49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 25, 2009
X marks the spot for Morgan, Crabtree

Question: I want to ask you about the 49er receiver situation. Considering Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree lineup at the same spot, what do you think will happen? I mean, Morgan is incredible, but we drafted Crabtree with our top 10 pick. How do you see this playing out? I mean, I don't see a point in having Morgan be Crabtree's backup or vice versa. It seems to me to make a lot more sense to move one of them over so they can play side by side as a really dangerous combo. Your thoughts?
Harjit, Oakland

Answer: First of all, it's a great problem to have. Just a few years ago, the team's top three wide receivers were Cedrick Wilson, Brandon Lloyd and Curtis Conway. As for the current situation ... while Morgan and Crabtree currently are slated to play the "X" position this season, all the 49ers receivers are taught to play multiple positions. For example, Morgan lined up and both "X" and "Z" during the recent OTAs. Which is to say, if those two end up being the team's top two receivers, the 49ers will find a way to get them on the field at the same time.

Having said that ... Keep in mind that Crabtree (foot) won't be able to practice with the team until training camp. So he's not only a rookie learning how to play against big, physical cornerbacks, he's also getting a late start on the learning process. In other words, there's no guarantee he'll be a starter in Week One.

Something else to keep in mind ... Very rarely does a receiving corps make it through an entire season unscathed. Heck, the 49ers couldn't make it through non-contact OTAs without an ankle injury to Jason Hill and a concussion to Dominique Zeigler. I can almost guarantee that at some point injuries will force the 49ers to reshuffle their receiving corps and allow someone who is a Week One backup to have a larger role later in the season.
-- Matt

While we're on the subject, here's a quick - very quick - Q&A with Crabtree ...

Q: Do you have a better read now on when you can start running around on your foot?
MC: Not at all. I just know I'll be ready for training camp.

Q: Are you able to the full routine in the weight room?
MC: I do everything everybody else does except run.

Q: What was it like hearing Jerry Rice (on Wednesday)? What was his message to the team?
MC: He always has basically the same points every time I meet with him - talking about elevating your game and getting better, really powerful points. (Rice visited with Crabtree prior to the draft in the Dallas area).

Q: During practices, do you watch the player who is playing your position?
MC: I watch everybody. Right now, I'm just trying to learn the offense. That's what I'm doing right now, so ...

Q: Do you watch Josh Morgan more than the other players?
MC: Yeah, Josh is playing X and Z. Whoever's in the X, that's the spot I'm watching. I've got to get that down first.

Q: The team has signed three draft picks already. Do you want to get your contract completed so you can report on time?
MC: I'm just waiting on whatever, man. Right now, I don't really have anything to say about doing that. As long as it gets done and I'm ready for training camp ...

Q: Is your goal to be on time for training camp?
MC: Oh yeah. No doubt.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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