For 49ers watchers, there was at least one encouraging sign this week: Tight end Vernon Davis is taking part in the team’s voluntary offseason workout program that began Tuesday.
Davis, who will be entering his 10th NFL season, is coming off his worst season since his rookie year of 2006. If the 49ers are to rebound from a disappointing 8-8 season in 2014, Davis will need to again be a valuable – and well-used – piece of the offense.
Last season he was targeted just 50 times and had 26 catches. In 2013, he had 52 catches on 84 targets. In many games, he simply vanished from the 49ers game plan.
His lack of production reportedly has caused the 49ers to consider selecting a tight end in this year’s draft that begins April 30.
But as the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows noted this week, Davis’s attendance in workouts could signal “a renewed commitment for the 2015 season.”
Barrows pointed out that last year, Davis didn’t attend these workout programs or the June minicamp as he made a push for a new contract. Barrows wrote that Davis – coming off a season of 13 touchdown catches and 850 yards receiving – didn’t attend because, he said, “It’s all about getting paid what you deserve.”
Now, however, Davis apparently is committed to getting back on the same page with his teammates and new coaching staff. After an offseason of upheaval, the 49ers need the dangerous Davis to be a legitimate receiving threat for Colin Kaepernick. And if Davis can start that momentum rolling in April and carry it through minicamp and summer training camp, the offense under new coordinator Geep Chryst could be the better for it.
Niners general manager Trent Baalke told Barrows that “a lot of circumstances” went into Davis’ subpar season, and he’s confident Davis can be a key player again in 2015.
“I think he’s looking, as are we, to the future, coming back and having a heck of a year,” Baalke told Barrows.
On Twitter, Davis certainly seems excited to get a head start on the next season.
Recently, he posted a photo of himself making a catch with the message: “My hunger for success is fueled by my passion. #passion #success #hardwork #ionlyheartthepositive.”