Alex Smith is making huge strides in the minds of the 49ers’ decision-makers toward entrenching himself as the starting quarterback in 2010. But there are plenty of folks who liked what they saw from rookie Nate Davis in the exhibition season.
Just to refresh, Davis showed a certain knack for playing the position after being a fifth-round draft pick from Ball State. He completed 29 of 49 passes for 314 yards with two TDs and one interception for a passer rating of 83.2.
But once the regular season started, Davis disappeared.
As the No. 3 QB, he rarely gets any practice time. After all, the starting quarterback runs the 49ers’ plays, and the backup remains sharp by running the opponents’ plays for the scout team. But that does not mean Davis has stopped working. He is lucky to be in the same room as Alex Smith and Shaun Hill – two men who are very professional and helpful.
I caught up with Davis to ask what he is doing to better himself as a player.
* * *
During the interview Davis said . . .
–He is playing a lot of receiver, and sometimes defense, on the scout team. “I’m learning more about the offense and what everybody is doing.”
–After practices he’ll spend an extra hour or two – “after everybody is gone” — watching film with Smith and Hill. “I listen to them talk and try to learn from them.”
–Is it difficult to be a quarterback and not get the chance to throw many passes during practice? “Of course, it’s frustrating. But it’s my job. I’m third on the depth chart. I do everything I can to help the team.”
–He said running plays as a receiver helps him learn what the different positions are doing on every play.
–Despite his lack of practice, would he be able to function if he got into a regular-season game? “I believe I can play – no doubt,” Davis said. “Some things (play calls) are wordy, so I’d ask to have it on a wrist band.”
–Davis said in training camp that his goal for 2009 was to learn the entire offense. And how is that going? “I’m getting there,” he said, adding that Hill, Smith, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and QBs coach Mike Johnson have helped a lot. His learning will continue with an important offseason. “I’ll be here a lot and get the offense down to a science.”
–Johnson is a stickler for fundamentals at the QB position. Johnson cites Oregon State coach Mike Riley as his biggest coaching influence. So how far does Davis believe his fundamentals have developed since his final season at Ball State? “I felt like I had to start all over. I had bad mechanics.”
* * *
From the pages of today’s Press Democrat . . . “49ers’ pass-rusher Ahmad Brooks looks for fast start against Seahawks.”
* * *