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Tag:Michael Crabtree
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Crabtree on Alex Smith: 'He's the quarterback?'

Posted by Will Brinson

There probably aren't a whole lot of people who are confident that Alex Smith will return as the 49ers starting quarterback in 2011. And that's okay. Even if Jim Harbaugh is on board, fans have reason to question whether or not Smith can succeed.

But you would think that, at the very least, the team's No. 1 wide receiver might be on board with Smith's return. However, that might not be the case based on the conversation Michael Crabtree had with the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

Barrows reports on Tuesday that he asked Crabtree if thought "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry."

"Who's the quarterback?" Crabtree responded.

Barrows then told him that Smith was.

"He's the quarterback? I'm just asking," Crabtree said. Crabree later clarified his remarks at the practice. Well, kind of.

"I wish I could tell you that [Smith is the quarterback]," Crabtree said. "I know that you're all scratching at it. I wish I could tell you who is going to be the quarterback. I don't know. I don't know.

"Whoever the quarterback is, I'm 100 percent down with it and I'm ready to go. That's it."

Now, bear in mind that this was at a voluntary workout that Smith was kind-of, sort-of leading. And this is kind of a tumultuous time in the NFL with most players really sticking together.

So for Crabtree to almost laugh off (again) the prospect of Smith starting for the 49ers, well, it tells us that if we ever get the players back on the field, we're at the very least going to have some spicy drama by the bay.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



The 49ers were doomed almost from the very start of last season. After all, check out their schedule for the first five games – the Seahawks, the Saints, the Chiefs, the Falcons and the Eagles (all made the playoffs and combined for a 51-29 record while knocking off the 49ers) – but two weeks after running through that gauntlet, San Francisco fell to the Panthers also. So, that’s not too good.

Neither, for that matter, was coach Mike Singletary, who was fired after Week 16, and neither was much of anybody else. The offense ranked 24th in the league – almost a miracle considering Alex Smith and Troy Smith traded off starting QB spots and RB Frank Gore missed the last five games because of a fractured hip – and though the defense was actually slightly better than average, San Francisco just couldn’t put it together under Singletary’s leadership.




Quarterback Issues

When Singletary named Troy Smith as his starting QB midway through the season, you knew neither of them were long for their respective jobs. When Singletary replaced andinjured Alex Smith with Troy Smith in Week 10 and then switched back to Alex the next week (and then continued to switch the two throughout the rest of the year), there was almost no chance San Francisco would win consistently.

Actually, the trouble began earlier in the season during that infamous Sundayy Night Football game when the San Francisco fans booed Alex Smith and demanding to see the backup QB, and Singletary thought hard about replacing him with David Carr. Smith then led a near comeback attempt vs. the Eagles. Still, not a great sequence for San Francisco.


1. Patient History
We gave the patient history of this position in the section above, so now, let’s figure out what the 49ers will do about it. They actually could keep Alex Smith – they’ve already offered him a one-year contract – but it’s unclear whether Smith will sign it. But yeah, it might make sense for San Francisco to look for quarterbacks in the draft. And remember, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb are still out there as well.

2. Jim Harbaugh
He’s got zero NFL head coaching experience, but 49ers fans have to be excited about the possibilities (considering his success at Stanford and because his brother, John, has done such a bang-up job with the Ravens), and considering he’s getting paid $25 million over five years, he’d BETTER have more success than Singletary. And don’t forget: San Francisco also hired Trent Baalke as GM in the offseason. So, the 49ers are kind of starting over.

3. Cornerback
Nate Clements is fine at one CB spot, but Shawntae Spencer didn’t have a great year last season. Which is why it makes sense for San Francisco to grab either LSU’s Patrick Peterson or Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara with the No. 7 pick in the draft.




The defense is good enough to compete. The 49ers LB corps with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes (and maybe Manny Lawson) is pretty darn good, and the defensive line, led by Justin Smith, does a nice job as well. The problem here is offense, and not just at QB either.

Gore is coming off a bad injury, and WR Michael Crabtree still hasn’t broken out in a big way. Assuming Harbaugh can get the respect of his team right away – something Singletary struggled with last season – San Francisco could get back to 8-8. Which means the 49ers could contend for the NFC West crown.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 2:57 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.27.10 playoff pushes

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers were 5/6 in the red zone Sunday. The Giants did not even reach the red zone.

Eli Manning became the first Giants quarterback since YA Tittle 71 years ago to have 30 touchdown passes in a season.

217 of New England’s 348 yards at Buffalo came on the ground.

How’s this for turnover differential: Patriots 0 turnovers, Bills 7. That’s not points off turnovers, that’s just turnovers.

Rookie free agent Kyle Love started at NT for the Pats. He recorded a sack and two tackles.

Chicago’s Johnny Knox had four catches for 92 yards against the Jets. He needs just 40 yards to reach 1,000 on the season.

Chris Harris recovered a fumble, snatched a game-clinching interception and led the Bears with 11 tackles. He also broke up a pass and registered a tackle for a loss.

The Ravens netted just 97 yards passing against the Browns.

The Browns’ only touchdown pass Sunday came from wideout Mohammad Massaquoi.

Time of possession continued to be a problem for the Titans. They controlled the ball for only 20:56 against the Chiefs.

Super talented but equally raw tight end Jared Cook led Tennessee with 96 yards on five receptions. Randy Moss was not even targeted.

With the running game stalled much of the afternoon, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford stepped up and completed 28/37 for 292 against the 49ers.

Michael Crabtree had six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. It was just Crabtree’s second 100-yard game season and only the third time he’s gone over 60 yards this year.

After going four weeks without a sack, Rams DE James Hall has now reached the quarterback in back-to-back games. Hall had 1.5 sacks on Sunday.

After losing an NFL-record 26 consecutive road games, the Lions have now won back-to-back contests away from home. Detroit’s win left Miami with a 1-7 record at Sun Life Stadium.

Bobby Carpenter, Nathan Vasher and Lawrence Jackson were Detroit’s top three tacklers Sunday. All were acquired as hugely disappointing castoffs from other teams.

The Redskins and Jaguars both failed to reach the 80-yard rushing mark Sunday.

Mike Thomas has evolved into Jacksonville’s No. 1 receiver. He was the team’s statistical leader once again with 96 yards on six catches. Also, emerging wideout Jason Hill added 77 yards on four receptions.

Hmmmm….maybe Carson Palmer CAN still play after all. Without having to worry about two diva receivers, Palmer spread the ball around against San Diego Sunday, completing 16/21 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns. Jermaine Gresham, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson all had at least four catches and 55-plus yards receiving.

Eric Weddle led the Chargers with 16 tackles…which tells you that top inside linebacker Stephen Cooper wasn’t playing.

With Andre Johnson out of the lineup, Houston wideout Jacoby Jones stepped up with five catches for 115 yards against the Broncos.

In a complete role reversal, the Colts outrushed the Raiders 191-80.

Jacob Tamme caught seven passes, giving him 60 on the season.

The Bucs outgained the Seahawks 439 to 174.

Kellen Winslow had his best game of the season, catching seven passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Geno Hayes led the Bucs with two sacks.


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Posted on: November 29, 2010 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 10:24 pm
 

Frank Gore out Monday with hip injury

Posted by Will Brinson

Frank Gore was -- surprise, surprise -- the focal point of the 49ers offense on their first drive in Arizona (make sure to follow the game live here), but after Shane Andrus missed a field goal wide right, the Cardinals took the field and Gore was seen jogging to the locker room.

He has some sort of hip injury and his return is questionable -- the best guess is that it occurred on a missed pass when he bobbled a ball and Paris Lenon tattooed him.

Gore's clearly the staple of San Francisco's offense, and he had 43 yards on just four carries during the first drive, but the Niners appeared not to need him (at least immediately anyway), because after Derek Anderson and Beanie Wells fumbled a handoff, Troy Smith hooked up with Michael Crabtree for a quick touchdown.

Update (9:07): Gore's already back in the game -- he missed just one Cardinals possession, and he picked up 10 yards on his first play back, so it would seem like there's nothing too seriously wrong with him. Although it'd be shocking to see the Niners pull him in this must-win, Brian Westbrook was in the backfield on the first down after Gore's run.

Update (9:12): Apparently Gore IS hurt, because according to Michelle Tafoya, Gore came to the sidelines shaking his head as if he wasn't able to keep playing, and now Brian Westbrook is getting the red zone carries.

Update (10:00): It sure does appear as if Gore's done for the evening -- it's halftime and he hasn't returned to the game. Meanwhile, Westbrook's getting all the carries and the Niners hold a 15-point lead, so it seems logical that San Francisco would keep him out if he's really hurting.

Update (10:20): One three-and-out into the second half by the Cardinals and Frank Gore has been declared officially out. Too bad -- it looked like there might be some drama (albeit fantasy-related) to this game.

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:43 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 4:44 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Delightfully average

Miami, despite what the sign says, has been delightfully average this season (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, which means we get plenty of first-half best-of lists from every corner of the Internet. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally cool. In fact, here are two well-done lists – one from our own Pete Prisco and one from our own Clark Judge .

Or you can go snarky and talk about the worst of the worst through the first nine weeks of the season (Cowboys, Bills, Panthers, etc.) That’s fine too. I certainly don’t mind a worst-of list every now and again. As long as I’m not on it.

But I’ve decided to play to the middle: how about an award for the Most Delightfully Average (fill-in-the-blank)? I think this needs to happen, because, really, most of us in life are pretty average (present company excluded, of course. I’m talking about those other people that aren’t reading this article – which, by the way, is far above delightfully average).

There are a handful of us that are really, really good at what we do, and there are some of them who are absolutely terrible at their jobs. Yet, most of us fit somewhere in the middle. That said, here are the most delightfully average awards from the first half of the season.

10. Average offense – Bengals: They rank 15th in yards per game (345.0) and 17th in points per game (20.9), and despite the terrific addition of WR Terrell Owens (who would have guessed we’d be saying that a few months back?), the offense seems stuck in mud. Much of it rests on QB Carson Palmer’s arm, because he has plenty of weapons around him. He just hasn’t been very good.

9. Average defense – Colts: For a potential Super Bowl contender, this defense sure is mediocre. In order to go far in the playoffs, the Colts will have to improve on their 344.6 yards allowed average (20th in the NFL), their 21 points allowed (tied for 14th), and, in particular, the 140.9 rushing yards allowed (29th). Not having S Bob Sanders or his replacement, Melvin Bullitt, because of injury hurts the secondary, but the defensive line, even with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, has just 17 sacks. Which ranks, you guessed it, 16th in the 32-team league.

8. Average quarterback – Jay Cutler, Bears: When you think of Cutler, you might rank him somewhere near the bottom of the quarterbacks list. Perhaps that’s because, whenever the Bears are playing on national TV, he always seems to be throwing four interceptions per game or taking a big-time pounding from the opposing linebackers. Plus, he has that sour look on his face that probably just makes you sad. But no, Cutler ranks 16th in passer rating, 18th in passing yards, 19th in touchdown passes, 12th in interceptions and 19th in completion percentage. So, he’s simply stuck in the middle.

7. Average running back – Brandon Jackson, Packers: After Ryan Grant was placed on the IR list following an ankle injury, it was left to Jackson and John Kuhn, the only two running backs remaining on the roster, to try to replace his production. Jackson has been fine, though unspectacular. He rushed for 115 yards in Week 5, but he averages 4.3 yards per carry for a Green Bay rushing game that ranks 20th in the league. QB Aaron Rodgers probably wouldn’t mind a little more assistance.

6. Average wide receiver – Michael Crabtree, 49ers: I’m sure this is what San Francisco expected when it took him with the 10th overall pick in 2009 and then waited as he embarked upon an extended hold-out. On the season, he ranks 32nd in the NFL with 31 catches, and he averages 12.4 yards per reception (just kind of meh). One silver lining to Crabtree’s game, though: 80 percent of his catches go for first downs.

5. Average fans – Bengals: There wasn’t much analysis with this one. I just went down the list of total attendance by percentage of seats sold, and at 98.0 percent, Cincinnati was No. 16 (No. 1 is Dallas at 108 percent?!? (Wade Phillips must have been REALLY popular in the Big D); No. 32 is Oakland at 71.6 percent).

4. Average saliva-tosser – Le’Ron McClain, Ravens: If you’re going to spit into somebody’s face, you either have to be discreet or you have to go all-out (think Roberto Alomar spitting into John Hirschbeck’s face (I can’t believe that I didn’t have to look up the umpire’s name to make that analogy)). McClain did neither. He wasn’t discreet, you see his face move forward forcefully toward Miami’s Channing Crowder in the video, and he didn’t just hawk the loogie like Alomar did. Really, just an average performance.



3. Average division – AFC South: If the NFC South (with three teams at 5-3 or better) is the best division in the NFL and if the NFC West (nobody better than .500) is the worst, the AFC South has to be the most average. The Colts and Texans are tied for first place at 5-3, while the Jaguars and Texans are tied for last with 4-4 records. All of these teams have shown major flaws during their quest to compete for a division crown. I don’t think the Jaguars have much of a chance, but of the other three, I really don’t have any idea who will make the postseason.

2. Average coach – Gary Kubiak, Texans: Three weeks ago, there’s no way Kubiak would have “won” this award. Behind Kubiak, the Texans surprised the Colts in the opener with a big victory, and despite losing to Dallas (who in the hell loses to the Cowboys, anyway?), Houston was 4-2. But the Texans have lost their last two, and for some reason, Kubiak forgets about RB Arian Foster at times while his defense plays horribly. Once again, the Texans might not make the playoffs, meaning Kubiak might be gone at the end of this season.

1. Average team – Dolphins: Miami has been a rather tough team to pin down this season. Sometimes, the Dolphins look very good, using a tough defense to beat the Vikings and Bengals, or being resilient enough to upend the Packers. Other teams, they look absolutely horrid (last week’s 26-10 loss to the Ravens, and the 41-14 debacle to the Patriots). It feels like Miami should be better, but in the end, the Dolphins are humbly – and delightfully – average.

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 11:18 pm
 

Crabtree wants to go 'big' against Oakland

Posted by Will Brinson

In one of the dumber -- yet unexpected -- draft moves in recent NFL history, the Oakland Raiders passed on Michael Crabtree and took Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall selection in the 2009 draft.

It made no sense at the time, it makes no sense now, and the only reason it's even justifiable is that Al Davis is old and crazy. But that's not stopping Crabtree from holding a grudge against the Raiders for their decision.

"Of course you think about it," Crabtree said of the snub with the Raiders coming to Candlestick Park for Sunday's Battle of the Bay. "Anytime someone gets picked ahead of you, you think about it."

Good news, I guess, is that Crabtree doesn't hate Heyward-Bey for, you know, just walking up to the podium and then tossing up as mediocre a performance as everyone thought he would.

"I'm not worried about Darrius," Crabtree said. "I'm focused on winning the game. But at the same time, I'm thinking about the Raiders."

Randy Moss has a similar beef with the Dallas Cowboys after they passed on him in 1998 -- in the sense that a team that should have pulled the trigger on him didn't.

But that's where the similarities end; comparing Moss and Crabtree is futile in the first place, but it's not like the Raiders ever promised Crabtree they'd draft him.

In fact, everyone would have been almost surprised if Heyward-Bey wasn't Oakland's choice. And the Raiders didn't pass on Crabtree because they didn't think he was the best wideout in the draft. They passed on him because their front office is a freaking wreck.

So while it's nice to see that Crabtree has enough competitive fire to justify his rookie year holdout (the sole reason being he wanted DHB money), it's almost asinine enough to warrant rooting for Heyward-Bey to have a monster game as the Raiders throttle the Niners on Sunday.

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Hot Routes 10.11.10 boxscore tidbits Week 5

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

LeSean McCoy, playing with cracked ribs, had 92 yards on 18 carries at San Francisco.

Michael Crabtree came into Sunday’s game with just 11 catches for 139 yards on the season. Against the Eagles, Crabtree caught nine balls for 105 yards and his first touchdown.

The Jaguars became the latest team to plaster the Bills defense with 200 yards rushing. Maurice Jones-Drew had 84 of those yards on 19 carries. Sixth-round rookie Deji Karim added 70 yards on 15 carries. Karim also had a 51-yard kick return.

The Bills have allowed at least 150 yards rushing in 13 of their last 19 games.

Marcedes Lewis caught a pair of touchdowns for the Jags. Frustrated No. 1 receiver Mike Sims-Walker also got into the end zone (his second TD on the year). Sims-Walker, who was blanked for the second time last week, finished with four receptions for 46 yards.

Derrick Harvey got half a sack for the Jags. (Is it sad that this felt necessary to report?)

Cedric Benson topped the century mark on the ground for the first time this season, rushing for 144 yards against the Bucs.

Bucs rookie wideout Mike Williams had the best game of his young career. Williams, targeted 11 times, had seven receptions for 99 yards and a score – and against a very stellar Bengals secondary.

Terrell Owens went over 100 yards for the second week in a row, while Chad Ochocinco had just 20 yards on three catches. Ochocinco has been held to three or four catches and less than 60 yards receiving in each game since the team’s Week 1 blowout loss to the Patriots.

In the Bengals-Bucs game, the starting safeties for both teams finished first and second in total tackles for their teams.

If you’re wondering who will replace Mark Clayton as the go-to guy in St. Louis…Danny Amendola was targeted 19 times against Detroit.

The Rams were awful giving up 44 points, but on the bright side, it was the first time all season that they’ve allowed more than 17 points. (For what it’s worth, the defense was technically only responsible for 30 of the points Sunday.)

Adam Vinatieri knocked in four field goals for the Colts on Sunday (none of them Super Bowl game-winners, though). It marked the 16th time in the likely future Hall of Famer’s career that he’s made at least four kicks.

Until Sunday, the Redskins had not won back-to-back games since Weeks 7 and 8 of the 2008 NFL season.

Thanks to a 71-yard scamper, Brandon Jackson needed just 10 carries to post a career-high 115 yards rushing against the Redskins.

Six different Redskins had at least 20 yards receiving Sunday. Chris Cooley, Anthony Armstrong and Santana Moss combined for 271.

In addition to a crucial overtime interception, LaRon Landry had a team-high 13 tackles. The fourth-year safety is having a career year playing in Jim Haslett’s scheme.

The Panthers had 62 yards net passing Sunday. That would look bad if not for the fact that the Bears had 29 yards.

Jonathan Stewart had 30 yards on eight carries. More noteworthy is that it was his second most productive game on the season.

Baltimore outrushed Denver by 194 yards.

Days after complaining about his role in the offense, T.J. Houshmandzadeh was targeted only three times. Hey, at least Anquan Boldin was only targeted three times. Housh had two catches, 24 yards. Boldin had one catch, eight yards.

Andre Johnson had five catches for 95 yards, but he was held to just one catch for most of the afternoon. His numbers game in quasi-garbage time.

Osi Umenyiora notched two more sacks. He has six on the season, five in the last two games.

The Texans had a franchise-low 24 yards rushing against the Giants. The previous franchise low was 25 yards against the Jets in 2006.

After the loss at Arizona, the Saints are just 7/19 in the red zone this season.

Saints Cardinals nearly gave us the perfect time of possession balance. Saints: 30:01; Cardinals: 29:59.

Beanie Wells got 20 carries but mustered just 35 yards.

Michael Huff had 11 tackles and a sack for the Raiders. Of course, he was also part of a secondary that yielded 431 yards through the air.


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Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:05 am
Edited on: September 21, 2010 12:10 am
 

Niners should still be optimistic after loss

Posted by Will Brinson



Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, 1:14 on the clock with two timeouts and Drew Brees under center is just a little too much to leave out on the field when you score. Clearly they couldn't have purposely left any more time on the clock when Frank Gore punctuated a thrilling drive with a seven-yard rush, but expecting anything less from the defending champs would have been silly. Indeed, they finished the game off with a 37-yard Garrett Hartley kick (which may or may not have been blocked IN) amid swirling winds.

Still, for a team that's 0-2 and suffered a complete travashamockery of an embarrassment in Week 1 at Seattle, things could be worse for San Francisco.

For starters, they have talent. No one's questioning whether or not Michael CrabtreeVernon Davis and Josh Morgan are good -- the biggest issue was Alex Smith actually being able to get them the ball. He did that Monday night, and despite registering two picks, he did it well, racking up 275 yards.

Then there's Frank Gore, who looked as explosive as he ever has while piling up 112 yards on 20 carries (including a touchdown) and 56 receiving yards on seven catches (also including a touchdown). As long as he's healthy, that team will be able to stay in games.

Before we get to the most important part, mentioning Mike Singletary is key: look at the team that showed up in Candlestick Park tonight, now look back at the team that showed up in Seattle, now back to Candlestick, now back to Seattle, look, it's a horse! Whatever, the point is that they're complete opposites and judging the Niners hopes for the 2010 season based on that first game (or the first snap against the Saints ) makes about as much as a dude on a horse's body pimping men's body wash.

And the reason the two teams look different is that Singletary, for all his bonkos quotes, got his team prepared. He may have killed a rat, or shut down Yahoo!, or something, but he got his team motivated (yet again), and there's a good chance you'll see him do an increasingly good job of it as the season goes along.

As to the biggest point -- they play in the NFC West, the weakest-sauced of the weak when it comes to divisions. Arizona and Seattle are tied for first at 1-1 and those two teams just got a thankful paddling from Atlanta and Denver, respectively. Remove St. Louis from the equation and remember that at some point Matt Hasselbeck will get injured and Derek Anderson will remember he's Derek Anderson ... this is still a division that an 0-2 49ers team can take down.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com