Davis adds spice to Niners-Bears contest

Matt Bowen

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis(notes) sounded off Tuesday, talking some trash about the Chicago Bears – whom the his team hosts in a Thursday night matchup – and I actually dig it.

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Davis is finally meeting high expectations.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/US Presswire)

I like trash talk, and I like it at the NFL level, because this kind of nonsense drives our favorite sport during the work week. Now, some might think that Davis was out of line talking trash for a team that has dropped four straight games – the same team that had us all buying into it as sure-bet playoff contenders after a 3-1 start.

But we have to give some credit to Davis because he's having the type of season that can warrant trash talk from time to time. He leads the Niners with 42 receptions and seven TDs. He has the ability to carve up the Bears' Tampa 2 defense by sitting down underneath the linebackers and taking the Mike 'backer deep down the seam – splitting the safeties like he did when the Niners matched up with another Tampa 2 defense, the Minnesota Vikings.

Plus, with Alex Smith at quarterback, the Niners have become accustomed to using Davis in a variety of creative ways: empty sets, spilt out wide, etc. He's become a solid weapon and one of the better tight ends in the league this season.

And let's be honest: Lovie Smith's defense hasn't exactly looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers of late. The Bears are allowing too many big plays, can't get to the quarterback and don't have a safety who can match up with Davis if they play some Cover 1 on Thursday night.

But what about the Bears players? Are they going to use this as bulletin board material, the same way Tom Brady(notes) claimed the Patriots did last week after Joey Porter(notes) sounded off? Remember the special treatment Porter claimed Brady got from the refs and the league?

I'm sure every member of the Bears defense has read Davis' comments, and I would also predict that it was brought up by Lovie Smith in Wednesday's defensive meeting room, in the locker room and in the weight room. That's just how it works.

Because as honest as Davis probably was when describing the state of the Bears defense at this point of the season, it's still some sort of challenge, and the players will respond. I would not be surprised to see some Chicago players go after Davis a little bit Thursday night, and I would not be surprised to see the first player to the ball hold up Davis so other guys can get some shots in. That's football at this level.

But the Bears still have to stop this guy. He could have a big night, and I expect the Niners to game plan to get him the ball when the Bears show their Cover 2 shell at the line of scrimmage. And once the ball is kicked off and the early emotions of Davis vs. the Bears fade into the flow of the game, actual football will take over.

For us, however, it's something to look forward to on a Thursday night between two teams that have not met expectations after fast starts.

And I love it.

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