Two trains of thought surround the 49ers as they prepare for Sunday’s season opener against the Cardinals: Impose themselves physically and don’t waste a second thinking about the draft pick who has yet to sign. What’s his name?
“We don’t talk about it at all,” RB Frank Gore told me Wednesday when I asked him about rookie WR Michael Crabtree. “We’ve got to worry about what we got to do, and that’s worry about Arizona.”
That has been the company line, but to players, it’s different to some degree. Players want to see teammates get as much money as they can. However, at the same time, they don’t want those players to disrupt the program.
The fact that Crabtree isn’t around to pull a Brandon Marshall has put him out of sight, out of mind. Nobody in the organization wants to disparage Crabtree either. The 49ers drafted him 10th overall because they want him to be a part of the team and be a big-time player, so trashing him for not showing up wouldn’t be beneficial in any sense — especially if he ever decides to sign.
In terms of their season opener, Gore said the 49ers are incredibly dialed in for 2009. He mentioned how the team has gone back to the “’06 style” of calling offensive plays. That’s code for Gore is getting the ball.
In 2006, Gore carried the ball 312 times for 1,695 yards and caught 61 passes for 485 yards. All four of those statistics were career highs.
“The coaches are going over the small details of the running game,” Gore said. “They show us every defensive look, too, so it won’t make a difference what we see. We’ll be able to adjust to it.”
I’ve been saying for awhile that there’s something about the 49ers that makes me think they could surprise this season. The physical style they showed during the preseason was impressive, and after hearing some of the things that Gore shared with me, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be even more imposing when they face the defending NFC champions Sunday.
“We’re not going to talk about it,” Gore said. “Just turn on the film and you’ll see it.”