49ers’ Michael Crabtree’s Injury

Super Bowl XLVII

PFC Blogger: Shakeel Khan

Twitter: @shakkhan79

The Niner Nation received devastating news in regards to their number one wide receiver today. Turns out that WR Michael Crabtree tore his achilles during San Francisco’s OTA’s. This brings back some unfortunate memories – for me at least. Two years ago, WR Kyle Williams fumbled the ball against the New York Giants and the 49ers lost their hopes on an appearance for the Super Bowl. This past season, Crabtree was involved on the 4th and goal play – that ended in controversy, which cost the 49ers the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Williams tore his ACL the following season and now Crabtree is in a similar situation. That must be tough for them as individuals, since both were hungry to get back to work the following season. This is the worst timing for Crabtree – while battling injuries for majority of his career (foot), he finally found his groove when Colin Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith. Crabtree had his best season with 85 receptions,1,105 yards and 9 touchdowns – and was Kaepernick’s security blanket. Not to mention, Crabtree was looking to get paid and was entering a contract year. Aside from the statistical view point, Crabtree was instrumental on key third down plays. He was known for his YAC (yards after the catch) ability and opening up holes for RB Frank Gore Inc. downfield – making key blocks that went for many yards. Crabtree will be missed and that is no secret – those who think otherwise do not understand the key variables that he brought to the team.

The 49ers cannot hit the panic button. This team is well coached and has great depth. The way I see it, WR Anquan Boldin will be the Michael Crabtree for the 2013 season. He has the same make-up as Crabtree (even though he is older)  – both are very physical and can help move the chains on third downs. The question then becomes who plays opposite of Boldin? Last year, the 49ers had veteran WR Randy Moss – who had to step up and fill in for WR Mario Manningham when he went down.

Moss may be the option that makes the most sense. He knows the system, he’s played with Kaep and he wasn’t a locker room distraction last year. But is Moss currently in football shape? Even though he has time to get there, I am not sure if he can ever get back to an elite receiver status. He had plenty of opportunities to shine last year, and he did very little of that. The other option may be WR Brandon Llyod – I won’t even try to rationalize this one. Lloyd doesn’t play hard on every down nor does he block for his running backs on a continuous basis.

The 49ers may look to make a trade or even do nothing at all. They have WR AJ Jenkins, who San Francisco had high hopes for – but this team has a chance to win the Super Bowl and I am not sure if Jenkins can step in and fill that role (only his second year).

The 49ers may want to bring in an old foe. Someone they know, someone that has 49er roots and someone who is hungry to prove to the world that he has changed. The legendary coach Bill Wash once said that he was the smartest wide receiver he has ever seen when it comes to the X’s and O’s. Yes, I am talking about WR Terrell Owens. He will be able to grasp the system right away and give Kaep a big target to throw to. He may drop a few balls here and there – he has always done that, but he will bring good experience to this ball club. More importantly, you know Owens will play hard on every down and not “play when he wants to.”  Last year, Owens ran a 4.4 forty yard dash – that’s pretty fast if you ask me. That’s faster than every receiver on the 49ers besides TE Vernon Davis. It’s a long shot I know but the 49ers are built to win now – as in this year. It will be a shame if the Michael Crabtree injury stops them from winning it all. Let’s not forget both the Seahawks and Rams have better options at WR currently – the 49ers need to make a move, the question is, what is that move? I know what my answer is.

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