Damn. Crabs must really hate training camp. For the 4th time in his 5 year career, Michael Crabtree will miss training camp. This one is serious though. He tore his Achilles. For a guy who has had myriad foot issues, this can’t be a good development. The team is all ‘no big deal, he’ll be back in late November for the playoffs’ but I guess we’ll wait and see on that front. Will Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams still rehabbing their own injuries, the WR corps, which the Niners have been trying to upgrade since, oh, TO left in 2003, has been a mess of failed FA’s and draft choices.
2004 was the infamous Rashaun Woods draft. 1st round flameout who had 7 catches in his 7 game career. The other WRs were the mercurial Brandon Lloyd, Cedrick Wilson, and Arnaz Battle. That draft did net Soap, Smiley, Shawntae Spencer, and Andy Lee, so Terry Donohue’s swan song was his best draft. Eric Johnson, TE, turned out to be the best pass catcher back then. 2005 saw more of the same. They drafted Rasheed Marshall and Maxwell Marcus. The WRs were Lloyd and a tired Johnnie Morton and Otis Amey? Who? With the coming of Alex Smith came the need to bolster the WR corps. The Niners drafted 3. WR (!) Delanie Walker, Brandon Williams, and Michael Robinson. Noteworthy in that Walker became a lousy-handed TE, and Robinson became a ST pt FB. Antonio (Speed Racer) Bryant was the first big FA flop. Although his 40/733/3 TDs would be fairly decent nowadays. Battle was still hanging on, and Bryan Gilmore & Taylor Jacobs were the backups.
More of the same in 2007. They drafted local kid Jason Hill, gone was AB, replaced by Darrell Jackson. They picked up Ashley Leelee, but his injury-filled stint was noteworthy for nothing. 2008 saw the Niners draft Josh Morgan and the signing of Isaac (Moses) Bruce turned out to be one of the Niners better WR moves in a while. 2009? Well, besides the Niners getting Crabs, they had Isaac for one last year, and the solid Morgan. Still and all, all 5 WRs totaled up to about 1200 yards in the popgun offense. 2010 saw late round poick KW actually make the team. THe crew was once again Crabs and Morgan with Hill and a cast of nobodies as the backups.
2011? The only guy that DIDN’T make the team from that excellent draft was Ronald Johnson, WR from USC. Braylon Edwards had an excellent preseason followed by an injury-plagued season of little to nothing. Swett Brain, Joe Hastings, and Ted Ginn offered little to no back-up help. 2012 was a year filled with promise. Michael Crabtree was able to participate in training camp. Randy Moss came back from a year’s hiatus to be a mentor to the young WRs, including the speedy 1st round pick, AJ Jenkins. Mario Manningham was signed from the NYGiants to bolster the promising bunch that saw a resurgent KW on the roster.
Well, we all know how that turned out. Mossy declared himself the best WR of all time, and proceeded to tank the Super Bowl, Manningham and KW went down with season-ending injuries, Ginn did his usual not-much, and again, by the end of the season, the WR corps was a mess of wounded bodies and underwhelming performances. Only Crabs had the breakout season everyone so desperately wanted to see. Sadly, that came to a screeching halt last Wednesday.
So, going forward? Their 3 top guys are in various forms of hurt. KW and Mario may make the field by mid September. Crabs would be lucky to see the field this season, and the doghouse sitter, AJ Jenkins has pretty much been given the keys to a lot of playing time. Or the recycle bin of he doesn’t show a lot more than the nothing he brought last year. THe good news is the Niners Acquired Anquan Bouldin, a guy who can replace Crabs numbers fairly easily, Ricardo Lockette, erstwhile Seattle PSer looks like a find. The draft brought the intriguing Quinton General Patton, a guy making noise like someone who wants to take the NFL world by storm, and hey, Joe Hastings is still on the team.