Smith Haters, Inc. had a wild celebration on the 49er blogosphere Wednesday as Jimmy Raye announced that Nate Davis would finally get some playing time against actual NFL players, instead of the Training Camp fodder he has so far performed admirably against. Good luck, Nate. Do not fumble the occasion, or you will soon find yourself replaced as the franchise savior by Jarrett Brown.
There is no denying Nate’s skills as a QB. In fact, he has serious 1st round talent. But the NFL is not Ball State, with its simplistic defenses and offenses, and Nate’s performances in his final two games there, a loss to Buffalo in the MAC Championship and to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl, were disastrous affairs. That, combined with his acknowledged learning disability, resulted in his fall to the 5th round, where the 49ers took a flyer on him. The Indianapolis Colts were the only NFL team to attend Nate’s Pro Day, and one of the only NFL teams that can afford to spend several years developing a QB.
That Raye would make this announcement is interesting. He could simply have put Nate in the game sooner than usual, without a lot of fanfare, effectively downplaying the experiment, and finding out whatever it is they want to find out about Nate without any advance publicity. As it is, a solid or even okayish performance by Davis will almost surely launch a full blown QB controversy in Ninerland. One that Mike Singletary will be forced to answer endless questions about. He is not exactly renowned for patience when encountering endless questions matters.
So, why the publicity, the advance notice? Some would suggest that the answer is an obvious one: Raye is an idiot and doesn’t know the difference between just doing something and announcing to a gathering of reporters that you are going to do something. For the purposes of advancing this topic, however, we will reject that idea, leaving it to Mr. Berger to advance the notion that this is the Sardine Can Brain in operation.
Because this is the Outsider, where speculation is wildly popular. So let’s throw some meatballs in the sauce and see what we can come up with as to why Raye made this public announcement. For simplicity’s sake, we have used Raye’s brain as the accountable head to scratch here, though NoFear will probably still make sure to point out that all occurrences in Ninerland should be blamed on Singletary’s shiny dome, just like they allegedly were when Mike Nolan was the HC.
The only benefitees from advance pronouncements would be the fans and the world at large — as in other teams in the NFL — and the other 2 QBs on the roster. Are the Niners showcasing Davis for trade purposes? Are they throwing Davis in over his head so fans (and perhaps players on the team) will stop pestering them with emails about how great he is and not riot in the streets should the Niners cut him? Are they letting Alex Smith and David Carr know that it’s time to step it up or back it down? Are they trying to generate excitement for the upcoming home exhibition game against the Raiders (hey, a hot dog sold is a hot dog sold)? I’m sure our readers have wilder suggestions in store for us today. Have at it guys.
What’s known is that Davis has struggled in camp and is not progressing as fast as the team had hoped for. But, like Shaun Hill, he seems to be a “gamer.” Before investing another year in developing him, rather than perhaps developing Brown, it seems sensible to see Davis perform against real NFL players and find out whether the NFL is just over his head, like the last two games of his college career were, or whether he can actually succeed at this level and be a viable option should he need to be inserted into a game this year.
Still, why the public announcement? It’s a head scratcher, Mr. Raye.