SANTA CLARA -- Randy Moss has his opinion, and 49ers tight end Vernon Davis isn't sharing it.
A day after Moss, now a Fox Sports analyst, knocked Davis' 2012 rapport with Colin Kaepernick, Davis took to the media podium Thursday and described the strides he's made with his quarterback.
"I feel me and Colin are on a different level than where we were last year," Davis said. "You have to think about it: When a quarterback just steps in, it takes time to learn his receivers."
Davis caught just six passes from Kaepernick over a six-game span before last season's playoffs, when that combination finally came alive.
"I don't think you can base everything on what happened last year, because a lot can change in six months," Davis said. "Colin is a different man. Some of the things I learned this training camp, I didn't learn last training camp."
Davis specifically pointed to the route-running expertise he gained by occasionally lining up with wide receivers this offseason and training camp.
"Last year, I didn't really work with the wide receivers as much," said Davis, who's entering his eighth season. "I had a chance to really detail my routes and get an opportunity to learn what they were doing. That helped me out tremendously."
The 49ers will need Davis to help pick up the receiving slack while wideouts Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham miss at least the first six games because of injuries. Also missing from last year's receiving corps is Moss.
"From my time there last year, it didn't seem Kaepernick and Vernon Davis had a rapport. They haven't shown that yet," Moss said on a Fox Sports conference call Wednesday.
Davis' response: "His job is to critique our offense and say whatever he feels is right. But my opinion is totally different from what he's saying. We're on a different level, for sure."
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Davis is "really taking command" in his third year in the system. Roman also praised Davis' route running and run blocking, adding how "that's allowed us to expand what he does."
Davis has caught a touchdown pass in each of his four regular-season games against the Green Bay Packers, who visit Candlestick Park on Sunday. He had only a 44-yard reception in the 49ers' divisional-playoff win over the Packers in January.
Linebacker Patrick Willis was re-elected to his captaincy, which comes with a two-year term under coach Jim Harbaugh's guidelines. Defensive tackle Justin Smith is entering the second year of his two-year term as captain.
Frank Gore had no qualms about not being re-elected after serving as captain the past two seasons, noting that he was among those who voted for Kaepernick as the offensive captain. "That's a good pick," Gore said. "The quarterback should be the leader of the offense."
It's believed that the 49ers' special-teams captaincy will change on a weekly basis, starting this week with C.J. Spillman.
Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, has spoken with Harbaugh on those rules. Blandino told the NFL Network: "When the quarterback puts the ball in the running back's belly, the referee doesn't know who has the football, the defender doesn't know who has the football, so if it's a bang-bang split second, then yes, he can hit the quarterback."