Has Michael Crabtree dropped any passes in recent games? I guess it depends on who you ask. Crabtree, for instance, didn't seem to recall any passes he could have possibly hauled in when I asked him about recent drops today.
Me: You don't think you've had any drops?
MC: What are you talking about?
Me: Balls you could have caught.
MC: No. If they were on the sideline or something, or too high or something. I never, ever ... Have you ever seen me deal with drops in my college career?
Me: No. That's why I'm wondering whether there's something going on now.
MC: Nah. There's nothing going on. Everything's looked good to me.
Me: What happened with the play in the end zone in the fourth quarter (of the Seattle game)? It seems like you were surprised that the ball was there.
MC: It was designed to be a back-of-the-end-zone catch. I came out of my break and the ball was already thrown. So, miscommunication.
Me: Were you ducking because of the ball or because there was a defensive back?
MC: I didn't know what was going on. As soon as I turned around, the ball was behind me and dude was about to hit me. So I was like, 'Man, I can't go out like that.'"
For the record, STATS Inc. lists Crabtree as one of the league leaders in drops with seven on the season. Here's the full list. By the way, in my humble opinion that end-zone attempt was not a true drop. It would have required one hell of an effort to make that catch. Some other passes to Crabtree, on the other hand ...
If you thought it looked like Patrick Willis was a man on a mission Sunday in Seattle, you're right. He said his mission was to get fellow inside linebacker Takeo Spikes to the postseason, a place where Spikes has yet to go in 11 seasons. "I felt his frustration," Willis said today. "I felt the pain myself."
Willis was a one-man wrecking crew against the Seahawks, finishing with 16 tackles. The effort catapulted him to the top of the league's total tackles list. Spikes, meanwhile, is listed as questionable for Monday's game with a hamstring injury.
Tackle Joe Staley (knee) went through his most extensive practice of the week, one that included some work with the first-team offense in 11-on-11 drills. Still, Staley is listed as questionable for Monday's game. "You just never know how much progress we'll see from one day to another," Mike Singletary said.
Staley's self assessment was that he would be a game-time decision. He said he's dealt with soreness after each practice this week but that the soreness has diminished from day to day. "I'm very anxious about (playing)," Staley said. "I've been out for five weeks. But I'm not going to be stupid about it." If Staley doesn't play, Barry Sims would make his sixth straight start.
Singletary said he had a chat with Brandon Jones this week about playing time. Jones split time with Jason Hill Sunday as the No. 3 wide receiver, and he hauled in his first catch of the season -- an impressive snag for a first down on a ball that was thrown behind him. Singletary said Jones would continue to be worked into the lineup.
Said Singletary: "Brandon Jones and I talked earlier on this week and I talk to the coaching staff about different players and Brandon is one of those players that they're just trying to see more of him and get a better opportunity to find out exactly what he can and cannot do. He's had a couple of opportunities and he's taken advantage of them so far."
-- Matt Barrows