Over the entire, long NFL off-season, there have been nothing but positive reports about 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.
Following a disappointing 2014 season, Davis has been an active, enthusiastic participant in the team’s offseason program and appears motivated to have a big, bounce-back year.
Since the end of the 2014 campaign, the installation of a new coaching staff and organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, Davis has been a positive force.
Recently, in fact, he told the team’s website that he’s convinced the 49ers will have “nothing but success” in 2015 – despite predictions of a big drop by many.
Also, this week, Mark Purdy, longtime columnist for the Bay Area News Group, noted that the word out of the 49ers is that Davis actually was injured for much of 2014, but didn’t talk about it.
New offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, in fact, told Purdy that he’s excited about getting Davis involved in a new-look passing attack that also will include newcomers Reggie Bush and Torrey Smith.
“I think that Vernon is going to have a big year,” Chryst told Purdy.
But the perception left by Davis’s disappointing 2014 still lingers. Many NFL observers see Davis’s lackluster stats from his ninth pro season – just 26 catches for 245 yards and two scores – as proof that he’s on a downhill slide.
This week, in fact, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com’s Around the NFL column included Davis on his list of 15 potential surprise training camp cuts this summer.
Wrote Rosenthal: “Around the NFL heard whispers that the 49ers ‘sniffed around’ tight end Julius Thomas when he was a free agent. If the 49ers were able to consummate that deal, Davis would have been released.”
Rosenthal adds that Davis has received “predictable buzz” for a potential bounce-back year in 2015, but pointed to the fact Davis is due to make $4.35 million this season in the final year of his 49ers contract – which could make him vulnerable.
Certainly, anything is possible.
But for now, trimming Davis seems unlikely, given all the signs.
As 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said this spring of his tight end, “I think he’s looking, as are we, to the future, coming back and having a heck of a year.”