Don’t mess with Mike Singletary. Just ask Vernon Davis, the former sure-bet draft prospect that had bust written all over him before getting verbally undressed by his new coach. Davis bought into Singletary’s program and rebounded in a huge way, bettering his previous career high in receptions by 26 (up to 78), yards by 456 (up to 965), and touchdowns by nine (up to 13). Given an ultimatum – the Singletary Way or the highway – Davis chose the path to NFL stardom.
Mike Singletary is a culture unto himself, and he’s molded his 49ers team in his image. This is one of the brightest young teams in the league, and they play hard, they play physically, and they’re going to win a lot of games in the very near future.
Singletary’s presence, and the culture he’s quickly established in San Francisco, was really driven home when the team made Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati and Taylor Mays its first three draft picks this past April. Iupati is a road-grading guard that will start immediately and will have an instant impact on the team’s rushing attack. Mays is the most uniquely gifted and physical defensive back to emerge in quite some time, and at a bare minimum adds explosive hitting to a defense that could use more physicality.
But that culture means the most when talking about Davis, the No. 11 overall pick out of Rutgers. No one questions Davis’ talents, as many scouts believed that Davis was the most gifted offensive lineman available this past year. Despite serious questions about his maturity (he’s only 21 years old) and work ethic, he was still the third lineman off the board. He’s in a fantastic situation. Singletary is the perfect coach to get the most out of Davis between Sundays. The rookie enters an offense that made serious strides during the 2009 season behind quarterback Alex Smith.
There is a lot of talent offensively in San Fran, but better line play – and more consistency from Smith – are required. Davis will get a chance to start right away. Under Singletary, he’ll have an opportunity to develop alongside some of the league’s best young skill players (Davis and Michael Crabtree come to mind). Things are looking up in San Francisco, and this young tackle could really solidify a promising young team’s offensive fortunes.