What Crabtree’s Injury Means to 49ers?
The San Francisco 49ers received a huge blow during OTA’s this past week after wide receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achillies. Consequently, he will likely be out for approximately six months, effectively ending any chance the team has of returning to the Super Bowl.
Crabtree underwent a successful surgery on Wednesday to repair the torn Achillies and will receive months of rehab, according to Mike Garafalo of USA Today. The 26-year-old Crabtree emerged as the team’s leading receiver’s last season after accruing his first 1,000-yard season.
Moreover, Crabtree tallied his two highest game totals for receptions this past year and three of his four highest averages per catch with Colin Kaepernick under center. Together, they notched 606 passing yards and five touchdowns.
So how does this affect the Niners offense?
Short answer: immensely.
Kaepernick no longer has his No. 1 receiver on the field, one who has the agility to find the open spaces between zone defenders and catch the ball in traffic. With him out, the 49ers are going to have to turn to their tight-end friendly, power-run offense that had its fair share of ups-and-downs when former quarterback Alex Smith was under center.
Fortunately, the Niners added depth last year at the running back position behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, selecting LaMichael James as their mobile and elusive threat in the backfield. It seems they have a solid running back core to slow the pace of the game down and play a grind-it-out style of football.
Still, the injury to Crabtree puts plenty of pressure on Kaepernick. He no longer has a legitimate downfield threat that takes away a second defender in the secondary. Consequently, that gives him one more defender to beat when he scrambles out of the pocket.
In short, we still think San Francisco will be a dominant team in 2013. But the loss of Crabtree puts a big damper on their Super Bowl hopes.