TEs have flourished with Chudzinski

Should the 49ers hire Rob Chudzinski as their offensive coordinator?

That voice you heard is tight end Vernon Davis screaming “Oh Lord, please, yes!”

Chudzinski, 46, is a former tight end who won two national titles at the University of Miami, and tight ends have typically flourished when he’s been in the vicinity during his 11-year NFL coaching career.

Consider: Antonio Gates’ two 1,000-yard seasons both came when Chudzinski was his position coach; Kellen Winslow had the lone 1,000-yard season of his career when Chudzinski was his offensive coordinator; Jordan Cameron had his breakout season when Chudzinski was his head coach … there’s more, but you get the idea (and if you don’t, see the list below).

The 49ers, of course, have reportedly requested permission to interview Chudzinski, a Colts special assistant, for their offensive coordinator vacancy. And his work with tight ends is no doubt an attractive part of his resume, particularly given Davis’ dumbfounding disappearing act in 2014 (26 catches, 245 yards, 2 TDs).

In addition, the 49ers spent a 2013 second-round pick on tight end Vance McDonald, who has repaid their investment with 10 catches in 23 career games. Yes, McDonald has turned into a better-than-expected blocker, but, again … 10 catches in 23 career games.

For his part, Davis, 30, had 10 catches in his final eight games in 2014. During that stretch, he suggested since-departed offensive coordinator Greg Roman was responsible for his puny production: “As far as not getting the ball,” he said, “(I) leave it up to the offensive coordinator. It’s his call.”

Chudzinski has called on tight ends plenty during his four seasons as an offensive coordinator, and the position has been heavily utilized, regardless of his role on a staff. Since Chudzinski entered the NFL in 2004, he’s coached four of the 14 tight ends who have had a 900-yard season: Gates, Winslow, Cameron and Greg Olsen.

Here’s a look at how tight ends have fared during each of Chudzinski’s 11 seasons:

2004 (Browns TEs coach)
Starter Kellen Winslow sustained a season-ending injury in Week 2. In his absence, Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea combined for 54 catches, 539 yards and accounted for nine of Cleveland’s 21 receiving touchdowns.

2005 (Chargers TEs)
Antonio Gates had 89 catches, the most in his 12-year career, on a career-high 140 targets. Gates also had 1,101 receiving yards (second-most of career) and 10 touchdowns (tied for third-most).

2006 (Chargers TEs)
Gates had 71 catches, 924 yards and nine touchdowns. His 120 targets rank as the second-most of his career.

2007 (Browns offensive coordinator)
Winslow had 82 catches (second-most of 10-year career) with career-highs in receiving yards (1,106) and targets (140). His five touchdowns match the most of his career.

2008 (Browns OC)
In 10 games, Winslow had 43 catches, 428 yards and three touchdowns.

2009 (Chargers TEs/assistant head coach)
Gates had a career-high 1,157 receiving yards on 79 catches (third-most of career) and scored eight touchdowns.

2010 (Chargers TEs/assistant head coach)
Limited to 10 games because of a foot injury, Gates had 50 catches, 782 yards and 10 touchdowns. Over a 16-game season, those numbers would translate to 80 catches, 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns.

2011 (Panthers OC)
Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey — then 31 and in his last NFL season — combined for 82 catches, 995 yards and nine touchdowns.

2012 (Panthers OC)
Olsen, who entered the NFL in 2007, had 69 catches, 843 yards and five touchdowns. At the time, his reception and yardage total were career-highs.

2013 (Browns head coach)
After collecting 26 catches and 259 yards in his first two NFL seasons, Jordan Cameron broke out with 80 catches, 917 yards and seven touchdowns.

2014 (Colts special assistant)
Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen combined for 80 catches, 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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