SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Anthony Davis doesn't turn 21 years old for another three weeks, so he understands why opposing players sometimes taunt him by calling him "baby."
"They do," the San Francisco 49ers rookie offensive tackle said Monday. "They call me ‘baby' and stuff like that. I try to get that out of their head pretty fast."
How? By being nasty and a little feisty. That's what 49ers coach Mike Singletary said he liked about Davis when he played at Rutgers.
"That's what I saw when we were looking at drafting him," Singletary said. "That's the thing that jumped out at me the most – his nastiness, his ability to be able to run down field and keep guys off the running back and quarterback. (Guard Mike) Iupati has that as well. Both have got their traits, both positive."
In just two regular-season starts, Davis and Iupati have shown a willingness to mix it up with defenders and protect their teammates when scrums get out of hand. Even better, they helped running back Frank Gore to a 112-yard rushing game, his team-record 21st career 100-yard game.
"It's our responsibility to protect whoever has the ball -- the ball carrier, the quarterback," Davis said. "So when you see stuff like (a defender taking a shot on a running back), it's like a shot toward you, like when you see them put a knee in Frank's side or something like that."
Veteran tackle Joe Staley said he's been encouraged by the play of Davis and Iupati, who don't seem to give up on a play even when the action has gone downfield.
"It's exciting when you're passing 20 yards down the field and you see five offensive linemen sprinting down for the ball and getting an extra block," Staley said. "Not a lot of teams do that. It's something we've had instilled in us just from myself and (center Eric) Heitmann and our coaches. That's the way we're going to play, and it's exciting to see the rookies take hold of that."
DAVIS PREDICTS VICTORY: Tight end Vernon Davis spoke via conference call with Kansas City writers and essentially guaranteed victory when the 0-2 Niners and 2-0 Chiefs play Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We have to win this one. We will win this one," Davis said. "I'm pretty confident that we will pull this one out."
The response from the Chiefs locker room was tepid. Said defensive lineman Shaun Smith: "That's just Vernon Davis being Vernon Davis. You know him … That's just a guy trying to get some locker-room talk, some locker-room chatter. That's also a guy trying to get his team going.
"For him to put out there on the line, guaranteeing victory, that's him. We'll see what happens on Sunday."
CHILO RETURNS: Right guard Chilo Rachal, who missed Monday's game because of a stinger, will return to limited practice this week. But even though Singletary said the offensive line had played as well as it has since he's been coach, he'll pull Adam Snyder when Rachal is ready to go.
"Chilo earned the job during training camp," Singletary said. "That's where the job was won. If you look at one game and say that's where he's going to lose the job? I don't think so. Chilo makes us better. Snyder stepped in and did a nice job, as we thought he would, but I don't see any reason to change."