Pessimism has surrounded the San Francisco 49ers following a disastrous offseason that saw the departure of key players via free agency or retirement.
But by the smile on Vernon Davis‘ face, you might think nothing ever happened.
After coming off perhaps his worst season of his career in which he totaled just 245 yards on 26 receptions, Davis said last season’s trials and tribulations will be used as a learning experience to help this 49ers team that is currently in flux:
“We have a chance to come off that season and really think back on all the things we didn’t do right, all the things we didn’t do well. We can take that and put it to this season with the additions that we have, offensively, defensively, and we can play our hearts out.”
Davis also found inspiration in the events that unfolded over the course of the offseason. He said that the loss of franchise players such as Frank Gore and Patrick Willis has opened the eyes of a number of players in the 49ers locker room:
“Losing those guys, it really put things in perspective for a lot of guys around here, especially myself. It tells me that you want to put all you can into this game. Not saying the guys didn’t put all they had into the game last year, it just gives you more. More energy that comes your way, and you can be cognizant of what just happened.”
The added effort from Davis will be needed, as the 49ers offense slowed to a crawl without their star tight end giving much production to the team’s offense. After scoring two touchdown in the first game of the season, Davis went without a touchdown the rest of the season, while averaging a career low 9.4 yards-per-catch and just 17.5 yards-per-game.
With a cap hit of $6,97 million in 2015 season, Davis seemed like a potential salary cap casualty early in the offseason. But the 49ers may benefit from his veteran presence after losing other strong clubhouse figures. The 49ers currently have six tight ends signed to their roster in an attempt to spark a battle for playing time at the beleaguered position early in camp.