While the San Francisco 49ers had the day off Monday, the coaching staff undoubtedly spent its time watching tape of the team’s 15-10 preseason victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
As in most games, there was some good, some bad and some so-so to evaluate afterward. Here’s a look at three players whose fortunes may have improved – or slipped – as the Niners enter their fourth week of training camp.
Helped himself: Wide receiver Dominique Zeigler had already been enjoying a productive camp, but now he’s giving 49ers fans a chance to see what he can do. Zeigler, who spent last season on the practice squad, entered the game in the second quarter and made a nice third-down catch, diving forward and earning a first down. He had three receptions for 33 yards and seemed to solidify his position as the team’s No. 4 receiver.
“Dominique always plays ball,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “He knows all the positions out there and he makes catches. Whenever his number is called, he’s ready to go.”
Hurt his chances: Head coach Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye wanted to see how backup QB Nate Davis would respond playing against better competition. No question, Davis had his moments – a 60-yard pass through the air to Ted Ginn Jr., some good movement under pressure and an ability to run when necessary (2 runs, 16 yards).
So it was somewhat surprising to hear Singletary’s harsh review after the game. The coach questioned Davis’ offseason work ethic, suggesting he could have spent more time in the film room to improve.
”Right now, Nate Davis is working his tail off to try and learn this system,” Singletary said. “But in the offseason, that’s when you take the time to get that done. And I’m not sure how hard he worked this offseason. So when I talk about work ethic, you just can’t turn it on and turn it off.”
Davis did not disagree, saying, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think I put in enough time than I should have. Yes, I did put in a lot of work, but maybe I should’ve put in more than I did.”
So what was he doing when he wasn’t working? Davis smiled and said, “I was spending time with my little daughter.”
Among other things, Singletary was perturbed by a run in which Davis should have known where the first-down marker was. Instead, he was just short, forcing a punt.
On the upswing: The 49ers finally got a prolonged look at linebacker Travis LaBoy, who missed a lot of camp recovering from a mild concussion. LaBoy entered the game at the start of the second period and finished with one sack of Vikings backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and three QB hurries.
The game marked LaBoy’s first action since 2008. He was out of the game last season recovering from a foot injury and was signed by the 49ers in April.
LaBoy has a chance to make the team as a backup linebacker, but he’s likely competing with Diyral Briggs, who also had a good game. Briggs totaled three tackles and one sack.
“Everyone gets their shot,” LaBoy said. “Equal opportunity. For me, I’ve just got to make the most of the chances I get.”