Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crabtree Back; 49ers Must Utilize WR's

The 49ers #1 pick from 2009's draft looks like he'll be making his training camp/preseason practice debut Tuesday, after the 49ers activated star wideout Michael Crabtree from the PUP list.

Now things should get really interesting as Jim Harbough deciphers out which 2 he'll trot out there on September 11th vs. the Seahawks. They have the new-arriving big name and possibly biggest talent on the team in Braylon Edwards. Then there's Crabtree, who is still trying to live up to those lofty expectations he obtained while at Texas Tech and has been improving each year, but never has seemed to get in tune with Alex Smith. It seems like all Crabtree's big games came when Troy Smith or Shaun Hill were behind center for the 49ers, and just a few above average games coming with Alex. That said, I don't think there's a problem there, and it's more likely coincidence than lack of chemistry, but I'm really hoping these two can start out on the same page this season cause I still have very, very high hopes for Michael Crabtree. I've heard the diva talk and that he's too fragile, but he's quietly put up some decent numbers in a horrific 49ers passing attach the last 2 years, with or without being Alex Smith's go-to guy. This year, the work Smith has done with Braylon Edwards has been talked about a lot, so I expect to see Edwards no only starting, but being targeted 8-10 times per week by Smith as his #1.

Because of all the practice missed, I think that relegates Crabtree into WR2 duties behind Braylon, and that's only if he can show he's healthy and ready between now and the opener in 12 days. Josh Morgan has been the guy lost in the shuffle a bit so far this training camp, but I expect him to still be a prominent part of this teams passing attach, backing up both Crabtree and Edwards on the ends. I really would like to see Harbough start using Ted Ginn more often out of the slot, because I think he could be a decent one if given a fair shot. Ginn was asked to be the #1 in Miami right out the shoot and he's just not built for that, but you put him in a situation where he has the whole field to work with and run rather than working on a sideline, and you just may have something. So I expect Morgan to be the #3 wideout on the depth chart, I want Ginn to be the slot machine. I also wouldn't mind seeing Delanie Walker split out into the slot too. He's got WR speed and TE size so he'll be a mis-match to whoever they put on him. Harbough has a chance to be very creative with this offense with the weapons they have and I certainly hope he doesn't relegate to a conservative approach like the Nolan and Singletarry regime's were. I know Frank Gore is this team's star and horse, and he needs 20 carries a week, but this team's line is a work in progress right now and they man not end up being the running team they were expecting.

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