The news San Francisco 49ers fans have been waiting for finally arrived with wide receiver Michael Crabtree set to make his season debut on Sunday. Crabtree was activated off of the team’s Reserve/PUP List recently and he practiced all week with no setbacks. He will start his first game of the season against the St. Louis Rams.
Adding Crabtree to the 49ers’ passing attack will be a huge upgrade for an offense that cannot consistently gain over 200 yards through the air. Last season, Crabtree was Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target leading the team in receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,105), so you know he will be looking to go the receiver often on Sunday. This week, Crabtree said he is fully “ready”, but he didn’t want to “hype” his return and just wanted to get out on the field.
I don’t want to hype nothing up .I just want to play ball like I do every Sunday…I’m really ready to play. It’s been a long time coming. I feel comfortable enough to play. I feel great.
Sunday will mark the first game the 49ers offense will have Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham and Vernon Davis together on the field. While Crabtree might be cautious about his expectations for Sunday’s divisional showdown with the Rams, I wouldn’t be surprised if the receiver had big day with a couple of touchdowns. It will be difficult for the Rams to stop all four receiving options, plus Frank Gore on the ground. With Crabtree coming back from a serious injury, St. Louis will likely focus most of their attention on stopping the other offensive threats. That will create a lot of one-on-one coverage opportunities for Crabtree, which could lead to big gains.
Crabtree, Boldin, Manningham and Quinton Patton all practiced on Thanksgiving. It was the first time all of the receivers had practiced together because of injuries to Crabtree, Manningham and Patton. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was happy to see all four back on the field together. He said,
It’s nice to see those guys out there. Takes on a different dimension, but at the same time, whoever’s played up until this point has done a good job and we’ll just see how it goes from here.
This week Manningham (knee) and Patton (foot) were limited at practice. Manningham is listed as probable, but he will play, while Patton (questionable) will likely not be available against the Rams.
The 49ers will be without two starters, one on offense and one on defense, because of injuries. Guard Mike Iupati will miss his second straight game with a knee injury. Backup Adam Snyder will fill in for Iupati at guard on the left side of the line. Starting cornerback Tarell Brown will also miss his second game in a row and he will be replaced by Tramaine Brock.
Of the seven players listed on the Rams’ injury report, three of them are for concussions: RB Zac Stacy, CB Trumaine Johnson and G Chris Williams. All three players have been cleared to play and will be available against the 49ers.
Here are the full reports for both teams:
Out: G Mike Iupati (knee), CB Tarell Brown (ribs)
Questionable: LB Ahmad Brooks (stinger), TE Garrett Celek (hamstring), DT Ray McDonald (ankle), WR Quinton Patton (foot), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)
Probable: LB NaVorro Bowman (knee, shoulder), RB Frank Gore (ankle), WR Mario Manningham (knee), LB Dan Skuta (foot), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
Questionable: G Harvey Dahl (knee), S T.J. McDonald (shin), CB Brandon McGee (foot)
Probable: CB Trumaine Johnson (concussion), RB Zac Stacy (concussion), G Chris Williams (concussion), LB Will Witherspoon (not injury related)