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September 2, 2010
Singletary: Nate Davis' roster spot a question mark

Nate Davis played nearly three quarters of San Francisco's 17-14 preseason win. But when it was over, he didn't have a roster spot sewn up. Far from it. "That's a question mark," Mike Singletary said of whether Davis will make the 53-man squad. "It will be a topic of conversation tomorrow."

David Carr started the game before giving way to Davis in the second quarter. Davis finished the game 11 of 22 for 103 yards and a 40.5 passer rating. He had a short touchdown pass to fullback Jehuu Caulcrick and was intercepted twice, though one of them was bobbled by tight end Nate Byham.

Said Davis after the game: "It's all up to him. I've just got to, you know, hope he keeps me on the roster. If not I've got to move on. ... If he doesn't keep me, I've got to find a new team."

Vernon Davis spoke about his Wednesday confrontation with Michael Crabtree. He purposely avoided specifics, but said that Crabtree "did some things that he was doing at times that I didn't like, that's all, and I just got on him."

Davis said that Singletary is always talking about ownership - players taking control of the locker room, etc. - and that's what he was striving for. "I wasn't really worried about preseason games. It really wasn't the issue. It was something else. It wasn't about practice. It was a football-related issue."

Davis was asked if Crabtree wasn't taking practice seriously enough. "I can't really get into all that," Davis said. "It was just something he did. I don't really want to discuss it but it's something he did that really bothered me."

Where do things stand now between the two of them? "We're great," Davis said. "I love him like a brother. I'll take him up to Smoothie King tomorrow."

Crabtree did not suit up or play in the game, meaning he is now a perfect 0-8 for the preseason. Singletary said that when he took a step back, it didn't make any sense to play Crabtree. "Our whole offense wasn't going to be in there anyway," he said. "Let's start on the same page next week." Crabtree was not available for comment after the game.

Singletary cited the play of several young 49ers, saying that they will make things difficult in tomorrow's roster discussions. Two he highlighted were outside linebacker Bruce Davis and cornerback Tramaine Brock, who had two pass defenses and an interception. Singletary also had nice things to say about running back Anthony Dixon, who opened the scoring for the 49ers with a 46-yard touchdown run.

On first down in the opening quarter, Dixon took a handoff left but cut back to his right. He put a move on Antoine Cason that froze the Chargers starting cornerback, then galloped the rest of the way into the end zone, dragging safety Eric Weddle, another starter, the final eight yards. Dixon left the game in the second half with a rib injury.

"With him, he has a lot of moves and sometimes it's too many moves," Singletary said.

Bruce Davis, meanwhile, is eligible for the practice squad but he said he was shooting for the 53-man roster. He finished with five tackles, 1 ½ sacks, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and pass defense. "I hate to say that I feel good because you don't want to get too complacent," he said. "This is my fourth team."

Davis played defensive end at UCLA and said linebacker was becoming more natural to him in his third season. "Now I don't have to think about my assignments," he said. "That makes me a better football player."

Here's how some other "bubble" players fared Thursday:

OT Alex Boone: He played right tackle in the second half. The 49ers had Adam Snyder play left tackle and Barry Sims play left guard as they make the final decisions on who will fill out the final spots on the offensive line.

OLB Diyral Briggs: Singletary said the 49ers were experimenting with some things at outside linebacker and kept Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson in the game longer than the other first-team defenders. That meant that Briggs didn't enter the game until the third-team defense was in. He was credited with one tackle. He also was flagged for a late hit on the quarterback.

WR Jason Hill: He left the game after being poked in the eye. He was targeted twice but didn't catch a pass. He ends the preseason with one catch for 24 yards that came in the first preseason game.

OLB Travis LaBoy: He entered the game with the second-team defense. He did not make the splash he made in the previous two games. He nearly came up with an interception off of a deflected Billy Volek pass. The attempt kept Matt Wilhelm from making an easier interception. Judging from what Singletary said earlier in the week, LaBoy appears to have won a roster spot.

FB Brit Miller: He saw some offensive snaps late in the game, but he was still playing behind Jehuu Caulcrick at fullback. Caulcrick caught a touchdown pass and had 27 rushing yards on five carries. Miller was not credited with any tackles, but I saw him make one on a kickoff.

DL Khalif Mitchell: He saw extensive action at nose tackle in the second half. Mitchell mostly has played defensive end this summer. He finished with two tackles.

ILB Matt Wilhelm: After missing last week's game with headaches, Wilhelm filled in for Patrick Willis as "Mike" linebacker. He finished with three tackles and had an 11-yard sack on a blitz up the middle. He also was credited with a quarterback hurry.

-- 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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