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Anquan Boldin Prepared to Step Up in Place of Michael Crabtree for San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers came within a hair of winning the Super Bowl last season, and they’ve stocked up their roster even more this year, adding wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the Ravens and defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha on a cheap deal from the Eagles. However, there was a bit of doom-and-gloom out of 49ers camp after emerging wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles in OTAs.

“Good news is he woke up from the surgery and the first thing, asked the doctor how it went,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “(The doctor) talked about the success of the surgery and he didn’t anticipate he’d be out for the year. His comment to that was, ‘Got no choice but to be back.’ Every day now is a healing day, and that starts today.”

“It’s a setback, but Michael’s young, he’s strong. Everything will be a positive approach to healing and we’ll anticipate great things,” Harbaugh continued. “Another thing right now is if you look at the young receivers on our team that will emerge because they have to emerge. I’m excited to watch them compete for that spot.”

The concerns about Crabtree’s injury are for a good reason. After Colin Kaepernick took over starting quarterback duties last season from injured incumbent Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree’s numbers skyrocketed as he became one of Kaepernick’s favorite targets. Crabtree was targeted 100 times in Kaepernick’s 11 games under center and had five 100-yard games compared to just one with Alex Smith. However, veteran receiver Anquan Boldin is ready to step in for Crabtree, and while he won’t bring the same kind of downfield explosiveness as the much younger player, he can fill the void at least in receptions and first downs.

“I’ve been through injuries. I know how it is,” Boldin said. “I fractured my face, tore my ACL. It can be a pretty lonely time. At times you think people forget about you. You feel unwanted at times because you’re not around guys and a lot of people don’t call anymore. He’s a guy I definitely want to reach out to, and he’s definitely going to help us down the road. I pray he gets healthy quick but that he stays strong mentally.”

“We have to make plays. The passing game goes through us. If we don’t make plays outside, we won’t be successful as an offense,” Boldin said. “It’s definitely on us to get better as a receiver corps entirely.”

The 49ers can also compensate for Crabtree’s loss with a stable of young receivers, including Kyle Williams and A.J. Jenkins, the team’s first round pick last season who did not play one snap.

“It’s a credit to the young guys we have, they’re not afraid to come ask questions, ‘How do I do this? How do I run this route? Against this coverage, what do we do?'” Williams said. “For me, I’m happy to do that stuff because I want to see these guys progress and move along and become better players. We’ve got it. We’ve got a bunch of them. Don’t sleep on some of the young guys we have.”

All in all, the 49ers will be hurt by the loss of Crabtree, but they should (and will) still contend for the division crown.

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