Tag:Michael Crabtree
Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 12:31 pm

49ers ink Braylon Edwards to 1-year deal

Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE (Friday, 8/5/11), via NFL Network's Jason La Canfora: "How far did Braylon Edwards fall? Deal with 49ers is 1yr, $1M, with no guarantees. Only reaches $3.5M max with 90 catches/Pro Bowl. Yikes."

Even before the lockout ended, Braylon Edwards said he'd be willing to take a hometown discount to return to the Jets. Instead, New York gave Santonio Holmes a shiny new five-year deal, signed just-released-from-prison Plaxico Burress and were on the verge of adding 37-year-old Derrick Mason.

Meanwhile, Edwards remained unsigned … until Thursday night. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Edwards signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the 49ers, and Braylon confirmed as much via Twitter: "It's official #Team17 we have moved to the bay. I'm a proud member of the San Francisco 49ers."

The 49ers have been busy in recent days acquiring mid-level talent at bargain-basement prices. In addition to Edwards, the Browns' former 2005 first-round pick, San Francisco has added Madieu Williams, Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers (and are eager to dump 2010 second-rounder Taylor Mays).

This isn't necessarily a case of the 49ers trying to fill out the roster on the cheap (although fans may feel differently); if the Patriots had made these moves the "Yep, he's still a genius!" proclamations about Bill Belichick would soon follow. Of course, when you win at least 10 games every season since 2003 people tend to give you the benefit of the doubt. By comparison, the 49ers last had a winning record in 2002. 

(For what it's worth, Whitner sent a tweet to Edwards after learning they'd be teammates in San Francisco saying, "Bray I signed there today also...let's get a RING!")

Edwards will likely join Michael Crabtree in the starting lineup once Crabtree returns from a foot injury that could keep him sidelined throughout training camp. Prior to Edwards' signing, wideouts Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn had been running with the first team offense.

"He's really excited about the offense with Jim Harbaugh," Edwards' agent Ben Dogra said, according to the Associated Press. "He has a legitimate chance to play early and often. He's looking for a fresh start and felt good about his conversations with Coach Harbaugh and (general manager) Trent Baalke. That's what made the biggest difference for him. If he does well, hopefully there's an opportunity to prolong his career there."

The AP notes that with the addition of Edwards, the Niners now have the No. 1 (Alex Smith), No. 3 (Edwards) and No. 9 (Rogers) overall picks from the '05 draft.

As for what impact Edwards might make, we'll leave you with this: during Thursday's Eye on Football Podcast (it'll be uploaded shortly -- check back soon), we asked which wide receiver among Randy Moss, Burress or Edwards we would want on our team. Let's just say Edwards twice ranked third behind a 34-year-old fresh out of prison and another 34-year-old who just retired.

Also worth mentioning: the Jets gave Burress a one-year, $3 million deal, which isn't much different from what Edwards got from the 49ers.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 11:54 pm

Michael Crabtree out 4-6 weeks; put on PUP list

CrabtreePosted by Josh Katzowitz

While the Bengals were plotting with the Patriots to trade Chad Ochocinco, the 49ers also apparently were in the hunt, and the Sacramento Bee had a good reason why.

It’s because WR Michael Crabtree’s foot is hurt worse than expected, and the paper’s sources say he’ll miss four to six weeks of training camp and the preseason. He'll be placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list.

The foot originally caused him to sit out a few offseason workouts with his team. From that story, the injury didn’t seem like a big deal.
Apparently, the cause of his injury is because the cleats he wore Monday were too new and he hadn’t broken them in yet, a problem compounded by the Fieldturf at San Jose State.

“Everybody's good. Crabtree's all right," WR Josh Morgan told the San Jose Mercury News. "His feelings aren't hurt. Nothing wrong with him. Just his feet were too sore to come out here. That's all it is."

In retrospect, the old “hey, it’s just his new shoes” excuse is pretty flimsy.

Either way, this continues a pretty awful offseason for Crabtree (you'll remember that he dissed QB Alex Smith at one point) -- who, so far, has had a pretty unimpressive career as a first-round pick. Perhaps one reason for that is because Crabtree is never around in the preseason.

In his rookie season, he sat out 71 days during a contract dispute, and last season, he missed all four preseason games after injuring his neck during practice.

Now, without Crabtree or Ochocinco, Morgan becomes Smith’s No. 1 target for the time being.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:50 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:09 am

Alex Smith's return to 49ers 'set in stone'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL is pretty full of uncertainty these days. Unless you're Alex Smith, erstwhile starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Because if you're Smith, now that the lockout's over, everything else is pretty much cream cheese. Or "set in stone," if you're not a big fan of Bobby Finstock motivational quotes.

"I'm not going to wait for anything," Smith said about signing with the 49ers, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. "I'm excited for this to start ... waiting for that opportunity.

"I'm sure it'll be pretty quick. I'm sure it'll move fast. It's pretty well set in stone, I think."

Smith declined to discuss whether or not any (hypothetical) contract with the 49ers would have a (hypothetical) option for a second year -- surely both sides would prefer that.

Smith would get a little more safety and if Jim Harbaugh can resurrect his career that quickly, the team won't get torched by having to give him a huge contract.

Worst case? It doesn't work out for either party and we're all left wondering "Who's the quarterback?" by midseason anyway.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 9:31 am

Aaron Rodgers not worried about missed practices

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The defending Super Bowl champs aren't holding informal workouts during the lockout. And by all accounts, they seem content with that strategy heading into the 2011 season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy first addressed the issue publicly two weeks ago.

“I’m more interested in them being together as a group for Greg Jennings’ event or Donald Driver’s event," McCarthy told ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde. "I think that’s as important as them going onto the field and trying to manufacture a practice. I think anytime you have a group of people, especially professionals, there’s other factors involved that obviously have to deal with risk. Part of our business in the training environment is risk assessment."

On Thursday, it was quarterback Aaron Rodgers' turn. Speaking on a conference call to promote the American Celebrity Championship golf tournament (because what better time to discuss non-football activities than with fairways and beer carts as the backdrop), the Rodgers sounded unconcerned by the lack of player-organized workouts.

“We did have a great gathering in Green Bay a few Thursdays ago,” Rodgers said of the Super Bowl ring ceremony. “Other than that, we haven’t had anything official. And the reasoning is that guys’ schedules and the risk-reward, which I think (coach) Mike McCarthy hit on. … Mike has always been a big supporter of the work we do individually. I’ll just refer to what Mike said as far as some of that stuff goes and just leave it at that.”

We mentioned it last month, but it's hard to argue with how the Packers choose to prepare since, you know, they're five month removed from a championship. And it's not as if their Super Bowl run was a fluke; Green Bay, for all those years with Brett Favre and now with Rodgers, are a perennial playoff team.

So while these get-togethers might be "better than nothing" (Eli Manning's words last month), they don't replicate the intensity of minicamp or training camp sessions, and come with the associated injury risks. McCarthy's right: Part of training is risk assessment.

Take, for example, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree who, according to teammate Vernon Davis, injured his foot during an informal team training session June 9.

This helps explain why, if the lockout ends in the coming weeks, McCarthy probably won't hold pre-training camp workouts.

"The league might allow some workout/practice days at team facilities before training camps open, but McCarthy won’t put his players through any minicamp or organized team activity-type practices, the Press-Gazette's Rob Demovsky wrote Thursday.

"Instead, he plans to use those allotted pre-training camp days to get players in the weight room and in the classroom to make sure they’re ready to go when training opens, which would be July 30 if a new CBA is done in time."

Meanwhile, progress toward a new CBA continues in fits and starts.

“I think everybody has a sense that [the lockout is] going to end soon,” Rodgers said. “It’s just a matter of how soon is soon.”

For the time being, Rodgers is more focused on golf. Now watch this drive.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 4:52 pm

Hot Routes 6.29.11: Carson's Cincy home: sold

Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • First the Bills get new uniforms and now Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly says that the team was wise to pass on a QB early in the April draft. Turns out, Kelly thinks incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick is more than capable.
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Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:07 pm

Harbaugh mum on Smith, calls Crabtree 'good guy'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been outspoken about his plans for quarterback Alex Smith, even though Smith will be a free agent once the lockout is resolved, and the NFL issued a memo last month to the team reminding them not to comment on players not on the roster.

Either Harbaugh just got around to reading said memo or he didn't give it much credence until now. Either way, he's toned down the Alex Smith cheerleading. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Harbaugh avoided mentioning Smith by name during a Wednesday interview on "The Murph & Mac Show" on KNBR-680.

"On Sunday, Harbaugh, despite the memo, had spoken freely about Smith during an on-air interview with Padres announcer Dick Enberg during a Padres-Nationals game in San Diego," the Press Democrat's Eric Branch wrote Wednesday. "Harbaugh said Smith's decision to return to San Francisco, where he's been the subject of withering criticism, displayed 'a rare kind of character. It probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range. So we can win with that.' On KNBR, however, Harbaugh was asked two Smith-related questions and, in response, spoke in general terms."

Harbaugh also spoke about wide receiver Michael Crabtree who, unlike Smith, is currently under contract with the 49ers:

"I've been around him a little bit," the coach said. "And Crab to me is a good guy and a good football player. Just some of the things lately kind of goes back to the analogy I gave a little bit ago, when you're kids and working it out and sometimes you get into some tussles and shirts get ripped and noses get bloodied, but that's part of figuring it out.

"I know he's a good guy. I know the other guys on our team are good guys. That's another interesting part of watching these guys figure it out. I know personally, when it comes to me, getting into quite few scrapes growing up. Most people I know and are friends with had some run-ins at some point in time. And, usually, you're better friends because of it. But, no, he's got the license and the ability. And from my experience begin around him, I think he's a guy who's about us and about the team being successful."

And we can't hold it against Crabtree that he didn't know that Alex is supposedly the 49ers starting quarterback in 2011. Last season, two Smiths -- Alex and Troy -- shared the starting duties, and both had run-ins with then-coach Mike Singletary. All that matters is that Crabtree isn't picky.

"Whoever the quarterback is, I'm 100 percent down with it and I'm ready to go," he said last week. "That's it."

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:19 pm

So, about Alex Smith starting for the 49ers...

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Maybe 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree misunderstood the question last week when he was asked if "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry." His response -- "Who's the quarterback?" -- was the latest slight in a career full of them for former first-overall pick Alex Smith.

Smith's six years in the NFL can kindly be described as underwhelming, a mix of bad luck and bad teams (and don't forget small hands). But new coach Jim Harbaugh stated in late April, shortly after the team drafted Colin Kaepernick, that Smith (who will be a free agent once the lockout ends), pretty much has the starting job sewn up.

"Well, Alex is going to definitely have the head start," Harbaugh said at the time. "He has played in the National Football League. He's won games in the National Football League. So if I'm a betting man, I'm betting on Alex Smith."

Technically, yes, Smith has "won games in the National Football League." So have Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell, two other QBs drafted at the top of the first round who will only get into Canton by purchasing a ticket. So realistically, what can Harbaugh expect from a guy who has played in 54 games in six seasons, and completed just 57 percent of his passes?

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando breaks out his TI-35 in search of the answer. Specifically, going back to 1970, Sando looked at seasons two through six for every quarterback who had thrown between 40 and 55 touchdown passes, had no more than 45 interceptions, and had started at least 40 games during this period. (Sando excluded rookie seasons because Smith was so dreadful his first year in the league that it threw the analysis out of whack.)

The quarterbacks most similar to Smith through six seasons, according to Sando (scroll to the bottom for the statistical comparisons): Jim McMahon, Greg Landry and -- wait for it -- Jim Harbaugh.

No wonder Harbaugh wants to give Smith the job; Jim literally seems himself in Alex. (Another contributing factor: Kaepernick hasn't taken part in one organized practice with the 49ers.) 

Actually, Harbaugh doesn't have much choice. And while fans aren't typically a forgiving bunch, particularly after watching a player make the same mistakes for the better part of six seasons, Smith still has a chance to be a decent NFL starter. We mentioned Leaf and Russell above, but that was in response to "hey, this guy's won NFL games!", not a strict comparison of skills. Smith has shown glimpses of abilities, albeit brief. Either injuries or distractions have intervened, sidetracking any progress.

Whatever, unless Smith plays like Derek Anderson did with the Browns in 2007 (it's hard to believe now, but Anderson was a Pro Bowler that year), or Tommy Maddox did with the Steelers in 2002, he's probably nothing more than a one-season bridge to Kaepernick. There are worse fates than trying to salvage an NFL career. Smith, for instance, could be caught up in the sordid world of purple drank.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 10:48 am

Players taking big risks by practicing

M. Crabtree had to sit out San Francisco's practice with sore feet (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One of the biggest concerns – if not THE biggest concern – of players practicing with each other on their own during the lockout is the injury factor. Players aren’t covered by their regular team insurance during these sessions, so if somebody gets hurt, they’re on their own. There are no team trainers or  team doctors at the practices -- nobody.

It certainly has to be worrisome for the players who are taking an enormous risk without pay, and though there were no injuries among the 40 or so Giants players who participated in a workout Tuesday, players and agents haven’t forgotten what could happen if something goes wrong.

"It is dangerous," said Rich (Big Daddy) Salgado, the president of Coastal Advisors, an insurance company for players (via the New York Daily News). "It's dangerous especially if a guy is a free agent and doesn't have a contract. Each player is only covered for a certain amount of money and (to get a payout an injury) has to be catastrophic. It has to be career-ending. It's not just for loss of time. It's not for if you're out for six weeks.

"And it can't make up for everything they'd lose. It can't make up for those numbers."

Though none of the Giants were officially talking to the media, one of the players told the Daily News (off the record) that they had made sure that the players were covered in some way by insurance -- for example,  through COBRA, a family member’s plan or a short-term policy.

And while the Giants have escaped injury so far, the same can’t be said for 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, who had to sit out the second practice for San Francisco’s players Tuesday because of sore feet (this, a day after he made some controversial statements about 49ers QB Alex Smith).

Apparently, the cause of his injury is because the cleats he wore Monday were too new and he hadn’t broken them in yet, a problem compounded by the Fieldturf at San Jose State.

“Everybody's good. Crabtree's all right," WR Josh Morgan told the San Jose Mercury News. "His feelings aren't hurt. Nothing wrong with him. Just his feet were too sore to come out here. That's all it is."

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