49ers' Davis Is Latest Tight End to Challenge Steelers

Article excerpt

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is 6-foot-3, 253 pounds and runs like a wide receiver. So far this season, Davis feels like he's running in place.

After meeting with 49ers coach Mike Nolan last week to state his case, Davis will meet a Steelers defense Sunday at Heinz Field that yielded some big plays to opposing tight ends in the preseason but has been stout during a 2-0 start in the regular season.

"We're going to definitely focus on him," free safety Ryan Clark said Friday. "Any time a guy's a high draft pick like that and a talented guy, you focus on him."

Davis, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 draft, had 20 receptions for 265 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.

He expected to be more involved in the passing game this season, but he has only four catches for 27 yards.

That prompted Davis to meet with Nolan on Tuesday about becoming more involved in the offense.

"He was open more than he caught the ball. We left some yards on the table," Nolan said. "His opportunities will come."

Clark expects Smith to target Davis more frequently against the Steelers.

"Nobody wants a disgruntled employee," Clark said. "I think they are going to try to get the ball to him."

Added inside linebacker Larry Foote: "When he's got that type of speed, you've got to pay attention to him. …