Approximately 15 members of the San Francisco 49ers have been working out in the South Bay for the last few weeks, exercising and lifting together, and also starting to work on some of the pass routes in Jim Harbaugh's new playbook. One noticeable absence (of many) was wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The receiver has been primarily in Texas working out away from the team. Naturally this has led to some questions by the fans as to why he was not working with Alex Smith, who most assume will be the starting quarterback to start the 2011 season.
Well, worry no more. Michael Crabtree has returned to the Bay Area to join his 49ers teammates for workouts. Thanks to D-9er for posting this as a FanShot, but I thought it was a big enough topic that it was worth a front page post. Crabtree has never played a preseason game for the 49ers and there has been some concern that it is one of the reasons for a possible lack of chemistry with QB Alex Smith. There might be plenty of reasons, but missing preparation time can be a big factor.
These player-led workouts are not a sufficient replacement for OTAs and minicamps, but any chance to work on building chemistry and some semblance of timing is a good thing. At the very least, Crabtree and Smith will be able to work on developing some sense of timing in running Jim Harbaugh's playbook. It remains to be seen if that will be enough to create a strong working relationship between Michael Crabtree and Alex Smith, but it's got to be a step in the right direction.