SANTA CLARA Vernon Davis never has been shy about guaranteeing victories or making bold predictions.
But the 49ers' tight end Wednesday made sure to provide plenty of qualifiers when asked if his team should be a Super Bowl favorite this season.
"I don't want to sound too cocky," Davis said. "I think we have the potential. I think we have a lot of potential. And I'm not wrong for saying that because of the talent we have. I'm excited. It makes me excited because I know what we have going forward. If we continue to stay out here and put everything together, the potential will all start to show."
Davis had a subdued for him, at least regular season last year before heating up in December and during the playoffs. He caught four touchdown passes in the postseason, including one of the biggest catches in franchise history a last-second dart from Alex Smith to beat New Orleans in the divisional playoffs.
Davis and Smith were at it again Wednesday, hooking up on two long passes during an afternoon practice, including one on the seam route they have made seem almost routine in recent seasons.
Davis said he intends to pick up where he left off at the end of the 2011 season.
"We have a chance to come out here and get better," he said. "We have a chance to communicate with Alex, get on the same page with him and learn.
"We're out here, and we're going through tons of plays. So we get an opportunity right there to get everything done that we need to get done."
Et cetera Starting inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were excused for the second straight day to attend to personal matters. Bowman is an expectant father of twins.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had high praise for newcomer Perrish Cox, saying the cornerback will fight for playing time if he continues to play as well as he has in spring practices.