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Smith and Crabtree developing relationship

The 49er Faithful were spoiled in the 1980’s with quarterback/wide receiver combination’s of Joe Montana and John Taylor/Jerry Rice and in the 1990’s with Steve Young/Jerry Rice.  It is no coincidence the 49ers have not had much success since the glory days of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s when they had a QB/WR combo that lead them to all the Super Bowls wins.  Once Young and Rice retired we waited and waited and waited and… now, do the 49ers finally have that QB/WR combo that led to success for Montana, Young, Taylor and Rice?  Well, I would not go that far yet as both current Niner QB/WR combo Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree have plenty to still prove but the potential upside should coalesce in the 2010 NFL season.  After finishing two days of organized team activities (OTA’s) the new passing dual are for the first time going through a full off-season together, Crabtree missed all of training camp and the first five regular season games last season, and both are the starters at their respective positions.  Even with Crabtree missing all that time we was inserted into the starting lineup for the first game after he signed, played extremely well and finished the season with 48 receptions, 625 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 11 games.  Smith was forced into the starting lineup in week eight last season because of Shaun Hill’s inability to score with the offense and the 49er Faithful saw the potential Smith can bring when you surround him with good players and the reason why he was selected with the first pick in the 2005 draft.

With a full off-season of OTA’s and training camp Smith and Crabtree have the chance to be one of the top QB/WR combos in the NFL.  What will be key to their development and success is how much time they both put in with each other when they are not required to.  The great passing duals of all-time, see Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison, are known for their work ethic and dedication that develops a relationship where both read the defense the same and make the correct adjustments on the field, all without saying a single word to each other.  As Smith has shown there is no question to his work ethic and he knows this is most likely his last chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL so it is now or never.  With Crabtree he showed he has the potential to have a great work ethic as he put in extra time during the 49ers bye week last season working on routes and learning the offense so he understood what he was doing on the field and that continued throughout the rest of the season.  He has continued that so far into the off-season but Crabtree has been called a diva and he didn’t do himself any favors in shedding that tag with the way he handled his contract holdout.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt and with all the natural talent he has at wide receiver I think Smith and Crabtree will develop into the type of passing combination that will lead the 49ers back to relevance again in the NFL.

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