49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 20, 2013
Crabtree active in Atlanta ... and so is newcomer Hall


Michael Crabtree is active for the 49ers, and so is recently promoted wideout Chad Hall. Crabtree, of course, was interviewed in connection with an alleged sexual assault last week in San Francisco. He has not been charged, and his presence in today's game never was in doubt.

Hall was on the practice squad at this time yesterday. The 49ers promoted him largely because of a league rule that requires players with three years on the practice squad, such as Hall, to move up to the 53-man roster when there is an opening. The 49ers had an opening after releasing Billy Cundiff last week.

After Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham were lost for the season with ACL tears, the 49ers had been activating just four wide receivers on game day. Today they will have five.

The other 49ers inactives are: Scott Tolzien, Jewel Hampton, Ca, Johnson, Joe Looney, Trenton Robinson, Tony Jerod-Eddie and IanWilliams.

For the Falcons, defensive end John Abraham will start as expected. Abraham was injured in last week's divisional playoff game and is listed as questionable. The Falcons inactives: QB Dominique Davis, WR Tim Toone, G Phillipkeith Murray, G Harland Gunn, T Lamar Holmes, DE Lawrence Sidbury and DT Travian Robertson

Tight end Delanie Walker, who had two prominent drops last week against Green Bay, said he spent the week of practice honing his hands, a process that included catching 500 passes from the JUGs machine.

Interestingly, he said he made sure rookie wideout A.J. Jenkins, who dropped his only pass attempt of the season, joined him.

"Every time defense was up (in practice), I run to the JUGs machine," Walker said. "I even brought A.J. with me because he's going to be a key factor this year, I mean, in this game -- making sure he's catching balls with me. Really, that's what we need. We need guys to make plays when they come to them. I consider me one of the playmakers here."

Walker played receiver in college and was an excellent pass catcher when he arrived in 2006. However, he said that his main focus since has been becoming a better blocker, and that his receiving skills may have suffered because of it.

"My mindset was just focused on becoming a better blocker, year by year and I stopped thinking about catching the ball because everyone said I couldn't block. So I think I became so good of a blocker, I forgot how to catch the ball. ... I've got to get back to my old self."

- 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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