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Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Michael Crabtree emerged because Colin Kaepernick 'trusted me more'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Michael Crabtree trusts Colin Kaepernick. (USATSI)
Michael Crabtree is all 'growed up' and has earned Kaep's trust. (USATSI)

When Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback for the 49ers last year, the offense took off. The difference was stunning, though, with wideout Michael Crabtree, who absolutely emerged with Kaepernick under center.

And Crabtree, who appeared on NFL Network's Total Access Tuesday night, believes he emerged because Kaepernick "trusted [him] more."

"I think he trusted me more," Crabtree said Tuesday. "It was a lot of trust. Playing wide receiver you need to have a quarterback who trusts you. And I feel like he trusted me."

Soooo ... when you have someone who trusts "more," you have to have someone who trusts you "less," right? Right. That someone would be Alex Smith, although Crabtree, when pressed by host Andrew Siciliano declined to say that Smith did, in fact, trust him less than Kaepernick.

"I wouldn't say that," Crabtree said. "I don't want any controversy."

What else could he say, you know? The truth is he and Kaepernick were very much more on the same page than he and Smith. Crabtree turned into a dynamic playmaker -- one capable of beating opposing defensive backs deep and breaking off big YAC runs from short passes -- and put up numbers with Kaepernick under center that are even more stunning when you extrapolate them.

Crabtree would've finished with 93 catches, 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns (in theory) with Kaepernick under center the whole year. Does this mean he has even more room for growth?

It's certainly possible. I even posited to Jim Harbaugh at the owners meetings in Phoenix that the addition of Anquan Boldin could help Crabtree develop into a more complete receiver as well. But Harbaugh -- quoting either Swingers or Rugrats, and I'm not sure which -- doesn't think there's any mentoring to be done from that standpoint.

"You know Crabtree's already grown. Crabtree's a grown man. He's a grown football player. He's all growed up," Harbaugh said. "He doesn't need mentoring. There's plenty of evidence for that."

Allllrighty then. Harbaugh did say some of the other guys could get mentoring from Boldin once he really got into the locker room, so it's not like he doesn't think Boldin's capable of the job.

He just doesn't think Crabtree needs any help. As long as Kaepernick's under center and keeps trusting his No. 1 target, there's plenty of evidence that Harbaugh's correct.

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