The San Francisco 49ers are serious about making up for lost time, and they’re serious about doing it NOW.
Michael Crabtree is expected to start Sunday’s game at Houston, the first NFL game he has been eligible to play in after his contract stalemate dragged on more than 10 weeks. Crabtree spent the bye week and the weekend working out with backup quarterback Alex Smith and apparently the 49ers saw enough of Crabtree and have not seen enough of their other wide receivers to make the bold move, this according to Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
“They gave him my spot. So if he's going to be in there, I might as well help him out so I can make sure he gets it right,’’ soon to be ex-starter Josh Morgan told Maiocco.
The plan, apparently, is for Crabtree to start opposite veteran Isaac Bruce even though Morgan had been the team’s leading receiver. The one thing the Niners lack is an explosive and dynamic playmaker, and that’s what led them to select Crabtree with the 10th pick in the draft. Some reports indicated he was the No. 1 player on their draft board.
It seems a little quick to be throwing him into the starting lineup, but they’ve paid him and they want production. The fastest way to get him up to speed is to get him experience. Coach Mike Singletary didn’t say a lot about the issue, but when informed of Morgan’s remarks, he didn’t deny it and wrote Maiocco “stopped short of guaranteeing’’ it.
The one thing you’ve got to wonder about is what kind of message this will send throughout the locker room. If Crabtree performs, I doubt anyone will mind one bit. If he doesn’t, there will be a whole lot of chatter behind the backs of those who made the decision and Crabtree himself.
He’s got some hefty escalators in his contract. Time to set out trying to earn some of them.
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