SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Picture a living room study session between two football players, a thick book of offensive schemes and formations and the NBA Finals as background noise.
The quarterback, 49ers second-year pro Nate Davis, has dyslexia and often works for close to 45 minutes at night with housemate and Niners wide receiver Dominique Zeigler to master the system. Davis' learning disability often causes him to mix up basics like left and right - not a good thing in the football world when sets and blocking patterns depend on directions.
He has a tough time "getting the play out" and actually executing a given call.
"I know what I'm doing out there. It's just saying the play, that's my main problem, getting the words out," Davis said. "I made big progress from last year. I've just got to keep on working."
Quarterback David Carr, signed to a two-year contract in March, has been receiving a significant number of reps during offseason workouts so he can learn the 49ers playbook. That has limited Davis' chances.
Coach Mike Singletary said Monday that Davis isn't coming along as quickly as the coaches would have hoped.
"He's coming, not as fast as he would like, not as fast as the coaches would like, but he's coming," Singletary said. "I think the biggest thing with Nate is to figure out how he learns and get that burning desire to do whatever it takes to be out here and to get it done. I know he can do it, it's just a matter of him doing it. Time will tell."
Davis was told of his coach's remarks for the first time after Tuesday's practice - and he didn't argue with the assessment.
He plans to reach out to Singletary soon, to "just see where he's at with me."
"He's the head coach. And now I've got to put more into it," Davis said. "That's what it all comes down to."
Speaking a day after Singletary, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said he believes Davis could challenge Carr for the backup job behind Alex Smith when the time comes.
"His progress has been impeded by the fact we have an additional quarterback, but I think his progress to this point has been OK," Raye said of Davis, the team's fifth-round draft pick in 2009 out of Ball State.
Davis' aim is to win the backup job.
"I don't want to be someone who sits on the bench their whole life," he said.
Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article/2010-06-08/49ers-qb-davis-working-hard-learn-playbook#ixzz0wjIFgVxi