Rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree (MCT) is expected to start opposite Isaac Bruce this Sunday against the Texans. Crabtree will be making his first start of his career in his home state of Texas. According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat MCT will in start in place of Josh Morgan who said, “I’m helping him learn my position and take my position. It is what it is. If he can help us win, I’m all right with that. 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.”
Morgan is taking the highroad by trying to get Crabtree ready as best he can but he knows with the aging Bruce likely to retire at the end of the season that he will be in the starting lineup next year. Expect Morgan to continue contributing in the passing.
Crabtree’s presence on the field alone will make a difference for the 49ers offense. With two weeks to prepare and learn as much of the playbook as possible MCT will make some plays on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has been setting up receiving packages specifically for Crabtree so when they put him out on the field he knows exactly what he is doing and does not cause turnovers by running the wrong route. Everyone knows what type of receiver MCT can be with his play in college and his great athletic ability but there are many unknowns that could mean Crabtree might not have a big game on Sunday. He has not played in a game since the Cotton Bowl on January 2, since then had surgery on his foot and missed all of training camp and the first five games on the 49ers 2009 schedule. I would be cautious too about expecting something big from Crabtree this weekend but to hear the way running back Frank Gore and head coach Mike Singletary have talked about Crabtree and how prepared he looks is a positive sign.
Gore: “Just by watching him in college. He was one of the best players in college. Just watching him in the bye week, he looks how he’s supposed to look. He has great hands and he runs good routes.”
Singletary: “You have to let those guys line up against him and put their hands on you and see some of the complexities of the defense and how they are setting you up. You come to the sideline with your head on a swivel a little bit, but I don’t think that it’s going to be too big for him. To me, even though he’s come in late, he looks like he’s ready.”
Crabtree to his credit has been working non-stop since he signed with the Niners over two weeks ago. He didn’t have a choice and most likely wanted to be there but while most the 49ers roster took advantage of the bye week Crabtree has been working hard learning the playbook and trying to get in rhythm with Shaun Hill and the rest of his teammates. Crabtree will be targeted a lot in the game as the 49ers continue to try to establish a legitimate passing game. The Texans D will have to account for Crabtree regardless of how many months of the season he has missed. While some of the focus will be on MCT, tight end Vernon Davis should have a big game as the Texans will be forced to have a safety or linebacker cover him who are usually slower than the tight end. And if the Texans D decides to focus more on Davis expect Hill to look to Crabtree to make the big play. The return of Gore will help the 49ers offense and will open up the passing game. This is the lineup the 49er Faithful have been waiting for since MCT was drafted. Let’s hope he has an immediate impact for the Red and Gold.
Topics: 49ers, 49ers 2009 Season, 49ers Offensive Coordinator, 49ers QB, 49ers Quarterback, Frank Gore, Isaac Bruce, Jimmy Raye, Josh Morgan, MCT, Michael Crabtree, Michael Crabtree To Start On Sunday, Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers, Shaun Hill, Vernon Davis