ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Vernon Davis went through his first full day of meetings and practice with his new team Wednesday and as would be expected, he found a different situation waiting for him with the 7-0 Denver Broncos than the one he left with the 2-6 San Francisco 49ers.
The Broncos acquired Davis in a trade Monday after he spent nine and a half seasons with the 49ers, including the first half of this season — though he missed two games this year with a knee injury. And while Davis said he was “very, very surprised” he was traded, he said it didn’t take long to feel the difference after he arrived at the Broncos’ complex Tuesday.
“Everyone’s asking that question, where did I go? … San Francisco, look at the year when I started to drop off, what happened to the team? … If the team’s not having success, chances are I’m not going to have success.”
Davis referenced the “energy” and the “synergy” inside the Broncos’ complex and said it was something the 49ers had in 2013 when the team advanced to the Super Bowl.
“Last time I felt that energy was when we were winning those games,” Davis said. ” … We had that winning attitude to just go out and win games.”
Davis said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke asked to see him Monday and that’s when Davis found out about the chance of a trade.
“GM called me and said, ‘Come in’ … he sat there and said, ‘Denver is very, very interested in you,’ and I was like, ‘Really,’ but I was kind of excited at the same time,” Davis said. “Really, that would be an amazing place to go, Peyton Manning‘s there, are you kidding me? But it was a very emotional day for me.”
The 49ers have had no shortage of drama over the last two seasons, including Jim Harbaugh’s final season as coach, the hiring of Jim Tomsula, and the travails of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was benched this week.
On multiple occasions Wednesday, Davis referred to “that environment” with the 49ers. Davis was asked how he went from the player who caught 13 touchdown passes in 2013 to one who had two touchdown catches last season and no touchdown receptions in his six starts with the 49ers this season.
“Everyone’s asking that question, where did I go? Where did I go? Where did I go?” Davis said. “San Francisco, look at the year when I started to drop off, what happened to the team? What happened to the team? They started to fall, there were so many things going on, so much turmoil. No one really excelled, no one really had success because the team, we didn’t have success. If the team’s not having success, chances are I’m not going to have success.
“That’s what it is, look at them now,” Davis continued. “They’ve only won two games and it’s hard, it’s tough to play with a team where [you] just don’t have everything you need. Things aren’t going to happen for you. To answer your question, that’s where I’ve been.”
Moments later Davis was asked about working with Manning, who took the tight end aside several times in Wednesday’s practice as the Broncos hope to get him up to speed enough to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s kind of overwhelming, Peyton he’s one of those guys every wide receiver dreams about,” Davis said. “I’ve been dreaming about Peyton since I left college … I don’t know if he knows it, but I’ve been dreaming about this guy.
“Where I came from, I just had to accept what I had. Not knocking those guys, Colin and Alex [Smith], those guys were, they were really good, they were good at their craft, they were good quarterbacks. We’re talking about Peyton Manning, a whole other level, we all know that, so a little overwhelming.”