Tight end Vernon Davis will be capping a contract year as a largely invisible man in the Denver offense. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by that. In fact, few seem to even notice it.
A five-question press conference on Thursday addressed in no way his diminished role in the offense or his complete lack of production in the passing game since seemingly having a breakthrough with seven catches for 74 yards in a 15-12 home loss to the Raiders. Since then, Davis has caught one pass for five yards, and that came the following week at Pittsburgh. In four straight critical wins since then, two of which delivered the No. 1 seed and the next two of which put the Broncos into the Super Bowl, Davis hasn’t caught a single pass.
Still, the five questions he got on Thursday — and the answers he provided — addressed in no way the struggles he’s had this year. Which made the entire session fit with a term he used to describe the looming return to his former home field for the Super Bowl.
“It all seemed surreal to me when we first got the win over the Patriots,” Davis told reporters. “I was like, ‘Wow, we’re actually going back to Levi’s Stadium.’ It couldn’t get any better that. It couldn’t get any better than this. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m very pleased, thankful and excited all at the same time for an opportunity to go in and experience this year’s Super Bowl in Levi’s Stadium.”
Well, it could get better than that. Davis could be returning not as an afterthought but as the impact player he was in past postseasons for the team that now plays at Levi’s Field. Three years ago, he had 100-yard receiving games in the NFC championship and the Super Bowl. The year before, he had 292 yards in a pair of playoff games that nearly resulted in a Super Bowl berth. The year after, he caught a pair of postseason touchdowns, including one in Charlotte, during a 23-10 win over the Panthers.
Davis then was asked whether there’s “added motivation” to play in his former home stadium.
“Sometimes you just have to let things go,” Davis said. “It’s nothing personal. My mindset and my focus is on this game and doing whatever I can do. Whether it’s going out there and getting two or three big blocks, whatever it may be to help this team win in Super Bowl 50. That’s my only goal.”
It’s a fair answer, but it implies he’s actually contributing something more than getting “two or three big blocks” (if he’s even doing that). He’s been MIA for more than a month, but he wasn’t asked about that at all.
The rest of the questions dealt with staying calm in the moment, having nerves the week before the game, and preparing mentally and physically for the Super Bowl. Which would be fine questions, if his complete and total lack of production wasn’t the large gray mammal with a trunk and tusks and his wrinkly butt plopped onto on the futon.
It’s safe to say that, once the Broncos arrive in San Francisco and have multiple media availabilities attended by reporters from all over the world (including reporters who cover the 49ers), Davis will be asked directly about why he has disappeared, whether it bothers him, and why anyone should think he’ll spend much more of his return to Levi’s Stadium watching the game than playing in it.