Some fans get too excited about third-string quarterbacks. San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary does not.
He used the word "inconsistent" in describing 49ers third-stringer Nate Davis, then made it clear Davis was not competing with David Carr for the No. 2 job behind Alex Smith. This is pretty much how things work in the NFL. Third-stringers usually do not go charging up depth charts on the strength of a few exciting plays during exhibition games. Davis completed a 60-yarder to Ted Ginn Jr. during the 49ers' 15-10 exhibition victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night, but he also failed to complete even half his passes overall.
"I think he’s a guy that’s got a lot of flash, a big arm like a lot of kids, a lot of young kids, but you have to learn how to play the position," Singletary told reporters after Davis completed 7 of 16 passes against the Vikings on Sunday.
The comments from Singletary should help the growing list of people asking how prominently Davis might figure into the 49ers' plans.
"You have to learn how to command the huddle, you have to learn how to get people in and out of the huddle and you have to have a presence about you and I just feel that he’s still learning how to do that," Singletary said. "And I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I don’t know how much time we have, but I think it's just nice to see him every now and then make some nice throws and then bang, there’s one play in particular that I’ll talk about -- you have to know where the first-down marker is. You don’t just fall."
Singletary said Davis is competing against himself, not against Carr for the No. 2 job.
"I really like the kid, there is a lot to like about him, but there is a work ethic that’s involved in terms of being a quarterback in the NFL and he’s got to get it, it’s as simple as that," Singletary said. "I'm pulling for him, I’m hoping, but so far it’s inconsistent."
The assumption to this point in Davis' career has been that the 2009 fifth-round draft choice has worked extra hard to overcome a learning disability, making him a sympathetic figure. The comments from Singletary about Davis' work ethic paint another picture. Pretty harsh words, but at least we have a better idea where Davis stands.
Update: Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides a fuller quote from Singletary: "Right now Nate Davis is working his tail off to try and learn this system. But in the offseason, that's when you take the time to get that done. And I'm not sure how hard he worked in the offseason in getting that done. So when I talk about work ethic, you just can't turn it on and turn it off. Now that we're in training camp, 'Well, I'm really trying! I'm really trying!' In the offseason, in the OTAs, the minicamps and all those things -- that's when you have to get that done, and that's when you have to stay up and drive the coaches crazy and look at film and ask all the questions you possibly can. And I'm not sure he did that. So now it's a lot that he has to get in a short amount of time. So hopefully he can do that. I don't know."