For sports writers who doubt the efficacy of Coach Mike Singletary's mantras that stress hard work, attention to detail and an intense dedication to hustle, just check out Vernon Davis.
At yesterday's game, I watched him cross the middle with two Rams trailing. When Shaun Hill threw a strike to him, he muffed it.
Unlike the past few seasons, I just clapped my hands and said, "Next time, Vernon, next time."
Later in the game, he came through with a tough TD reception. Davis must have really enjoyed it when the fans at Candlestick erupted in cheers after he scored. After all, he has not been used much as a receiver over the past few seasons.
In a feature published on the 49ers' team web site prior to the Rams game, Davis' accomplishments this season were noted.
He has already shown improvement this year with three TDs, compared to only two in 2008. Not only that, but his other stats are much improved: 17 receptions in four games compared to 31 total catches last year. He has compiled 211 yards in four games to his 16-game total of 358 last season. His yards-per-game average this year is 52.8, while he only averaged 22.4 YPG in 2008.
The guy is a stud as a blocker and will do anything to contribute, just as the 49ers' article pointed out:
"Ask him to run block last week against Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen – done – no questions asked. Asked frequently to help in pass protection a season ago – Davis obliged and was complimented by his head coach as one of the best blocking tight ends he’s ever seen."
So why are things coming together this season?
"You grow,” the article quoted Davis as saying. “You’re developing not just as a player but as a person. When you develop as a person, you fine-tune yourself. You figure out that it’s not just about you, it’s about the team and the contributions you make on the field, helps the team.”
Davis also said he is having fun.
Well, Vernon, we're having fun watching you!