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' first column of the 2009 season.
Head coach Mike Singletary knew when he took the head coaching job with the 49ers that nothing was going to be easy.
And after seeing the first preseason game of '09, the 49ers coaching staff will still have difficulty naming starters at several key positions.
Singletary wants players to clearly play themselves into the starting lineup rather than waiting to be given the job. He wants to see them compete at a highly efficient level and handle game type situations. Remember… He wants winners.
Shaun Hill started the game at quarterback for the 49ers and led the offense on a field goal scoring drive using his arm and his legs during the process. He played with his usual poise and efficiency. The guy he is competing against, Alex Smith, came in and replaced Hill at quarterback was nearly as efficient.
Even though he still needs to get rid of the ball quicker to avoid the pass rush at times, Smith played with more confidence and seemed to be more comfortable under center than in the past. He threw a touchdown pass to Britt Miller and showed command of the offense and the players in the huddle.
On defense, the 49ers allowed Denver to move the ball down the field. However, they came up with four big interceptions. Those interceptions either set up points for the offense or directly took points away from the Broncos. This is the type of takeaway football that the players and the coaching staff talk about playing this year. Nate Clements continued to show why he is one of the top corners in the league. His interception in the end zone of Denver quarterback Kyle Orton's pass was the result of a great read and break to the ball on the play. Dre' Bly also showed his potential value as a starter, creating a few big plays of his own. Bly intercepted an Orton pass and later knifed in after a great run read for a tackle for a loss.
Second-year player Reggie Smith also made his presence known with two big interceptions Friday night. Smith had a great return after his first interception that set up Miller's first of two touchdown catches. His second came on a two point conversion attempt by the Broncos late in the fourth quarter and sealed the win for the 49ers.
I think the 49ers second-round draft pick Glen Coffee displayed the type of power, vision, and toughness necessary to be successful at the running back position in the NFL. Undrafted rookie Kory Sheets flashed and slashed throughout and nearly scored on the game's final play.
Familiar names such as Vernon Davis, Josh Morgan, and Eric Heitmann and not so familiar names such as rookie Scott McKillop and Micheal Spurlock all contributed to the victory over the Broncos.
Friday night's game was by no means a perfect contest for the 49ers. There is, of course, plenty to work on.
It is only the first preseason game and Singletary already has a problem… Players are actually competing and playing well. He and his staff will have to search long and hard to find a player who was not prepared and who didn't compete.