Disclaimer: I am not, under any circumstances, claiming that Nate Davis is the future, our savior or anything of the sort. This article is advocating the desire to see if he can show flashes of any of those things. There is no Nate Davis bandwagon at this point, at least as far as this article is concerned. Unless someone says it outright, assume that "Free Nate," implies "I would like to see what Nate Davis can do in a regular season football game." I cannot be more clear than this.
The 49ers future at the quarterback position is not on the 53-man roster, and there's a good chance it's not on the practice squad, either. Alex Smith has exhausted his stay in San Francisco, and barring a new offensive-minded head coach who sees something in him, he'll be gone next year. Troy Smith was a promising experiment for a short while, but he too appears to be on his way out, or at the very least relegated to a backup role for the future.
David Carr is David Carr.
It's just clear all-around that the quarterback position is one of the top two weaknesses on the roster, next to cornerback. The 49ers can't get the ball to receivers, and they can't stop the ball from getting to opposing receivers. They're not the catalyst for the losing season, but they're a huge contributor, to be sure. Now the 49ers are out of playoff contention, and Mike Singletary has been relieved of his duties as head coach. One game remains, against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Who makes the start for the 49ers?
Why not Nate Davis? It's a longshot that he can be "the future," but he knows enough of the playbook to go out there and play. It's never alright to just lose a game to lose a game, but there are folks already hoping for the best draft positioning possible, so why not try the practice squad quarterback? There really isn't much of a reason to not go with him. First, a couple things regarding Nate.
Nate is dyslexic, it's a learning disability at that point. It doesn't mean he has trouble calling plays or leading anybody, it doesn't mean he sees everything backwards in his head. His particular case simply impedes his ability to learn the playbook by normal means, he needs visual aids and the things of that nature. He's a project, and everybody knows it, but right now he's our project and we may as well see how far along he is.
During the preseason, we saw a lot of good things from Nate. Using a very limited playbook, he made some very good throws and showed good poise under center. While under pressure, Nate had the propensity for buying as much time as possible with his feet before making his throw. He has very good deep accuracy, but his decision making on the deep ball might not be the best. His arm strength is elite. I recall one play he hustled to the right side, and when he was about to go down, he sort of flicked his wrist and the ball sailed somewhere around fifty yards where Jason Hill would have made the catch if not for pass interference.
There's physical tools there, and he has the ability to know and utilize a playbook, it's just about seeing how well he can do it and if he can do it any time soon. The big problem now is, when the 49ers bring in a new head coach, he will come with a new offensive coordinator, which will mean a new offensive system for Nate to learn. Still, I'd wager whoever this new coach is can handle a quarterback better than Singletary and Co. Either way, what's the reason for not starting Nate on Sunday? What I'm looking for is tangible, regular season NFL action against a team that will be trying.