Davis: 'I just do what I'm told'

Vernon Davis has just five receptions in the 49ers' first five games, and just two catches in their last four games. Being called upon to block as much as he's being used as a receiver in the passing game, the mercurial tight end is patiently dealing with the frustration and biding his time until he can make his mark in Mike Martz's offense, as Davis talks about here in a wide-ranging interview.

Q: Are you content with the role that you are playing right now in the offense?
Davis:
Well, I want to help out as much as I can as far as catching passes. I mean, that's what I'm here to do. Make plays. That's what I want to do. But I guess there's really nothing you can do when you've got two or three guys running with you (on passing patterns). The only thing you probably can do is try to come up with different ways to get me the ball or something like that. But you can't stop that. If they're running with you, they're running with you for a reason.

Q: What do you think it's going to take to free you up to get more passes?
Davis:
Um, I don't know. I'm doing everything that I need to do, and everything I'm asked to do and more. I'm running my routes, I'm running fast, full-speed, I'm playing fast. I'm doing what coaches ask me to do. That's the only thing I can do right now.

Q: How much do you assess your performance each week on the number of passes that you catch?
Davis:
I play well every game. I mean, that's what I do. I go out there to compete, and that's what I do. I go out there and try to win every battle, whether it's running a route, or blocking, or pass protecting, or whatever it is. It's not necessarily got to be catch it to have a good game. That's what people don't see. If you're a pass-catcher, like I can be, they expect for you to have a good game, you have to catch passes. But I don't think it's always all about it. There are other things, like playing fast, you're blocking, you're dominating your opponent as far as pass protection and blocking and stuff like that.

Q: Is it fair to say you're not happy about having five receptions after five games?
Davis:
I don't think no one would. I don't think no receiver would.

Q: If someone had told you when the season began that you'd have five receptions after five games, what would have been your reaction?
Davis:
I'd probably have did what anybody would have did – looked at you like you were crazy.

Q: Is your role in the offense so far this season not going the way you expected it to go?
Davis:
I mean, it's too soon to say something like that. We have plenty more games left. It's still too soon to say that. We've got time. We've definitely still got time. We have plenty of games left.

Q: How has your learning process in this offense going?
Davis:
I'm pretty sure that me, and the rest of the receivers in this offense, and the tight ends, we know this offense. Once you get it, once you learn the basics of it, it's pretty much easy. All you have to do is what you're told.

Q: Do you still think that, in the offense, you can produce better numbers than you did last year?
Davis:
I believe in that. Even though I have five catches, I still believe in that. I still believe that can happen.

Q: What makes you hopeful that can still happen at this point?
Davis:
Just because I know I have to allow the coaches and stuff like that to call the correct plays and stuff like that to help me get open and stuff like that. As long as I keep running my routes and playing full speed and doing what I do best, which is hustling and playing the way Vernon plays, then things will start to happen.

Q: Does it concern you at all that over the years the tight end has never really been a big part of the Mike Martz offense?
Davis:
I've heard that numerous times where they've said that Mike Martz have never used tight ends as much. But I've talked to Mike Martz. He knows that I'm not like the average tight end. I can do more than that. I consider myself a playmaker. When I look at film and stuff like that, I just look at the things that I'm doing better than the other guy who is playing that week. I just look at some of the things that I can do better and things I am doing better, and I just go on from there.

Q: Have you had a conversation with Martz about your role and how you can be used more in the passing game?
Davis:
I've spoken to Mike Martz in the past. I haven't talked to him recently. I've been speaking to Mike Nolan and my (tight ends) coach.

Q: The routes you're being asked to run in this offense, do they come easy for you?
Davis:
The thing is, it seems like when they have plays to me, and they call the play, it seems like the coverage is not the way it is in practice, they run different coverages. Like, they might have two guys on me and we expected them to have one guy on me. Every time it's always the coverages are not the same on my routes. Because I'm told to sit and take different landmarks and stuff like that as far as running my routes – staying up the hash and all that. It just hasn't been open.

Q: Nolan said earlier this week that you're a great run blocker, great pass blocker – that you're doing two of three, but maybe that the routes that you run could use some improvement. Do you agree with that assessment?
Davis:
I mean, I didn't hear that. I don't know what to say about that one. I mean, every route I run, I run the correct route. If I don't, I'm pretty sure somebody would say something about it. If it's the wrong route, the coaches would come to me and tell me I ran the wrong route or anything like that. But I pretty much know what I have to do on my assignments. I know my assignments. And every time I compete against somebody, I always compete to win. That's what I'm going to do.

Q: What kind of joy do you take as a pass blocker?
Davis:
Well, I don't like to get beat. I don't like to lose. Whether it's pass blocking or run blocking, I'm going to do my best and make sure I can do everything it takes to win.

Q: Do you think your prowess as a pass blocker might detract at all from the way you're used as a receiver in the passing game?
Davis:
I don't know if protection is an issue for this team. I think we've got good offensive linemen who can protect and block. Sometimes, it's just different teams run different stunts that we didn't prepare for because we didn't know they were going to do it. We prepare for things that we see on film. I don't think that's the case. Everything I do, I try to do it well, whether it's running a route, pass protecting, run blocking… I'm trying my best not to lose.

Q: So, going into the game you're more in the plan as a route runner, but once the game begins coaches are having to use you more as a blocker?
Davis:
I'm not sure. When you come out to practice, you'll see me catching numerous passes. Other than the coverages being broken, I don't know what else to say about that.

Q: With all the pressure that Philadelphia brings, do you think you'll be called upon more in pass protection for this game?
Davis:
Well, normally when a team blitzes a lot, there's hot (plays) and we try to focus on that and prepare for that. That's pretty much it. I just do what I'm told.

Q: Have you been pass blocking more so far this season that previously in your career?
Davis:
Oh yeah. Big time. I've never pass protected as much as I'm doing now. I didn't expect it. I definitely didn't expect that.

Q: What do you say to observers who say that you ought to just put on 50 pounds and become a tackle?
Davis:
If I put on 50 pounds and be a tackle, I'd probably be the best tackle that every lived. (Laughs).

Q: So overall, you're not really that frustrated by the way everything is working out for you so far this season?
Davis:
Well, during the games is probably the most frustrating time. You want to help out, but I've learned that you can't get too frustrated, just have patient, be patient and your time will come. No matter the things that are going on right now, whether I'm not catching a lot of passes, I still have to be patient.

Q: Is it difficult for you to be patient?
Davis:
It's hard when you set goals for yourself and it seems like it's taking a long time for your to get there. But that's something that everyone needs to work on, as far as being patient, controlling yourself. It's just a matter of controlling yourself, and that's about it.



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