Vernon Davis, the most explosive player on the 49ers offense, caught zero passes in the 49ers 13-6 win over the Seahawks. Alex Smith didn’t throw it to him once.
After the game, Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle: “Nothing’s there. When I run my corner routes the cornerback is dropping to the corner. They are just taking stuff away, some of my explosive routes and stuff.”
Ironically, various 49er players were talking about how the Seahawks secondary and linebackers were taking away the wide outs. Alex Smith said Seattle was “doubling on the outside and really buzz[ing] out underneath the receivers.”
That should have made it easier for the 49ers to get the ball to Davis.
In fact, one of the reasons the Seahawks secondary and linebackers buzzed and sunk so aggressively with the Niners wide outs is because the Niners have gotten away from using Davis in the passing game.
There is no sense for an opponent’s defensive coordinator to scheme to cover somebody who is not getting the ball, and the Niners have made a pronounced effort to establish the wide outs as their primary receivers.
Frankly, it appears the 49ers do not have viable ideas about how to get Davis open if the coverage is taking away some of the base patterns the Niners have run with him the past two seasons.
They should realize it is more difficult for the opposing linebackers and defensive backs to zero in on him if he is going across the formation in continuous motion at the snap.
Also, the 49ers can have him run some “option,” “choice” and/or “read” routes where Davis can determine the coverage and adjust accordingly.
Additionally, they can align him outside or motion him outside the flanker (Z receiver) which also will give Alex Smith a good pre-snap read as to what the coverage will be: If the cornerback widens out on Davis, most likely it’s zone; but if the cornerback stays on the flanker and the strong safety or a linebacker adjusts out to Davis, chances are it will be some type of man coverage. Bill Walsh did this all the time.
Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman can do this, too. All it takes is a little creativity.