Eric Davis spent 13 years in the NFL as a cornerback. He’s now in his second season as part of the 49ers broadcast team. After every 49ers game Davis will breakdown the game in his “Wrap Up” column. Here’s Davis’ fourth column of 2009.
Watching training camp go from beginning to end, it’s obvious that 49ers head coach Mike Singletary does have a new style of aggressiveness that he wants the guys to play with. They’re definitely playing a more physical brand of football.
He is also making the guys accountable for their own play. You’re starting to see that they are taking ownership of the team. He’s making the players understand how to police one another and perform their role.
Singletary and the coaching staff have been the same every day with their approach.
That’s important for the players to see and to understand that it is going to be a certain way. You are going to have certain expectations and those expectations are not going to change. You can see that in the games that have been won this preseason. The players have fought through and found a way, whether it was the first team or it was the last guy on the roster out on the field.
Instead of going over a meaningless game in which the 49ers were defeated 26-7 by the San Diego Chargers, for this column, I’ll choose offensive, defensive and special teams MVP’s for the 2009 preseason.
An offensive player who has performed the best this preseason would be rookie running back
With that being said, I’ll make Coffee and Rachal Co-Offensive MVP’s for the preseason.
Rachal has had strong drive blocking and an attitude for physical play throughout the preseason. It’s easy to tell that he is starting to hunt for people when he pulls around. He comes around the corner not looking to run the play but looking for people to maul. That’s what you want in a guard.
As for the other offensive MVP, Coffee always runs the ball downhill and is a force to bring down. He does not shy away from contact and finishes off every run the way you want your tailback to do, always churning the legs and falling forward. He doesn’t run out of bounds. He doesn’t shy away from the licks at all.
Defensively, the 49ers MVP had to be starting nose tackle
He is probably a player who has most embodied coach Singletary’s physical style of play on the defensive side of the ball. Franklin is one of the defensive guys down in the trenches who doesn’t get to do all of the sexy work like rushing the quarterback off the edge and do the obvious things that fans can recognize. But at the point of attack, he’s moving the line of scrimmage back a yard or two every play.
He’s chasing down ball carriers, shedding blocks, clogging up the middle allowing guys behind him to scrap and make plays. Throughout the preseason he was playing relentless football, showing that he is well conditioned and ready to play.
Franklin has also taken on the attitude that he is going to do everything he can every play to make the play as opposed to waiting for someone else to make the tackle. He’s hunting at a higher level than I’ve ever seen him do in the past.
It’s not fair to put pressure on him and say he needs to become the next Bryant Young, but Franklin is doing well enough to say that he is Aubrayo Franklin and that is certainly going to be good enough.
As for special teams, the MVP has to be punter
Good field position football, a style that coach Singletary wants to play, can’t be played without a solid kicking game. And Lee has continued to do the things that he has done in the past that made him a one-time Pro Bowl punter. The 49ers cover team has been able to get down the field and do their job because of Lee’s punts. Going forward, this will allow the defense with good field position and an opportunity to stop teams and keep points off the board.