Michael Crabtree clearly unhappy with role in 49ers offense
After a 2012 season in which Michael Crabtree caught 85 balls for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns, many expected the former first-round pick to emerge as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Instead, a torn Achilles cost Crabtree most of last season. And this year, the 27-year-old doesn’t seem too pleased with his role in the San Francisco 49ers offense.
Crabtree hauled in a 51-yard reception at the end of his team’s win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday that helped set up the game-winning field goal. When asked about that play earlier this week, he expressed frustration.
“Third down. I’m a third-down receiver,” Crabtree said, via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. “I mean, I’m like the third option. So I come in and I do my job.”
When Crabtree was reminded that his big reception came on fourth down, his attitude remained the same.
“Fourth down. I guess when they need me, you know, I guess that’s when I play,” he said.
For whatever reason, Colin Kaepernick seems to trust 34-year-old Anquan Boldin more than Crabtree. Boldin has 51 catches on 77 targets this season. Crabtree has 40 catches on 68 targets, so the disparity isn’t huge. Crabtree also leads the Niners with seven drops.
While Crabtree is clearly frustrated, Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t believe the former Texas Tech star is unhappy with his role.
“I don’t think so,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Seems to be doing a fantastic job and getting the ball a lot.”
If Crabtree was happy with how much he was getting the ball, he wouldn’t have classified himself as a “third-down receiver.” Don’t be surprised if Kaepernick and the Niners make a more conscious effort to get him the ball in the coming weeks.