Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some Love for Nate

While it was a bit of a surprise who he went to and when, Nate Davis continues to bring it with the San Francisco 49ers. Despite sitting on a depth chart staring at the backsides of Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, Davis is impressing those that matter and some that don't with his arm strength, accuracy, and general awesomeness. Says Samuel Lam of MVN...

Even though this off-season's quarterback battle will mainly feature Alex Smith and Shaun Hill, would you believe that the quarterback that will benefit most from this could be Nate Davis?

The rookie quarterback out of Ball State was drafted in the fifth round and could be projected to be the team's third string quarterback. He even could end up as the fourth stringer behind veteran Damon Huard.

But how can he benefit from a battle that doesn't even involve him?

Now, the 49ers would be fools to not name Shaun Hill their starter for the 2009 season. Everything that has gone right for Hill has gone accordingly and he should be rewarded with the starting role. With an impressive 7-2 record as a starter, Hill does give the 49ers the best shot to win.

But let's say that Hill does get the #1 spot on the depth chart. Who would be #2? You would think Alex Smith will take that spot, but Davis could be a solid challenge to Smith.

Smith is the pet project of the Mike Nolan era. With that #1 overall pick status looming over Smith, the "bust" word starts to creep closer and closer around 49ers camp. The 49ers surprised some by restructuring Smith's contract to keep him around. But if he does not perform well, he should not be rewarded the #2 spot. If Davis does play better, Smith's career in San Francisco might as well be over.

Smith says that he has fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and would be ready to handle the upcoming battle for the starting job. But with a lot of uncertainty behind Smith, Davis would probably benefit from the battle for the #2 spot on the depth chart.

Davis has been criticized for having an unorthodox way of gripping the football. But that shouldn't take away his ability to throw the ball deep and accurately. In fact, those are the skills that I have yet to see from Smith at the pro level.

Davis looks to have more upside (and more potential) at this point than Smith does. If Davis outperforms Smith this off-season, the 49ers should not hold onto Smith as the future of the franchise. They need to let it go and move on.

Dyslexia, the learning disability that Davis has, should not be a problem for Davis as he learns the playbook. He has said that he is a great visual learner and as long as he is able to visualize the play and picture it, he will be just fine on the field.

And as Davis continues to battle for a position on the roster, he might just be good enough to make it to #2. He probably won't win the top spot, but could very well set himself for a bright future if he can show his goods in training camp. And over recent years, backup quarterbacks have excelled when the team's starter is unable to perform. In recent memory, we can find a Tony Romo or a Matt Cassel quietly taking notes as a backup. When their time came, they never looked back.

While Nate himself has said it isn't dyslexia, the point is noted. From all evidence available, Alex Smith simply isn't a serviceable starter in the NFL. Bust or not, a term which is thrown around far too frequently, it's simply a matter of economics.

Davis, as the piece suggests, brings something Smith doesn't. He brings hope. He brings optimism. He brings an unknown. Because the Alex Smith known, isn't very good. Keep it up, Nate.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

As a 49ers fan, I would say that if Alex Smith continues his struggles and the team decides to get rid of him, that Damon Huard would take over the #2 spot, at least initially. That being said, I can't wait to see how Nate develops and hope that he'll take over as the starter in a year or two.