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August 15, 2012
Michael Tab-tree: WR keeping score in rivalry with Rogers

crabtreelaugh.jpg

Michael Crabtree and Carlos Rogers compete against each other every afternoon in training camp. And Crabtree is keeping score.

"I've got a little tablet on my locker, of how many days I won, how many he lost," Crabtree said. "So I'm keeping tabs. I'm winning right now. I'll try to keep it like that."

Rogers alluded to their rivalry earlier in training camp when he was asked which 49ers receiver does the most trash talking. His answer - Crabtree, and he regretted at the time that Crabtree went down with a calf injury just when the competition was heating up. Meanwhile, Crabtree will tell you that the biggest trash talker among the defensive backs is Rogers.

There's mutual admiration behind the zings and one liners.

Rogers today said that Crabtree was faster than he was last season and is more savvy when it comes to reading defenses. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman agreed with that assessment, noting that Crabtree is quicker because he's far more healthy than he was a year ago when he was just recovering from a broken left foot. "I would say so and I would hope so," Roman said. "He was playing last year with a bad wheel."

Rogers also weighed in on Jim Harbaugh's stance from earlier in the offseason that Crabtree had the best hands the coach had ever seen. Rogers agreed, although he said he'd have to put Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald at the top of the list, too.

"It's snagging a ball that comes into their area," Rogers said when asked how he rates an opponent's hands. "And it seems like, when we're talking about hands, that they don't put much effort into it. A lot of guys struggle with certain balls. Crabtree - I've seen sometimes he'll be running across the field and the ball comes. He can catch it, and then he can change direction to make another move. ... he's one guy that has a gift at that."

The Rogers-Crabtree competition continues today with a twilight practice from 5 to 7 p.m. Crabtree says he makes sure to alert Rogers to the score every day before they leave the locker room.

"It's a friendly competition," he said. "Making each other better, making practice more enjoyable."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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