In identifying some of his locker room leaders on offense, Mike Singletary ran through a familiar list Wednesday.

Shaun Hill. Isaac Bruce. Eric Heitmann. Vernon Davis.

Wait a minute. Vernon Davis?

The same player who once inspired an "I want winners!" rant and was banished to the sideline is now a player to emulate?

"I've noticed more confidence, more leadership, and I think better expectations in terms of who they are and what they can do," Singletary said, in explaining his selections.

Davis, now in his fourth season, was happy to hear his name on the list. "That definitely means a lot, coming from a Hall of Fame player," he said. "He's always getting on me for everything, but I think Singletary is always right. That's why I trust him.

"I'm just grateful that I have somebody around to push me."

As if to demonstrate his newfound maturity, Davis refused to take the bait when a reporter goaded him with quotes from Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson.

Earlier in the day, Wilson had been asked about Davis and responded with, "Who?" It was Wilson's way of saying he didn't want to talk about individual matchups, but when the story was relayed to Davis, it was portrayed as a slight.

No matter. Davis took the high road.

"I'm sure Adrian Wilson knows who I am. We've met several times," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and compete. He's a good player."

  • Shawntae Spencer won the starting right cornerback job because of his technique and experience in the defense, Singletary said. Spencer was the surprise pick over veteran Dre' Bly and third-year man Tarell Brown.

  • Bly, who can be outspoken, took his demotion to nickel back with humility. "It happens," he said. "They made the decision, and I support it. I'm moving on."

  • Right tackle Tony Pashos, who signed with the 49ers on Monday, did so in part because of his relationship with Singletary. Pashos was drafted by the Ravens in 2003 when Singletary was Baltimore's inside linebackers coach. "You could tell it was a matter of time before he was a head coach," Pashos said.

  • What does struggling cornerback Nate Clements need to do to be ready for Larry Fitzgerald? "He's got to play better," Singletary said. "It's as simple as that. And he will."

  • Strong safety Michael Lewis (concussion) was cleared to play and will start against Arizona. Singletary said receiver Brandon Jones (shoulder) is expected to miss another month. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks (knee) might return next week.