Prior to Sunday evening's 49ers-Vikings matchup, the Nate Davis debate was fairly simple. The supporters pointed to his preseason performances in support of more playing time, while opponents pointed to his playbook issues among other things. The Sunday came and he uncorked that amazing 60 yard pass, and suddenly Cris Collinsworth was comparing Davis' arm to John Elway. The praise was effusive and people were suddenly excited.
It's safe to say that one pass like shaded our view of the rest of his performance, and Mike Singletary was quick to point that out. Once the game ended and folks had a chance to review their DVRs and/or check out the stat lines, the debate suddenly got interesting. To quote Ron Burgundy: "Boy, that escalated quickly...I mean, that really got out of hand fast."
If you go through that last link (the immediate post-game recap), the tone of the comments grows increasingly negative about Davis' performance. I don't mean to say it's an unnecessarily negative tone, but it's just interesting to follow the direction of the conversation down the page.
Two days later, this is quickly turning into a slightly more national discussion.
Jason Whitlock, a noted Ball State alum, wrote a very intriguing column today about Nate Davis. I don't read all of Whitlock's columns, but I've read enough to reach the point where I assumed the column would be in support of Davis. Given his unending support of Jeff George, I had a frame of reference in my mind. Boy was I wrong. In the column, Whitlock took Davis to task for his immaturity:
Nate Davis is embarrassingly immature. He has no clue about the kind of commitment and work necessary to be an elite level quarterback. None.
You can read the details for yourself, but suffice to say, if what Whitlock states is true, Nate Davis has a long road ahead of him if he wants to become a starting caliber QB in the NFL. However, Whitlock made an interesting point that I hadn't considered at the time, but makes sense in looking back at Singletary's comments about Davis:
[Singletary, Jimmy Raye, and QB coach Mike Johnson] recognize Nate's potential. Singletary blasted the young QB in hopes that Davis would respond the way tight end Vernon Davis responded when Singletary lit him up two years ago.
Of course, Nate Davis finds himself in a slightly different position than Vernon Davis. While Vernon was already in the starting lineup and was dealing with issues that could be addressed immediately during the season, Nate is in a different position. Singletary mentioned in his press conference that Nate busts his butt in season, but that his issue has been during the offseason.
Does this mean we have to sit and wait until next offseason to see if Singletary has gotten through to Davis? I'm not necessarily complaining about this, but if his problem is in that area, what will we be able to figure out in these remaining preseason games and the regular season itself?