San Francisco 49ers fans are fascinated by quarterback Nate Davis and his physical tools. But, the growing love affair with the second-year passer won't extend to the regular season.
Just ask 49ers head coach Mike Singletary about the chance Davis will compete for playing time once the exhibition season ends.
"Right now, Nate Davis is working his tail off to try and learn this system," Singletary said after Davis played well in Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings.
So much for the quarterback's solid effort, that included a 65-yard completion to Ted Ginn, Jr.—where Davis threw a pass that traveled 65 yards in the air.
"In the offseason, that's when you take the time to get that done, and I'm not sure how hard he worked this offseason getting that done," Singletary said of Davis.
Veteran quarterback David Carr actually solidified his claim to the No. 2 job behind starter Alex Smith when the 49ers staff opted to keep him off the field completely against the Vikings. The organization simply wanted to see if Davis had managed to catch up on the work that Singletary insists he missed in the offseason.
"So when I talk about work ethic, you just can't turn it on and turn it off, and now to come to training camp (and say), 'Coach, I'm really trying. I'm really trying.' You know what? The offseason when we were in the OTAs, the minicamps and all those things, that's when you have to get that done," Singletary said, clearly squelching the hopes that Davis fans have of him becoming a factor for the Niners any time soon.
The 49ers clearly want to see Davis show that he has learned the offense sufficiently to become a player.
"The one ability he has is if he sees an open receiver, he'll hit him. He'll get the ball to him," offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said.
It's learning to find the receivers that Davis has struggled with in his two summer camps. He has a learning challenge and is, thus, a "visual learner." Studying the playbook doesn't work well for Davis, so he has to put in more time learning on the field than most quarterbacks.
Since Davis has to spend more time than Smith and Carr to absorb the same amount of information, Singletary wanted Davis to spend the offseason speeding his learning process in OTAs.
"(The offseason is) when you have to stay up and drive the coaches crazy and look at film and ask all the questions you possibly can. I'm not sure he did that," Singletary said after Davis, once again, look sharp in a preseason game.
"So right now, it's a lot he has to get in a short amount of time. Hopefully, he can do that. I don't know. We'll see."
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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