NFC West: Anthony Davis
Asked if he he respected respected Greg Roman, Davis said, "As a person. I respect everybody as a person."
Then what about as a professional?
Davis looked up and away and remained silent until the next question was asked ... seven seconds later.
This is the atmosphere in certain corners of the Niners locker room as they prepare for Sunday's season finale against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium. And this is the Tweet that got this ball rolling, at least in a publc setting.
Greg Roman to me when I was 21: "You know we can get someone off the street to do what you do." #LifeComesAtYouFast— Bam Davis (@AnthonyDavis76) December 24, 2014
Jim Harbaugh, who may be coaching his final game with the 49ers this weekend as reports have the University of Michigan sending a contingent to woo him, was not thrilled with Davis going public, so to speak.
"Is it a concern? It's misguided," Harbaugh said of Davis' method of criticizing Roman. "I'm not going to comment any further on it than that."
Davis did say that he and Roman talked and he would be playing against the Cardinals.
Yet while it has been obvious the Niners offense and their offensive identity changed this year from a power-run approach to more of a spread look, no coaches or players have come right out and said as much.
Until Davis addressed it on Friday.
"Maybe we tried to trick 'em this year," he said.
Davis, who started the first 64 games of his career, has missed nine games this season with a litany of injuries, from recovering from shoulder surgery in camp to knee and hamstring issues to a concussion that kept him out for a month.
But with him back last week, the 49ers rushed for 355 yards in a 38-35 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Oh, and while no one in red and gold will touch the topic of Harbaugh possibly leaving, Davis grabbed it and held on.
"I think everybody knows," Harbaugh is gone, Davis said.
Davis also intimated the Niners should return next year to what enabled them to be so successful the previous three seasons -- the power-running game.
"I don't want to be closed-minded about a new coach coming in with different views," Davis said. "But that would seem like the simplest answer."
And while the right tackle took a step forward Wednesday by doing conditioning and weightlifting work, he again missed practice on Thursday, putting his availability for Sunday’s game at the Oakland Raiders in doubt.
“It was a concussion,” Davis said. “It’s not fun. It’s scary when your brain’s not working the way it’s supposed to. And the culture of this league is, You’re a big, tough guy.”
Saying he felt “loopy” at the time, Davis also went into detail.
“It was like a white fog,” he said, lifting his hand in front of his face. “When you look out, it’s a white fog. Or just having a simple conversation (is hard). You just feel slowed down.
“It’s scary, but that’s only like the first three, four days you feel the intensity of it. Each day it gets better.”
The only change in the 49ers’ injury report was left tackle Joe Staley being a full participant a day after missing due to illness.
Following is the 49ers’ injury report for Thursday:
Did not participate: CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), RT Anthony Davis (concussion), TE Vance McDonald (back), DE Justin Smith (back), S Ray Ventrone (groin)
Limited participation: WR Michael Crabtree (knee), CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), DT Glenn Dorsey (forearm), RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder), DE Ray McDonald (finger)
Full participation: WR Bruce Ellington (ankle), WR Stevie Johnson (ankle), WR Brandon Lloyd (quadricep), LT Joe Staley (illness)
Anthony Davis, meanwhile, was hurt when Colin Kaepernick was sacked in the second quarter and he rolled up on the back of Davis’ left knee. Davis was making his season debut following offseason shoulder surgery and a left hamstring injury that ended his consecutive starts streak after four seasons.
Asked specifically about the right tackle’s knee injury, Harbaugh was cryptic.
“I’d hate to comment right now, before anything official," Harbaugh said.
“How severe? Too severe? Probably best not to comment until some official information (comes out).”
Martin allowed two fourth-quarter sacks in the Bears’ comeback win, along with four pressures overall, to post a -1.2 grade, per Pro Football Focus.
Among other 49ers offensive linemen, right guard Alex Boone allowed two hurries and had a grade of -0.7 in his first start after holding out for a new contract all summer, and left guard Mike Iupati had a good game with a +1.8 grade.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, though, would not comment specifically on the job done by Martin.
"We could talk about a lot of guys," Harbaugh said. "There’s some really good things and things that we’ll look to improve on. We all kind of fall into that category right now after this game. We all feel like we have fingerprints on it.
"Some really good things were done by Jonathan Martin, by our offense, by our defense, by our special teams. Other things we need to improve on."
Rookie backup center Marcus Martin (knee) and right tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring) also sat out practice.
Martin suffered his injury in the 49ers’ third exhibition game, against the San Diego Chargers, and is expected to be out at least six weeks. Davis, meanwhile, is still rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery -- he did not play in an exhibition game -- but the hamstring is a new development.
“Boldin led the NFL in third-down receptions (33), receiving yards (529) and first downs (529) last season,” according to ESPN Stats & Info. “His 1,179 receiving yards in 2013 were the most by a 49er since Terrell Owens in 2002.”
Left guard Mike Iupati was No. 53 (he was 32nd last year) and receiver Michael Crabtree was No. 51, improving from No. 78.
“Crabtree’s drop percentage has gone down each year of his career (3.2 percent last season),” ESPN Stats & Information wrote. “He averaged a career-high 7.0 yards after the catch (per reception) last season despite coming off an Achilles injury.”
Other 49ers players already listed: right tackle Anthony Davis, who was No. 81 among offensive players. Strong safety Antoine Bethea (No. 97), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (No. 74) and free safety Eric Reid (No. 71) are in the rankings of defensive players so far.
But in two preseason games, Joe Looney has started at right guard and Jonathan Martin at right tackle and the 49ers like what they have seen so far from the current right side of their line, even if the team is 0-2 while getting outscored by a combined 57-3.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers "can win with Joe Looney" and was also effuisive in his praise for Martin, who was acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft.
"Jonathan Martin has done very well," Harbaugh said. "(He’s) been a great addition to our football team. Sure glad we got him. Like everybody else on our football team, (he’s) working to improve in certain areas. He’s been very effective and efficient."
Davis, it should be noted, has never missed a game in his four-year career and he told reporters this week that he did not need to play in an exhibition to be ready for the 49ers' season opener at the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 7.
49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said if and when Davis returns, Martin’s versatility will be a boon for him and the team.
"I think John’s a guy that can play probably four positions on the offensive line," Roman said. "And at some point you’d like to be able to get him some work in those areas. We’ll see how that goes."
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks is No. 74 among defensive players while safety Eric Reid is ranked No. 71.
"Brooks recorded a postseason-best 4.5 sacks last year, the most in a postseason since 2010 (Terrell Suggs, five)," read the list. "During the regular season, Brooks also set a career high with 8.5 sacks."
Reid, meanwhile, has become an elder statesman, of sorts, in the 49ers' secondary with fellow safety Antoine Bethea currently concussed.
"Eric Reid intercepted four passes in 2013," the report read, "second-most among rookies last season."
Brooks and Reid join Bethea and right tackle Anthony Davis, who were ranked No. 97 and No. 81 on the defensive and offensive lists, respectively.
Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
- Joe Staley
- Anthony Davis
- Alex Boone
- Mike Iupati
- Daniel Kilgore
- Marcus Martin
- Jonathan Martin
- Joe Looney
Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
- Justin Smith
- Ray McDonald
- Glenn Dorsey
- Tank Carradine
- Tony Jerod-Eddie
- Quinton Dial
- Ian Williams
- Kaleb Ramsey
This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.
Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.
This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.
Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.
This group is set and it's excellent.
The cornerbacks: This is the biggest position of change. Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are gone. Chris Culliver will start, but he is still working back from a torn ACL that kept him out all of last season. He should be fine for camp, but don’t expect him to go full-go in this camp. First-round pick Jimmie Ward is set to be the nickelback, but he is coming off a foot injury. He should be ready for training camp. A player of note in the minicamp is free-agent pickup Chris Cook. He will be in the rotation. Cook, who signed from Minnesota, has ideal size. He has looked good in the OTA sessions.
Offensive line: This unit, the pride and joy of the 49ers, should be fine in the long run, but it’s a little rough right now. Boone has been absent. Right tackle Anthony Davis is recovering from a shoulder injury and won’t be there until camp. Daniel Kilgore is taking over from Jonathan Goodwin and trying to hold off rookie Marcus Martin at center. Again, things will settle down, but don’t expect a well-oiled unit this week.
Passing game: Most of the receivers have been out during the voluntary sessions, mostly as precautions or for minor injuries. The passing game was rough in the OTA session that was open to the media last Tuesday. I’d expect to see more receivers during this camp, which is vital to help rhythm with quarterback Colin Kaepernick heading into training camp.
Inside linebackers: NaVorro Bowman is expected to be out until midseason as he recovers from a torn ACL. Michael Wilhoite has the inside shot to start for Bowman, but he will have to hold off Nick Moody and third-round pick Chris Borland.
Pass-rushers: Aldon Smith may face an NFL suspension. The 49ers need some extra pass-rush help. Keys to watch in camp is defensive lineman Tank Carradine, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and second-year player Corey Lemonier, who looks like he’s added several pounds of muscle. The 49ers would love to see these two young players show a burst in this camp.
Marcus Lattimore: The 49ers are slowly bringing along the 2013 fourth-round draft pick. He has done some things in the OTA session, including showing nice hands out of the backfield. I wouldn’t expect Lattimore to go full-go in this camp, but the 49ers want to see continued comfort, speed and confidence from Lattimore, whom they hope can help this season.
Davis wrote he is excited that he will be able to play with two arms in 2014.
In an Insider piece, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had 49ers pass-rusher Aldon Smith as his 31st-best prospect of the past five years. Smith was the No. 7 overall pick in 2011. On the field, he has been outstanding. However, his off-field issues have clouded his future with the 49ers.
Under the Twitter handle @AnthonyDavis76, Davis, who plays on the right side and whose primary responsibility is to deal with Long twice a year, began the exchange by tweeting Tuesday that "My rookie year Chris beat me every way you can beat a man. Ask him wassup now tho...…" with a link to an Instagram photo of him blocking Long.
When a fan asked Davis why he didn't make the statement with Long's Twitter handle -- @JOEL9ONE -- attached, Davis responded simply "he already know."
Long apparently didn't already know and opted to respond by lobbing some barbs back in Davis' direction after a disclaimer of "I don't usually talk ill of an opponent on here unless I'm provoked directly... But some guys are just attention starved. U got it boss."
From there, things spiraled into a war of words, some of which aren't appropriate for our family-friendly Rams blog. Here's a sample of some of the exchange.
%tbt Vernon "stop treating him like that Chris" me "I'll raise my kids however I want" pic.twitter.com/kq74ioUc8a— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 27, 2014
@JOEL9ONE you're as good as you'll ever be. I'm just tapping into what I'm working with over here. Lol goodluck.— Bam Davis (@AnthonyDavis76) March 27, 2014
Of course, the entire exchange, including the ensuing conversations with fans looking to get involved can be found on Twitter.
While the Rams and Niners rivalry doesn't quite meet the level of Niners-Seahawks, the fact that Long and Davis actually battle on every snap should only add more intrigue to games that have consistently been among the most physical in the league the past two years.
San Francisco 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis and St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long engaged his some back-and-forth insults on Twitter on Thursday.
It began innocently enough earlier in the week when Davis wrote on Instagram that Long handled him in his rookie season in 2010, but he has since held his own against the Rams star. Long apparently didn’t like it and tweeted an insult toward Davis.
They both followed up with some tweets about the other. The 49ers and Rams play twice each season, so this March Twitter battle will certainly become a topic again later this year.
This isn’t Long’s first Twitter fight involving the 49ers. Last year he went at it on Twitter with some San Francisco fans.
My rookie year Chris beat me every way you can beat a man. Ask him wassup now tho...... http://t.co/LkweEe1bZR— Bam Davis (@AnthonyDavis76) March 25, 2014
At first glance, it looks as though the 49ers got shortchanged on the All-NFC West list, especially on defense. After all, the San Francisco defense is clearly one of the NFL's best.
So, to see only defensive tackle Justin Smith and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman represented could raise eyebrows. However, one must consider that the NFC West is a fantastic division for defensive play. Try to find a more talented group; it'd be difficult.
The 49ers did well in total. They placed eight players on the 26-man All-NFC West first-team (as voted on by the four writers who cover the teams in the division). Seattle had eight on the first team, Arizona seven and St. Louis three.
So the 49ers were represented. Arguments certainly could have been made for linebackers Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks, as well as safeties Donte Whitner and rookie Eric Reid. But again, the players on this team are solid.
The 49ers were recognized for their strong offensive line -- the list includes three-fifths of the group with tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis and guard Alex Boone. No argument there. This is a physical group that sets the tone.
Tight end Vernon Davis, receiver Anquan Boldin and punter Andy Lee were all worthy picks.
It was a tough call between Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore at running back. We went with just one. Lynch has 1,160 rushing yards and Gore has 1,114. Gore is a big part of what the 49ers do, but Lynch is vital to the Seahawks' offense.
A major argument could be made for San Francisco kicker Phil Dawson to be on the first team. He has been a major cog this season. But again, in total, the 49ers fared pretty well on this list.
Davis, now a standout right tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, has publicly lashed out at Schiano since joining the NFL. Schiano is now the coach at Tampa Bay. The 49ers visit the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Davis said he wasn’t a great fit for Schiano’s intense motivational style, saying he is more of the self-motivating type. Still, Davis steered clear of igniting any dispute with his former coach.
“It was a learning experience,” Davis said. “If you can make it there under him, you can make it anywhere.”
It is clear Davis has no such issues with his current coach. Jim Harbaugh is thrilled with Davis’ play.
“Anthony Davis is having a really good year,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Consistently good every game. He’s playing at a very high level, kind of top-lineman kind of level. He’s having an outstanding year.”