Vernon Davis set up for success with Denver Broncos

Are the Denver Broncos getting the 2013 Pro Bowl version of Vernon Davis or the tight end who disappeared from the San Francisco 49ers' offense over the past 13 months?

There's plenty of reason to believe the dramatic dropoff in production is more attributable to coaching schemes, subpar quarterbacking and overall dysfunction in San Francisco rather than a sudden erosion of Davis' skills.

When asked why his per-catch average plummeted from 16.3 in 2013 to 9.4 in 2014, Davis explained in June that it was "just game planning."

Teammates and coaches testified at the time that an "extremely fast" Davis was stretching the field like it was 2013 in offseason practices.

So why is Davis averaging just 10.8 yards per reception and 32 yards per game this season?

It starts with ex-49ers starterColin Kaepernick, who has regressed as much as any quarterback in football over the same time period as Davis' decline in production.

There have been Bay Area whispers of a Kaepernick-Davis feud, which might also factor into the equation.

After performing due diligence, Broncos general manager John Elway believes he's getting the freakishly athletic Davis who blazed a 4.38 40-yard dash at the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine.

"We just thought with the opportunity to add Vernon," Elway said Monday, "to be able to add him to our roster as a weapon on the offensive side was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up.

"I have always liked Vernon ... I think two years ago he had 13 touchdown passes. He's a guy that can really stretch the field, has tremendous speed and athletic ability. He's one of those guys as a tight end that really catches your eye all the time."

NFL Game Pass and advanced statistics agree.

Still just 31 years old, Davis has moved as well as ever in open space this season. Per Next Gen Stats, his 21.91 mph and 20.90 are the first- and third-fastest speeds by a tight end in 2015.

Peyton Manning has brought out the best in tight ends such as Marcus Pollard, Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme and Julius Thomas through his career. He's also coming off his best passing performance in a calendar year.

The timing couldn't be more ripe for Davis' addition after the Broncos rushed for a season-high 160 yards and held the Packers without a sack in Week 8.

With the offensive line starting to gel and Manning finally reaching a level of comfort in Gary Kubiak's offense, Davis is set up for more success in Denver than he has enjoyed in a backsliding 49ers offense.

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