struggled last season.

Davis' touchdown celebration on Sunday was less impressive than the catch itself, as his attempt to dunk over the goal post was not successful.

As expected, his teammates have yet to let him live it down.

Moss and Crabtree, the only two members of the 49ers to notch more receiving yards than Davis on Sunday, have been the most vocal joking about the celebration. with Davis.

Joking amongst teammates aside, Davis made it clear the Green Bay game is in the past and the full attention of the 49ers locker room is focused on the Detroit Lions for this week's Sunday night matchup in Candlestick Park.

"We look forward to the matchup," Davis said. "They're a good team offensively and defensively, but we have to go in there with a clear mind. We have to attack them right away and play hard-nosed football like we did last week."

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