As the No. 43 overall player in the game today, according to NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2012 list, tight end Vernon Davis is pleased to see so many teammates joining him on the list.
As last year’s No. 88 overall player, Davis made the biggest leap from last year’s bunch, climbing 45 spots to his current ranking.
You might think Davis is excited with the increased respect from the NFL players who voted, but that’s really not the case.
“I’m more excited about my teammates being on the list,” Davis told 49ers.com.
“It’s nice,” Davis also said. “But like anyone, I always want better.”
In the mind of the versatile 49ers tight end, joining teammates NaVorro Bowman, Carlos Rogers and Joe Staley (so far) on the list is special.
To Davis, it’s a testament to the improvements made by the 49ers.
“It says a lot to be on the Top 100 list,” said the 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end who is entering his seventh season in San Francisco. “It says a lot about this team and what we have. We have a lot of guys that are hard workers, dedicated, and love football. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.”
In addition to the nucleus in place, Davis has enjoyed getting to know new teammates like Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs.
A veteran like Moss, for example, has plenty of insight to share. Davis makes sure to soak up all of it.
“Randy Moss,” began Davis, “he’s not just a player, he’s a coach.”
Although the two play different positions, Davis couldn’t help but listen intently when Moss began to detail route-running on the practice fields.
“We were out there today and he was coaching me up on some things,” Davis said. “And I’ll take it; I’ll take him up on it because he’s been in the game a lot longer than me.
“I’m more than happy to have Randy Moss on the team.”
As for Manningham and Jacobs, the two contributors from the Super Bowl-Champion New York Giants, Davis has appreciated the hard-working efforts of his former foes.
Davis described Manningham as a “play-maker,” and also added, “He’s a big asset to our team.”
Jacobs, the physically imposing runner, left a similar impression on Davis.
“He can really get it done,” Davis said. “If you watch highlights of him in the playoffs and heading into the Super Bowl, he did some wonderful things. I’m very happy to have him a part of our family.”
The family continues to grow bonds with newcomers getting reps in the offensive and defensive systems for their first times. So does the relationships between longtime teammates.
For Davis, working with quarterback Alex Smith for an eighth year is a big plus.
In previous years, Davis came up with the phrase “11-85 connection” to describe the two’s on-field relationship.
As of 2012, the “11-85 connection” remains the same, if not better.
“I love it,” Davis said on his relationship with Smith. “I expect it to get even better. I want to capitalize on what we had in the playoffs. I want to be there for Alex and I expect the rest of the receiving core to be there as well.”
The growing chemistry between Smith, Davis, and the receivers is a big development for a team one win away from a sixth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
But as Davis points out, the team’s concentration has to pick up for the 49ers to take greater steps.
“We have a lot to be excited about around here. We’re winning, but we have to keep our focus, stay on the right track and don’t forget what it took last year to get where we were. We can’t forget that.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis
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