Vernon Davis: Larger Work-Load in Week 10?


With only one target in Vernon Davis‘ first week with the Denver Broncos, will he see an increase in work-load against the Chiefs?

The Denver Broncos traded for Vernon Davis just over a week ago for two sixth round draft picks. The Broncos needed better production out of their tight end corps; thus, they traded for the two-time Pro Bowl tight end. Due to Owen Daniels‘ lackluster production, Vernon Davis looked to assume a key role in the Broncos’ offense moving forward. However, in Davis’ first week with the Broncos, Peyton Manning targeted him just one time, and Davis finished the game with no receptions.

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In addition to Vernon Davis’ one target, he only ran eight passing routes in his first game with the Denver Broncos. Moreover, both Owen Daniels and Virgil Green outproduced Davis. Daniels put together the best game of his Broncos career, catching six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps, if this game came a week earlier, the trade with the 49ers might never happened. Daniels matched his production from the previous five weeks in just one game, showing that he, indeed, has potential in Gary Kubiak‘s system. 

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Against the Indianapolis Colts, Virgil Green garnered one reception for 13 yards off of his lone target; however, with the addition of Vernon Davis, Green looks to be fizzled out of the offense in the upcoming weeks. As Davis learns the Denver Broncos’ offense, he figures to see an increased work-load moving forward. Also, Davis may usurp Daniels as the Broncos’ lead tight end, due to his supreme pass-catching abilities and his presence in the red-zone.

The addition of Vernon Davis gives Kubiak two capable tight ends in his heavy tight end system. Kubiak loves deploying two tight end sets, and with Owen Daniels as his lone reliable tight end, Davis propels the Broncos offense in a positive direction. With Peyton Manning’s struggles throwing the ball deep, his check-down routes (i.e. slot receivers or tight ends) look to get more attention down the stretch-run of the season. Also, Manning struggles to grip the ball in colder temperatures; thus, expect him to target his tight ends more down the road.

If the Denver Broncos want to make a deep playoff run, their offense needs to click on all cylinders. With their running game nearly absent last week, the Broncos have numerous problems they need to fix in the next few weeks before the playoffs. By adding Vernon Davis, this upgrades their passing game, but their running game remains in poor shape, likely because of Kubiak’s scheme. With Manning struggling this season, the Broncos must right the ship, or they will have an early exit in the playoffs this season.

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Entering a week 10 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, we expect to see Vernon Davis in a larger role with the team; however, the Chiefs are one of the toughest teams to play against for tight ends. The Chiefs allow just 29.7 yards per game to opposing tight ends; thus, the Broncos’ tight end corps have their work cut out for them. While we may see an uptick in targets, receptions, and routes run for Vernon Davis, another quiet week from the two-time Pro Bowl tight end cannot be ruled out. The 29.7 yards per game mark is the lowest rate in the NFL this season, so temper your expectation for Davis this week.