We know a few things to be pretty certain:
- The off-season begs for stories that aren't even really "stories", due to the doldrums in actual football playing.
- Coaches say all kinds of things to the media and some of them are half-truths at best.
Something that we'll have to follow this off-season is the progress of 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis.
While drafted very high in 2010, Davis showed that he wasn't nearly polished enough to consistently hold his own on the right side during his rookie year. 2011 saw him take a step forward as he wasn't responsible for quite as much pressure on the QB and his run blocking was pretty darn good all season.
Still, Davis had his lapses, especially against speed rushers and stunts...part of which could also be shared-blame with whomever was playing right guard (Adam Snyder or Chilo Rachal) at the time. If the 49ers are to improve on offense, they'll certainly need better play on the offensive line, Davis included.
The 49ers media department came out with a piece yesterday based on comments made by Jim Harbaugh regarding Davis. Harbaugh said that he had "Seen a big jump in his play."
More after the jump.
I hope that this is true and not just another one of Harbaugh's "confidence builders". Davis has shown his age, only 22 right now...younger even than some of the current rookies on the team. He's been involved in some fracases on the field and on twitter during his two-year tenure. I've always wondered if his work ethic is the same as his fellow, older line-mates.
Alex Smith was sacked 44 times in 2011, nearly three times per game. The average might not seem like a lot, but consider that there were games of 6, 5, 5, and 9 sacks...and also some zeroes. Two of the largest sack totals given up by the 49ers were losses to Dallas and Baltimore.
Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, and newcomers Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James will also appreciate better line play, although the 49ers ranked eighth in the NFL in rushing yards. Again though, there were games that the run-game seemingly disappeared, too.
At any rate it bears monitoring once the pads go on and of course, when "real" football starts back up again in the pre-season.