The 49ers apparent, although unannounced, decision to go with Troy Smith this Sunday is something that will receive plenty of ink. However, I thought we'd look at a different subject for this post, namely wide receiver Josh Morgan. I still remember his 2008 training camp and preseason when he appeared ready to take the reigns and becoming the top 49ers wide receiver.
Morgan saw things come to a quick halt when he suffered a staph infection midway through the 2008 preseason and missed a chunk of time trying to recover from the injury. He had a lot of weight to regain and that seemed to impact him initially. Then he suffered a second injury (a groin or hamstring issue I think) and missed five weeks before closing the season over the final two weeks wtih five catches, 105 yards and a touchdown.
Since then he's been inconsistent as he shows flashes of brilliance on occasion, while following that up with struggling performances. The 49ers have stuck with him as the number two receiver throughout this as they waited for him to bust out. He hasn't broken out as hoped, but he's put together a couple strong performances lately. Last week he had a career high 106 receiving yards on 7 catches. The week before he had 3 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.
The last two weeks have been the best combined pair of weeks in his brief career. I mention all this because Football Outsiders currently ranks the Rams 29th against opposing #2 wide receivers. They rank 3rd against #1 receivers, 19th against other receivers, 23rd against tight ends and 29th against running backs.
Can/will the 49ers take advantage of this situation? If Troy Smith will in fact be starting on Sunday he certainly enjoys the deep ball rather than the dump-off. Will the QB change lead to a reversion by Morgan back to his inconsistent ways, or will Morgan have a third straight strong performance? I'd make a definitive statement one way or the other but I really don't know what to expect. If I were a betting man (as I often am) I'd bet for a reversion by Morgan to less than stellar numbers. But maybe he's on the verge of "figuring it out." We could only be so lucky.