Golden Nuggets: Will Michael Crabtree Play? Slowing Down Tavon Austin & More

Dilip Vishwanat

Thursday, November 28, 2013 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of 49ers links from around the web.

After the all the excitement of the impending Michael Crabtree return, it's being left up in the air as to whether or not he will return for this Sunday's game against the Rams. We have to assume / hope that this is a typical Harbaughsian ruse. He's going to be a game time decision again this weekend. I'm thinking that he plays. I want him to get some reps in before we go up against the newly-depleted Seahawks secondary the following week.

For the Rams, Tavon Austin has really stepped up of late. He's got 4 plays in the last 2 weeks of 57 or more yards going for touchdowns (I think that's what it was….no time to fact check…correct me in the comments). I think that's what the Rams had in mind when they drafted him. I think the picture above explains what the 49ers had in mind. I love that pic. While we could have definitely used another playmaker this year, I couldn't be happier with Eric Reid. I mean, how many big plays has our defense given up all year? I'm having a hard time thinking of them…a little help.

Links!!!

Crabtree

And this is where the mind games come into play. Will Crabtree play or won't he? The Rams have no idea what to expect and who to prepare for so they have to prepare for it all! Mwah ha hah!!! | Crabtree conundrum: Rams must prepare for WR whether he plays or not (Barrows)

Fisher: Rams expect to see Crabtree at full speed (Maiocco)

49ers vs Rams

Nice try, Tavon. You can't just switch teams in the middle of the season. I know the Rams were a dark horse pick for a lot of pundits….but, nah! | Rams' Austin thought 49ers might draft him (Maiocco)

Good news, bad news: Crabtree practices in full, Manningham misses practice (Barrows)

Stopping Tavon Austin key for 49ers (ESPN)

Must happen/Can't happen against Rams (ESPN)

Interviews and Audio

Ruthless has done the job of giving you the highlights of the various interviews from yesterday. Joe Staley, Colin Kaepernick and Coach all had their session with the media. | Harbaugh and Kaepernick (kinda) talk Crabtree, Staley talks screen passes (BASG)

Video and transcripts of Harbaugh's chat. | Coach's Notebook: Nov. 27 (49ers.com)

Kaepernick shares thoughts on Crabtree's return, being thankful (Maiocco)

Whitner transcript: Safety sounds off on illegal hits, Brees and loss to Saints (Branch)

Tavon Austin: 'Approach It a Different Way' (49ers.com)

Fisher: 'There's Been Significant Improvement' (49ers.com)

Defenders Fight Back

Props to MattSFfrd for putting the gif of Aldon Smith powering up to KO RGIII in the nuts in yesterday's Nuggets. Check it out here. That's what defenders are going to have to do from here on out to keep hits legal. No more hits…only kicks, and not the Ndamukong Suh variety….BLAMMO! To the nuts. I kid. Donte Whitner sticks up for a teammate. | Donte Whitner defends Ahmad Brooks' hit on Drew Brees (Gin)

I agree with Ahmad Brooks and Whitner here, but the big problem is that the league deemed it an illegal hit worthy of a massive fine. Since it was so controversial, with most media thinking the hit perfectly legal, the NFL will probably use it as a teaching tool going forward. That hit will define what is illegal now. A ref in the future won't look at that same hit again and think, "looked clean to me," even with the help of replay. | Brooks, Whitner want expanded use of replay after appealing their controversial hits (Inman)

Donte Whitner: "Drew Brees is a little guy and can't really take a hit" (BASG)

Aldon Smith Debuts New Sack Dance (49ers.com)

Leftover Turkey: SF vs WAS

If you still want more from the 49ers-Washington game, Matt Barrows has you covered. | Film review: Stars aligning for 49ers? Kap's clean jersey; Dawson on a roll (Barrows)

I find this series a bit over-the-top for my liking, though you may enjoy it. One thing I do like is their drive chart. It shows each drive, but it has length in time built into the chart. You can see that Washington had trouble moving the ball aside from the two long field goal drives. Classic bend but don't break defense. | Infographic: Monday Night Football Milestone (49ers.com)

This is great….Justin Smith is the first 49er to ever get two sacks on a Wednesday! | Thanksgiving bonus: Justin Smith credited with two sacks vs. Redskins (Barrows)

Other News

It was good to see Kaepernick get the ball downfield some more. It's only going to open up with the return of Crabtree. The Saints basically dared the 49ers to throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field and they failed. It was necessary for the 49ers to make that happen, even if it was against one of the worst passing defenses around. | 49ers Hope to Open Downfield Passing Game (NBC)

I brought it up yesterday. I brought it up earlier in the season. I brought it up during the offseason. I want to see LaMichael James get more touches. He was a second-round pick and we don't really know what we've got in him. So let him return kicks and punts. It's an easy decision, especially when Kyle Williams does absolutely nothing. | James gives 49ers big-play threat on returns (Maiocco)

Joe Staley noted that the favorites going into the tournament don't always win the Super Bowl. We've experienced that pain first hand. Eric Branch gives a long list of examples of teams excelling from lower seeds. Only the Saints have won a Super Bowl from the No. 1 seed in the last 9 seasons. | Recent Super Bowl history encouraging for Staley, 49ers (Branch)

Combined winning percentage of the Arizona Cardinals remaining opponents: .600. Combined winning percentage of the 49ers remaining opponents: .491. That should help us out down the stretch. | 49ers schedule works to their advantage (Maiocco)

So we can still say McBLT. | Bethel-Thompson added to practice squad (ESPN)

This isn't a transcript, but it's not an article of his… I don't know…can you read it then? | Fran Tarketon says Colin Kaepernick looks "confused" and "mechanical" (Cohn - not an article)

Colin Kaepernick Leads, 49ers Follow (49ers.com)

Notebook: Staley is ‘phenomenal;' Crabtree practices fully; Justin Smith credited for two sacks (Inman)

Phil Dawson giving 49ers what they need (ESPN)

Niner Talk Bonus: Defensive Back Swagger (49ers.com)

BASGcast (Episode 69): Pre-Turkey Day 49ers talk with Ruthless Sports Guy (BASG)

NFL Nation Buzz: San Francisco 49ers (ESPN)

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