Over the last few days the debate regarding 49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis has reached a big of a fevered pitch. I wanted to post about this now for a couple of reasons. First, there was an interesting comment by David White of sfgate.com:
On the hot seat: Right tackle Anthony Davis. The rookie first-round draft pick has allowed seven sacks and is one of the most penalized linemen in the NFL. If he can't hold his ground against a Bucs defense that has an NFL-low eight sacks, oh brother.
This isn't exactly a shocking statement. Anthony Davis has definitely had his share of rookie problems. He's been up and down throughout the season, which is to be expected from a player who was already considered one of the more raw first round draft picks in the 2010 NFL Draft. One of the things I've noticed with offensive linemen is that they seem to be rarely spoken of when they're successful, but when they struggle it is there for all the world to see. Consider them like referees in that it's better that they're forgotten.
For Davis, this past game against the Rams was the type of game any professional would want to forget. Defensive end Chris Long absolutely abused him and even when Long and company weren't getting to the QB on Davis' side, Davis was nailed for a couple holding penalties that cost the team big time. The one on the Vernon Davis nullified TD was a bit of a ticky tack call, although Davis did have his arm under the neck and given the calls of the day it's not surprising it was called. However, the play where Davis fell down and pulled his man down with him was an easy call for the refs (Correction: The falling down took place on the Crabtree TD, not the Davis TD; that was Staley's penalty).
I know we have a couple folks who strongly believe Davis should be benched, with one person considering the possibility of just cutting him entirely. I can safely say that barring Davis going out and shooting somebody, he is not going to be cut anytime soon. However, if his penalties and struggles continue, will the team actually bench him or will they just let him work his way through his troubles the remainder of this season? This isn't a question about what happens after this season. Rather, it's just about the 2010 season.
The primary alternative at this point is probably Alex Boone. With Joe Staley going down with the leg injury, Barry Sims will move into the left tackle position. Adam Snyder is certainly an option but given Chilo Rachal's struggles and repeated minor injuries, it seems safe to say Snyder will continue in the guard rotation. Tony Wragge is also an option and has had his moments when he's been called on, but I think he's likely to stick as the backup center and a backup guard.
There has been plenty of discussion about Boone and his improvement physically in the offseason. He received playing time in the preseason but he has yet to be active on Sunday. This weekend might change that and if Boone is activated, is it possible that gives Singletary more incentive to possibly bench Davis or even give Davis some additional motivation? I really don't think Davis needs the motivation but it's certainly something to consider.