After Nate Davis uncorked a pass to Palo Alto in a preseason game against Minnesota, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, with a hint of amazement in his voice, invoked the name of a Super-Bowl-winning, Hall-of-Fame quarterback.
But that was the exhibition season.
Once the real games started, Davis wasn’t channeling John Elway. Try John Mackey, or, for a closer-to-home reference, John Frank.
Yes, the second-year quarterback with the sensational arm has occasionally played tight end during a season-long stint on the practice squad.
“My hands are great,” Davis said with a smile. “I just wish I was a little faster.”
As the 49ers begin checking off the must-have items on their list – general manager, head coach and, finally, quarterback – it will be interesting to see what becomes of Davis under a different regime.
Mike Singletary publically called out Davis’ work habits in the preseason and on Sept. 6 the Niners waived Davis and signed Troy Smith. Davis was signed to the practice squad after he wasn’t claimed by 31 other NFL teams.
David Carr is the only quarterback under contract for 2011. And it’s seems nearly certain that Alex Smith won’t be back. Davis can only hope he’s in the team’s future plans.
“I plan on coming back here,” Davis said. “I just hope they let me come back. I just want to get better every day and keep on working to be a starter.”
In what could be viewed as a nod to those work habits – the 6-1, 226-pound Davis, who played at Ball State in Muncie, Ind., said he will live in Indianapolis in the offseason and work with a trainer who has worked with Peyton Manning. Getting his body fat down, he acknowledged, was one of his goals.
“Go back in there and get more focused, you know what I’m saying?” Davis said.
Davis, who earns $5,200 per week on the practice squad, said he’s also returning to the Midwest due to the cheaper cost of living with the possibility of a lockout looming.
Due, in part, to a learning disability, Davis has had difficulty picking up the playbook and it’s quite possible he would have to start from scratch with a new head coach and a new system. He says he’s not worried. He’s committed to learning a new offense — whatever the cost.
“I’m going to bust my tail,” he said. “As soon as I found out who (the head coach) is, if I can come back out here, then I’m willing to come back out here. I’m just going back for this lockout just money-wise, trying to save some more money.”