Despite several injuries around him, Todd Davis has played at a high level throughout this year, and the sixth-year linebacker is on track for his first 100-tackle season. He's been a big part of a resurgent Broncos run defense, but it's his strides in the passing game that have impressed Head Coach Vance Joseph.
"Todd is a pro's pro," Joseph said Monday. "He's our MIKE [linebacker], and he's our leader. He practices and plays the same way every day. He's always full-speed, and he's a great tackler. He's getting so much better with his coverage stuff. That's been impressive to me, to watch him work on his coverage and get better at it during the game."
He should have the chance to show that improvement against 49ers tight end George Kittle. The second-year pro has had a breakout sophomore campaign, and he leads San Francisco in catches (62), targets (93) and yards (893) by a wide margin. Only Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce have seen more targets at the tight end position, and Kittle has been very consistent with at least four receptions in all but one game.
"What makes him so easy to use in so many ways is that he's a good run-blocker," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. "There's a threat no matter where he is on the field. He can do anything. If you don't honor him as a run-blocker and you just treat him as a pass guy, we can get after you in the run game. As you soon as you respect him there, he gets very good matchups in the pass game."
If Davis can limit Kittle, that will be a major step in the right direction against the San Francisco offense.