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Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers: Know Thy Enemy

When playing the San Francisco 49ers the past few years, you used to only worry about one player. That player was running back Frank Gore. While he is still a threat on offense, he hasn't been quite as good as he has been the last few games. This can be attributed to the new offense that has been made to make new starting quarterback Alex Smith comfortable. Since then, the dominate player has been tight end Vernon Davis.

Vernon Davis had been a tight end that wasn't producing the kind of numbers you'd expect for a player that had a lot of hype surrounding him coming out of the NFL Draft. Through his first three years he had compiled just nine touchdowns and 1132 receiving yards. This year was going to be a different year however. After he was publicly embarrassed by head coach Mike Singletary last season, he vowed to come out and play as hard as he possibly could in 2009. This would turn out to be a good thing for the Niners because not only would he become a team captain, but he would also become their best receiver.

For the 2009 season Davis had a decent start catching 22 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns over 5 games, which wasn't bad for a tight end but he could've done better. This would become evident when the Niners would change their starting quarterback from Shaun Hill to Alex Smith. Once that happened Davis caught 41 passes for 519 yards and 7 touchdowns over 6 games. Those were the type of numbers the Niners were expecting after drafting him with the sixth overall pick. This is something the Arizona Cardinals will have to worry about as they have not particularly been stellar against opposing team's tight ends.

Over the course of this season the Cardinals have given up over eight touchdowns to tight ends. This has been a problem for them the past few seasons and will be one the Niners will be sure to test against them on Monday night. In the seven games the Cardinals have matched up with Davis they have contained him pretty well holding him to just over 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. They haven't faced him since they changed to a spread offense however, so this will surely be a test for the Cardinals safeties as they will need to shut him down if they want to lock up the division. Thoughts?