Vernon Davis took about five minutes to talk with reporters after yesterday’s practice, and most of the questions had to do with changes in personnel. There were questions about guys who will miss significant time due to injury (Michael Crabtree), the tight end who Davis played alongside with and competed against since entering the league (Delanie Walker), as well as Walker’s replacement (Vance McDonald). There’s also some talk about the quarterback who replaced Alex Smith last year (Colin Kaepernick). The interview even ended with a couple questions about one of Davis’ old coaches (Mike Singletary), although Davis wasn’t in the mood to discuss specifics about a recent conversation between the two.
Davis also refused to say something many have assumed recently — that for the 49ers to make up for Crabtree’s production, Davis will have to put up bigger numbers than he has in the two years since Jim Harbaugh took over. And for all the talk about on-field chemistry between a quarterback and a receiver (or, in this case, a tight end), Davis sure made it sound as if the way players’ personalities mesh off the field is equally important.
Before we get into the transcript, just one more thing. The photo above is of Davis running a long out route toward the right sideline on a ball thrown by Kaepernick. Did he make oh-so-meaningful catch on a Tuesday afternoon in May with nobody covering him? Stay tuned!
Okay, now it’s transcript time. Get pumped.
GENERAL STUFF ABOUT THE TEAM
Q: So what’s the vibe around this place now?
Davis: Good vibe, good vibe. Everybody’s coming in to work. It’s early right now, but we’re still working. That’s the most important thing, that we come in, learn and continue to grow as players.
Q: Last year, the offseason a year ago, you were so focused. Do you think that’s a carryover to this year, that the new guys come in and know how to work, how to get prepared for a season?
Davis: I think with the leaders that we have on this team, guys can come in and just learn. We have a lot of guys that lead by example. We have a lot of guys that lead vocally. That’s important on a team, especially when you’re trying to win and build good team chemistry you want to have those leaders in place so the younger guys can follow.
ABOUT MICHAEL CRABTREE
Q: Vernon, do you expect to see a much more significant role in this offense with Michael being hurt and Delanie being gone?
Davis: I’m not sure. I don’t know what to expect. I leave that up to the coaches. All I can do is just do my job and do what they ask me to do. And at the end of the day, that’s what I believe what I’m here for is to contribute any way that they ask me, any form or fashion. It doesn’t really matter, it’s up to them.
Q: Do you feel like you need to put up big numbers to help this offense compensate for the loss of Crabtree?
Davis: I feel like all I need to do is just do my job. Everything else will take care of itself. I’m not worried about the numbers. I’m not worried about anything like that. I’m just here to do my job.
ABOUT DELANIE WALKER
Q: This is your first year without Delanie by your side. Is that weird not having him around?
Davis: Well, I came in with Delanie. We developed some good chemistry amongst us. The two of us, we became friends. We also became competitors. We used to compete against each other. He’s just one of those guys that, you know that he’s gone because when he’d walk in a room he’d just light it up. It’s going to be hard, but you have to move on. This industry, this business, you never know what to expect. Because you’re here today, and you’re gone tomorrow.
Q: How’s your rapport with the new guy, Vance McDonald? Do you see the potential for that sort of competitive rivalry occurring with him, or is he too young to really have that going on?
Davis: He’s definitely a competitor. He likes to compete and I think he’s a good asset to this team because of what he brings. He can move really well for his size. I think he’s like 270 pounds. He moves really well, the best I’ve ever seen from a 270-pound guy. I assume he can block, based on what we’ve been doing out there. So if he can do all those things and continue to improve what he has, I think he’ll be a tremendous asset to this team.
ABOUT COLIN KAEPERNICK
First, a video of the Kap portion of the interview:
BASG: Have you seen some growth in Colin Kaepernick’s game since the last time you’ve played with him up until now?
Davis: Definitely. Definitely seen some growth in Colin Kaepernick’s game. He continues to improve each and every day that he walks on this campus. You’d better believe that he’s coming to work. He’s just one of those guys that has it in him. He likes to work, he likes to be successful. And he will do anything it takes to become that.
Q: What kind of communication do you guys have to develop a stronger rapport with Kap? Do you ask him what more he wants out of you, vice versa?
Davis: A lot of that has to do with the relationship away from the field. You know, we bond really well. We play, we joke, away from the field. That’s very important, especially when it comes to developing that relationship with your quarterback. You want to be able to joke with this guy. Can you sit down and say to yourself, “Can I joke with this guy? I can play with this guy.” You know what I mean? Because that’s what it’s about. It’s about what you do away from here. Of course we’re going to go out and we’re going to want to work on the field, but how’s your relationship away from the field?
Q: So how is it? Good?
Davis: Always been good. Just like me and Alex, always been good. (Anthony Dixon walks over from the weight room and says, “Believe that. Believe that,” over Davis’ shoulder, except it sounded more like this.) No complaints out of him. He’s always been a stand up guy, great guy, awesome personality. And just one of those guys that you can approach with anything.
ABOUT MIKE SINGLETARY
Q: Did you run into Mike Singletary recently?
Davis: I did.
Q: And where was that?
Davis: He was in my neighborhood at a neighbor’s house. I heard he was in town and when to go pay my respect.
Q: Good to see him?
Davis: Yeah, just talking about life, football, things like that.
Q: Anything special?
Davis: Nothing special, just normal. That’s Singletary. Talking about life, the values of life, the game of football. You know how he talks. That’s all it was.
Q: Was that the first time you’ve seen him outside of pregame?
Davis: Yeah, for sure.
Now about that pass from Kaepernick …