The Eagles have had trouble containing opposing tight ends this season so when they welcome in the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, all eyes will be on Vernon Davis.
Davis, 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with 11 and leads the 49ers with 66 catches for 815 yards.
Since Alex Smith grabbed hold of the quarterback duties for the 49ers, Davis has been Smith's primary target.
"It's odd how big he is and how fast he is," said safety Quintin Demps. "He weighs so much but he still moves like a (defensive back), so he's going to be tough to cover.
In his fourth season in the league, Davis has already blown past his previous career highs in catches and yards. Always considered a physical marvel, it appears that he's finally harnessed his talents.
"He's a very physical, athletic tight end," said linebacker Tracy White, who Demps deemed the closest physical comparison to Davis on the Eagles' defense. "He's one of the fastest tight ends that I've ever seen in the NFL right now, so he creates a lot of mismatches with the guys who are covering him."
Speed, as they say, kills and when every Eagles' defender was asked about Davis, that's the first thing that came up.
"His speed," said linebacker Akeem Jordan, when asked what makes Davis so dangerous. "He runs faster than most linebackers and (defensive backs)."
Still, the Eagles welcome the challenge. They've been victimized by tight ends many times this season and the opportunity to shut down one of the league's premier players at the position is something the Eagles' defense relishes.
"We've got certain packages on defense that we have installed to play against a guy like him," White said. "So I don't think it's going to be too much of a problem."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:56 p.m., December 17