49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 21, 2010
The Nate Davis conundrum

The 49ers are not sure what they have in quarterback Nate Davis. But they know they're not going to figure him out by continuing to watch him play against third-rate defenders. Which is why Davis promises to be in the lineup before halftime Sunday against - presumably - players who will make the Vikings 53-man roster.

Davis has not leapfrogged David Carr for the No. 2 quarterback position, and he certainly is not challenging Alex Smith for the starter's job. In fact, Carr still could make a quick appearance before Davis comes in Sunday, Mike Singletary said. This move concerns the end of the season when the 49ers will have to make some big decisions about the quarterback position.

Once training camp ends and the 49ers begin to prepare for the regular-season opener in Seattle, Davis will revert to the scout-team role he had last season. It's an inglorious job - Davis often lined up as a defensive back on the scout team - and one that is not going to allow the 49ers to come to any meaningful conclusions about him. During the season, the starting quarterback gets all of the attention. The No. 3 guy is inconsequential.

The 49ers are not sure what they have in Davis because he has to this point sent mixed signals. He hasn't been very sharp in practice, and earlier this year Singletary said that Davis was not picking up the offensive system as quickly as the 49ers want him to. But going back to the 2009 preseason, Davis has looked sharp when the bullets are real. To the frustration of fans, he shows the instincts and improvisational skills - the ability to take a busted play and turn it into a big gain - that have been painfully slow to come to Smith.

If those skills can be paired with a true command of the offense, the 49ers would deem Davis a keeper. The team is hoping to see that command when they play him against tougher competition ...

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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