San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has become the roster's elder statesman as the longest tenured position player. That responsibility as a leader of the 49ers locker room has made Davis an integral part of the team's voluntary offseason program, something he didn't attend in 2014.
Davis is one of the staples of a team that has seen so much change in just one offseason: a new head coach, the departure of the team's all-time leading rusher and the retirement of a Hall of Fame-caliber linebacker to name a few.
But for all of the turnover, the 49ers will benefit from the fact that both of their new coordinators aren't new at all. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst has been San Francisco's quarterbacks coach for the last four seasons. Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini served as the 49ers tight ends coach in 2014 and as an offensive consultant in 2013.
Both are familiar faces with a track record of success.
As the team's quarterbacks coach in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff Round against the New Orleans Saints, Chryst called the famous "Vernon Post" play that sent Davis on a post-route up the left seam. Davis caught the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, sending the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.
Davis hasn't forgotten the play and has stamped his seal of approval on Chryst's promotion to offensive coordinator.
"Geep is a great guy," Davis said. "He's a great person. When he walks into the room he lights it up. He's also a very unique offensive coordinator, in a good way. He's amazing, he's very energetic and he knows how to win."
The 49ers completed a voluntary three-day minicamp last week. That marked the first time the new-look coaching staff has had the opportunity to work with the players, including all of the team's 2015 free-agent signings.
So far, so good, said Davis.
"It's still early, but I feel like we have something special," Davis said. "I'm saying that because I really sense that. I feel like we have a lot of leaders. We added some guys like Darnell Dockett and Reggie Bush. These guys are going to help us. You only play this game for one reason and that's to play in the Super Bowl. All you want is that shot and that's all we ask for. We know we have to work extremely hard in order to get there."
The good vibes from minicamp extend to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who Davis said has put in the work to be successful in 2015.
"He's piggy-backing off of last year," Davis said. "Last season he probably didn't have the season that he wanted to have. No one really did. He can take all that, get to the offseason, work on your game and get better. That's what he did. He improved himself."
The 49ers tight end is coming off a down year himself. His 26 receptions in 2014 were the lowest since the 20 passes he caught as a rookie in 2006. Davis expects to have a bounce-back campaign in a season that will see him become the newest member of San Francisco's "10 Year Club."
Davis mentioned numerous times that it's too early for season predictions, but that didn't stop him from voicing his confidence for the 49ers outlook this season.
"I feel that with all this good energy, we're going to do nothing but have success," Davis said. "We're going to be successful no matter what. All we have to do is stay together as a team, keep each other up, motivate each other and take it one day at a time."