SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vernon Davis reiterated Monday what he has said for weeks: He is a vital part of the game plan each week, it's just that defenses are making sure that he isn't the player that hurts them the most.

"There's some multiple factors there, the biggest one being that defenses are playing us and taking that into account, taking Vernon into account," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They're wary of getting beat by Vernon Davis. That's the biggest issue."

Davis said defenses are playing him different than other prolific tight ends such as Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Rob Gronkowski, often with a defender in front and another behind him on most plays.

Davis called this season "stressful" but just part of the "learning curve."

Through it all, Davis has remained patient and found other ways to contribute, especially as a blocker.

He said the current coaches "wouldn't have liked me" if this were four or five years ago, when Davis would struggle with his emotions when not getting the ball often enough.



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