In his prime, Vernon Davis was one of the best tight ends in 49ers history. But he also should be remembered as one of the lamer Phoney-Niners ever.
Earlier in the week, after Davis was dealt to the Denver Broncos for a bag of balls, basically, he pretended to get all choked up. Which was a rather odd reaction, because the guy had some well-chronicled differences with several ex-teammates, Colin Kaepernick and Joe Staley to name a couple.
“Stuff like this makes me want to cry,” he said in text messages on Instagram a short time later. “I love my teammates.”
Yeah, Davis loves his ex-teammates, all right. He loves them so much that, no sooner did he touch down in Denver, he threw them under the bus.
“Last time I felt that energy was when we were winning those games,” Davis said on Wednesday. “We had that winning attitude to just go out and win games.
“I know what it feels like to win. I just have to get acclimated to it again because it seems like it’s been so long.”
Among the many the reasons the 49ers were so crummy was, Davis forgot how to play football. His attitude went south with the team in the the summer of ’14, when he held out in an ill-advised attempt to get more money.
Now Davis would need a GPS to find the end zone, something he hasn’t done since Sept. 7, 2014. Rather than point a finger at himself, though, he pinned the tail on the guys who threw the ball, naturally.
“I’ve never been around a quarterback like Peyton [Manning],” Davis said. “Not knocking the quarterbacks that I’ve had in previous years, Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith … but Peyton, I’ve always looked at him as one of the best that’s ever played. I’ve never been around that.”
Aw, kind of makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?
DUBS STILL BETTER: The Los Angeles Clippers and Warriors played a regular-season game on Wednesday, but it sure felt like the playoffs.
Another electric crowd at Oracle Arena was in full throat with chants of “Beat L.A.!” The players chirped and flopped and jawed at the officials, who deserved a lot of it.
And when it was over, the Champs had won. Again.
No, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, the 112-108 score was no fluke to borrow one of your favorite words.
The Warriors won without center Andrew Bogut (concussion). They won without coach Steve Kerr (bum back). They won with foul-prone Stephen Curry on the bench for nearly nine minutes in the first quarter. And they won even though Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson shot a combined 13 of 35 in the field. To put it another way, the Champs won with their B game.
But relax. It’s barely November. Injuries aside, not a lot of what happens in the next few weeks matters a lot. It’s April and May and June that we’ll begin to keep score.
Until then, for the all moves that Rivers made as general manager in the offseason, he still left Rivers the head coach with a team that was well into the back nine.
Playoff experience is one thing, but old age is quite another. Chris Paul, 30, is hardly over the hill but no spring chicken, either. J.J. Redick is 31 and can’t even get a shot off at times. Jamal Crawford is 35 going on 40 — he sank only 24 percent of his three-balls last postseason. Pablo Piroghee, uh, Pablo Prigioni is 38. And don’t forget Oakland’s own Paul Pierce, who turned 56 last month.
For the sake of argument, let’s suppose the Clippers don’t gag on a 3-1 lead this time and meet the Warriors in the playoffs. Do you honestly believe their geezers can keep in step with a younger, deeper, more talented team in an extended series?
The answer is still no.
STEVE? DO WE KNOW A STEVE?: In some ways, Kerr is back already. He was in attendance once again and said a few words in the locker room at halftime.
“Mainly, I speak to the team,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “If [Kerr] has anything he wants to say, we obviously allow that to happen.”
Gee, how nice of them.
POSTMAN DELIVERS: One guy who didn’t sit on his duff last summer was Green, something he easily could have done after he signed a jillion-dollar contract.
After so many opponents double-teamed Curry last postseason, Green decided to do something about it. He worked on his post-up game. In the early days of the season, he has been a force a scorer and a passer, especially with Bogut out of the lineup.
“That’s just something that I have to take more advantage of,” Green said. “It’s something I work on. It’s something that I worked on this summer and I will continue to work on. I have to make people pay for doing that. So if they want to switch, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
THE BLAINE TRUTH: Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback for the 49ers on Sunday, and if the ESPN number-crunchers are to be trusted, you should hope like heck that he stays there the rest of the season.
Here’s why: With Gabbert at the controls, the 49ers have a far better chance (30 percent) to finish the season with NFL’s worst record and the No. 1 draft pick that goes with it, ESPN’s Football Predictor Index says. Colin Kaepernick gives his team a 9-to-14 percent better chance to win each of the eight games left on its schedule.
“Since entering the league in 2011, Blaine Gabbert has the lowest Total QBR (Quarterback Rating) out of 52 players with at least 500 action plays,” reported ESPN Stats & Information, which went on to say, “By naming Gabbert as the primary starter, the 49ers are costing themselves about one win this season, according to FPI.”
Leaguewide, ESPN ranks Gabbert ahead of only Jimmy Clausen (Chicago Bears) and Zach Mettenberger (Tennessee Titans). Balls puts him somewhere between Clausen and Joe Montana (retired).
WHY, YOU DON’T SAY: Of all the expert insights on the 49ers’ QB situation, NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci said it best.
“I don’t think Blaine Gabbert’s the answer.”
THE LIST: Everything you wanted to know about Gabbert but didn’t know who to ask:
The Ballwin, Mo., native (would Balls make that up?) made a verbal commitment to Nebraska, but he decided to attend Missouri near his home after the Cornhuskers fired Bill Callahan, the one-time Raiders coach.
In the 2010 draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up six spots to select him 10th overall, 26 picks ahead of Colin Kaepernick.
The Houston Texans chose J.J. Watt one pick later. (Ooops!)
The 49ers acquired him for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft.
One 49ers coach had this to say after he signed with the team: “I think he’s a very talented player and his career so far hasn’t gone on to be what he expected, and maybe others expected it to be. But I believe it can be a really powerful opportunity, powerful motivator for a player to say, ‘It wasn’t me, it was my situation.’ And now he has that opportunity.”
The speaker was Jim Harbaugh.
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