Much of the talk at 49ers camp is centered on the absence of rookie WR Michael Crabtree, who missed his third day of practices Monday while continuing to negotiate a contract. Coach Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye would rather talk about the receivers they have in camp — specifically second-year WR Josh Morgan, who Raye says has stood out in the first few practices.
“For a big-bodied guy, for a big receiver, he has excellent explosion for a guy his size,” Raye said of Morgan, who had 20 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. “He doesn’t look like he would have that kind of explosion, but he’s an explosive guy, a great leaper. His range, because of his arms, his circumference range is very good. He can get to some balls with extension that some guys can’t.”
Based on Raye’s comments, it appears the team has big plans for Morgan because on his versatility. Raye noted that Morgan can play all three wide receiver positions in the 49ers’ offense.
“In a three-wide set he could play all three positions, including the slot, or the F as we refer to it. He can play both X and Z, and so that makes him, in a game-day situation, a real plus, a real positive because he’s multiple enough that he can learn it, one, which is a plus, and he can play both receiver spots or inside at the F in a three-wide package. So, that’s a positive for him and us.”
Exactly where Crabtree falls into the mix, Raye said, will be determined when the rookie finally arrives at training camp.
“I think you all are probably a little more concerned about him not being here than we are. We basically — when he comes, we’ll welcome him and start and see where he is and go from there … I anticipate that when he gets here he will be behind the learning curve, obviously, because he had no spring and no OTA practices, or no offseason practices. But, I think when he gets here, we’ll put him in the mix and we’ll go forward with him.”
In the meantime, Raye said Crabtree’s absence has meant more opportunities for some of the other receivers.
“It’s a great opportunity for the people here to take advantage of the extra reps that they are getting in terms of the evaluation,” Raye said. “And they’re doing it with the pads on, which is another plus because in the spring it was shorts and T-shirts. Now it’s a competitive deal doing the same thing, so, obviously, the reps that they get are better for them.”