All-22 Review: Vernon Davis


Sep 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) catches a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at the Metrodome. Vikings win 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

The Jets have many concerns coming into the game this Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The offense is going to have its hands full going against a defense that is built similary to theirs, but doing a better job. A rushing attack may be hard to come by for this team on Sunday.

The defense is not without its share of issues to work through, stopping the run and stopping the pass. The loss of Darrelle Revis just magnifies the fact that this defense is far from perfect. One big problem for the Jets for a long time has been stopping a pass-catching tight end, and the Jets will face one of the best when they go up against Vernon Davis.

For an excellent profile of Davis, take a look at our Star Spotlight written by our very own JETSerious.  He takes a look at Davis’ career, and looks at how he must figure very heavily into the Jets defensive gameplan on Sunday.   I am going to take a look at how they need to go about stopping Vernon.

After taking a look at the film on Davis from last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the biggest thing is that nobody hits this guy coming off the line of scrimmage.  He does his down the field because nobody bumps him off of his route.  Let me show you a couple of examples from last week’s game, courtesy of the All-22 game film.  The first is a third down play for the 49ers:

Here we have Alex Smith lined up in the shotgun. Davis is in the slot to the left, but let’s take a look at the coverage. See the defender in the box? He already is giving Davis a pretty good cushsion, don’t you think? Well, look at the next picture, you will see how far back the defender moves, following the arrow.

Look at the cushion Vernon Davis has. 10 yards! How do you expect to defend this guy with that large of a cushion. You can’t make it easier for Vernon Davis and Alex Smith if you tried. You need to be up on the line to get this guy off of his route, not standing back lettin him do what he wants. Here’s what happened:

Vernon Davis gets a free release off the line, finds a very soft spot in the Vikings’ defense, setting up for an easy pitch and catch with Alex Smith.

13 yards later, it is first down 49ers.

The rules allow you to bump the receiver within five yards. Use it, don’t let him run around by himself. Another example comes on the next page.

Here is another interesting example, from deep in Vikings’ territory. Vernon Davis is again in the black box. He is not lined up as a receiver this time, he is in a three point stance. Is he going to block? Is he going to run a pass pattern? Lined up in this type of set up, it would seem like you could get a shot on Davis if he comes off the line of scrimmage. The defender, as Vernon gets out of his stance to go into his pattern, can see him making a move and take his shot. Within five yards, it’s perfectly legal. Davis is going to run a pattern towards the front corner of the endzone. Let’s see if the defender takes a shot.

No real bump is given to Davis, surprisingly. The defender puts a token arm on Davis, as he makes his move to the outside. Does it really affect the route?

Clearly, this token attempt at a bump does nothing to alter Vernon Davis’ route here. He goes right around the hand check of the defender as he makes his move to the outside. The result?

The result is a 20 yard pickup down to the one yard line. First and goal for the 49ers, and one play later, it’s a touchdown for the 49ers.

The moral of this story? TE’s like Vernon Davis like to run right up the field without interference. They are big targets, and they have great hands. If they are allowed room to roam, they will kill a defense.

So what is the solution? LaRon Landry, get ready, that’s the solution. We need him, Yeremiah Bell, and whomever else gets lined up against Davis on Sunday to bump him a lot within the first five yards. They have to get him off of his game, and the way to do that is knock him off his routes. If he can’t run right to the soft spot in the defense, he won’t be able to do his damage. He will think twice before coming over the middle against the Jets.

This is what the Jets need to do to be successful against Vernon Davis on Sunday. It could be a long day, and a great one for Davis, if they don’t.