Michael Crabtree emerged from Achilles tendon purgatory Tuesday. The 49ers removed the wide receiver from the physically-unable-to-perform list. That means Crabtree is on the active roster and could play in Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Or not much.
Considering all the ramifications, “not much” might be the most sensible option.
There is unanimous agreement that Crabtree will be an energy drink for the 49ers’ offense. The unit looked improved in Monday’s victory over Washington but still is not firing on all gears to stay in tune for an Oscar-worthy takeoff and landing. Just to mix a few metaphors.
After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if Crabtree might see action in the upcoming Rams game. Harbaugh said twice, with a chuckle in between the sentences: “I anticipate that he’s going to come back this week.”
The statement could be interpreted many different ways. “Coming back” does not necessarily translate to “starting” or even to being in uniform. Above all, keep this fact in mind:
Crabtree is not being activated to make a difference Sunday against the Rams. He is being activated to make a difference in January — if the 49ers make the playoffs (which they should) and if he can indeed return to his superior form of last season (which is still in question).
–Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
This latest trade was sitting there, belt high, begging to be made. Veteran forward Luc Mbah a Moute wasn’t transporting the Kings to the promised land (NBA playoffs), and Derrick Williams wasn’t driving the Minnesota Timberwolves to the postseason, either, so swap on.
The difference is the Wolves know what they’re getting – a very capable wing defender – while the Kings are playing a hunch. They thinkWilliams can play, and deep down, they would love to learn that their new, young forward was just pining away in the tundra, waiting to be discovered.
But that’s all this is. A hunch. A look-see. A hope.
“There’s no need to wait to work Derrick in,” coach Michael Malone said Wednesday after Williams participated in his first practice. “We went out and got him for a reason. Let’s throw him out there and see what he can do and give him time to get adjusted, knowing there’s no pressure, no expectations. Just go out there and play hard, and defend, and he’ll be fine.”
The reality is that lottery selections rarely travel without baggage. Expectations come with the job. Owners and general managers only draft high and sell low when they’re convinced they goofed or inherit personnel that doesn’t fit their needs.
–Ailene Voisin, Sacramento Bee
If you combined the rosters of the 49ers and Raiders, who would be the starting 22?
Yes, the 49ers, who went to the Super Bowl last season, would dominate, but how badly?
Sports people will debate anything, but there’s not a ton of genuine argument fuel here. Forty-Niners would grab at least 19 of the 22 starting jobs.
Says who? Well, me, but I’m no expert, so I canvassed a small cross-section of experts – two local sportswriters with insider knowledge, a team broadcaster who, offered off-the-record status, was very objective, and an NFL scout.
The consensus: Either two or three Raiders would start, and as one panelist said, “I wouldn’t fight hard for any of the three.”
–Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle