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Tight End Tandem Pushes the Envelope

Posted by Alex Espinoza on July 30, 2012 – 10:55 AM

What’s better than having Vernon Davis on your team? Having Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.

The 49ers are spoiled when it comes to talented tight ends, featuring one of the best duos in the league. Davis and Walker have grown tight as teammates in their six years together on the 49ers and have become a headache for opposing defenses.

While Davis’ prowess in run-blocking and the passing game is well-noted throughout the league, Walker has quietly become one of the most valuable players on the 49ers. Used in various roles on offense – on the line, split out wide or in the backfield – and also on special teams, Walker has gained the trust and confidence of his head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Walker has also proved to be a versatile weapon for offensive coordinator Greg Roman, handling the assortment of responsibilities as a true pro. Entering his second year in Roman’s offense, Walker will be able to add even more to his plate this season.

“We will continue to push the envelope with what we’re doing, how we’re using him,” Roman said. “He’s a guy that gets it, he understands football. He’s got a good feel for the game. So, that tandem of tight ends, you can do a lot of different things with them. Delanie worked real hard last year to understand his role, and many roles really on the offense. He’s starting off at a much higher spot this year.”

The offense isn’t the only benefactor of the speedy tight end group, as linebackers and safeties get a stiff test in pass coverage every practice. Patrick Willis has formed something of a practice rivalry with Davis in recent seasons, helping the All-Pro linebacker become a more well-rounded player.

“A lot of people talk about his coverage,” Davis said of Willis. “But to me, I think he’s one of the best coverage guys, as far as a linebacker, that I’ve ever seen. He’s getting better and better. Why? Because he works hard.

“He works on it each and every day and he’s always challenging guys on our team, whether it’s myself or Delanie Walker. … If he can compete against the tight end unit here, he can compete against anybody.”

Davis totaled 77 catches for 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns throughout the regular season and playoffs in 2011, while providing the highlight of the year with his game-winning catch against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round.

Though Walker’s stats aren’t as gaudy (19 catches, 198 yards and three touchdowns), his impact on the game goes beyond the numbers. Walker also showed a knack for producing in the clutch, as evidenced by his game-winning, fourth-down catch in the closing seconds of the Week 6 matchup in Detroit.

“When I look at him, I don’t look at him as a tight end,” Davis said. “I look at him as a playmaker.”

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Posted in Announcements | 12 Comments »


12 Responses to “Tight End Tandem Pushes the Envelope”

  1. By Glenn Cazar on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    No one is talking about Walker. When his number is called he delivers… Patriots undefeated? How about Niners undeafed even with his much harder schedule.. at least on paper it looks harder.. GO NINERS!!!

  2. By bobby on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    these two tight ends, is gonna be huge problems w/ all of the o.c. on the opposing teams, not counting the wideouts,men..can’t wait for the season to start..and defense wise all intact, no problem… “NINERS BABY!!!!!!

  3. By DONALD 49 on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    watch it

  4. By 49ers4ever on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    say what you want about gronk and hernandez…with what we do hear in sanfran we have he best tight end duo in the league and boy am i glad to say that

  5. By 49ers4ever on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    and best linebacker duo in the league if i could add

  6. By charlie on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    the best qb duop in the league as well!

  7. By John Taylor Era! on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    PRO BOWLER AT EVERY POSITION!!!!!!! Defense AND offense.

  8. By NinerFanFromTonga on Jul 30, 2012 | Reply

    I second that motion……..Niners undefeated. Niners all the way to the super-bowl 19-0……yeah baby. that sounds great, and nobody has it better than us….lol.

    The Pats can’t go undefeated this year, they’re in our schedule….sucks for them….hahahaha

  9. By Edmond on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    Its not going to be fair to play this offense every week..think of the 3 wr 2 te alignment we can line up with who do u double? And if it is moss crabtree manningham walker and davis..they can all beat you deep save crabtree…or 2 te and 2 wr with one runningback(james gore or hunter) Harbaugh has toys to play with this year and itll be scary for defenses because alex smith will get them the ball despite what the skeptics say…undefeated season ppl..been sayin it since april and im sayin it again

  10. By bubba9er on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    What offense did Alex Smith play in college? The spread. Can you imagine if Greg Roman incorporated some of the spread offense into our power running game? Get Alex into the Gun and let him win games. He delivered before, now he has so many weapons, let him shine.

  11. By kirk on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t forget williams, jacobs and miller. I cant wait its going to be the 49er’s WAY.

  12. By ace on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    i would pick vernon davis first at tight end over evry other te in the league based on pure talent and hard work, you cant cover him period, delainie walker showed his talent at every thing we asked him to do last year and then played hurt as well,this by far the best tight end duo in the league !!!

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