When the news first broke that Michael Crabtree had sustained a tear to his achilles tendon a general panic set in. I had just woken up for a days work here in Australia and glanced at the site on my way out the door. BAM! A kick to the junk forcing me to spit cereal all over my laptop. Crabtree possibly done for the year. So many questions arise. So much confusion. Are we still the favorites? Are we doomed? Is this some sort of a post-apocolyptical nightmare world that I just woke up in where zombies rule the Earth and Pete Carroll is the emperor? Am I dreaming?
While this obviously hurts, it's not the end of the world. These things happen and we have to move on. We were among the favorites to win it all last year with Crabtree as an 800 yard, 4 TD receiver (his 2011 stats) and we can expect Anquan Boldin to at least match that. The depth is better this year, but there are so many question marks. Most of those questions surround the wide receiver position. We've got tons of weapons in the passing game outside of WR, two of the most creative minds in football running the offense and more than three months to prepare. They're going to make it work.
The one thing that may be hard to replace is Crabtree's clutchness. He seemed to catch 90% of our third down plays and all the big conversions. He was just there whenever we needed him most. Someone will need to fill that void. Hopefully Boldin is the 3rd down go-to guy while others like Vernon Davis, LaMichael James and Vance McDonald make up for the yardage and touchdowns. Let's not forget that we have a No. 2 tight end who can catch the ball. What a weapon!
Crabtree Injury - That Hurts!
Fooch took a quick look at what the injury means to the team and who will benefit from it (if that's the right word). Ricardo Lockette, a guy who might have woken up on the wrong side of the bubble come late August, now has a very good chance of making the team, especially if Mario Manningham's recovery doesn't speed up. | Michael Crabtree injury: Anquan Boldin, A.J. Jenkins and more for the 49ers (Fooch)
Tre tempers the panic with a bit of optimism. I appreciate the optimism and all...but ARGH!!!!!!! There really is nothing but question marks behind Anquan Boldin. Tre cites Colin Kaepernick's emergence when his name was called. We really had no idea he was instantly going to be a high-level quarterback. He showed us, all right. | Why the 49ers' season isn't doomed by reported Crabtree injury (Tre9er)
Steph discusses the mental aspect of recovering from such an injury. She discounts Terrell Suggs' record recovery time, noting that there's really no way to compare two injuries, even if it's to the same body part. Confidence, something Crabs has never lacked, will serve him well. | Michael Crabtree injury: The real Achilles is the mental injury (SoCaliSteph)
Tre proposes that Kyle Williams is the man to step up. I have to be honest, I'm doubtful. Recovering from injury and having never put forth any real production, it's hard to predict that kind of move from him. Someone has to, and someone will get a lot of balls thrown their way. I hope someone can handle it. | While the world sleeps, I believe Kyle Williams can have big role in 2013 (Tre9er)
I'm going to include this old post of mine because I'm the boss. It's pretty self explanatory. It details the percentages of certain key statistics in the passing game that Michael Crabtree accounted for in 2012. Only Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green accounted for a larger portion of their teams' passing attack. | Michael Crabtree: A statistical analysis of his importance to the 49ers passing game (Malone)
Joe Looney slid in the 2012 draft after injury kept him from participating in a lot of the combine activity and questions about the lingering effects were, well, still lingering. He worked at both guard and center but never sniffed the field last season. Is he our next guard in the rotation? Has Adam Snyder's signing bumped him down the depth chart? | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Joe Looney (Fooch)
Next in the series is Aldon Smith. What a stretch he had during the middle of the season when he was an absolute sack monster. He ended the year with 6 straight sackless games, which caused some concern, but it was later revealed that he played with a torn labrum throughout the later parts of the season. There's a video of his 2012 highlights embedded that will make you happy, except that it's accompanied by the worst song I've ever heard in my life. God, I hope none of their friends or family are Niners Nation readers...both because I don't want to offend and because I don't want them around. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Aldon Smith (Fooch)
Before Marcus Lattimore was drafted and anointed our running back of the future there was a guy named Jewel Hampton. He also had injury concerncs coming out of college and is in no way related to the 90's folk-pop singer. He is related to a bowling ball, however. He's probably battling for Anthony Dixon's roster spot. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Jewel Hampton (Tre9er)
Right before the Michael Crabtree news, we took a look at Anquan Boldin and what is expected of him this season. All looks a bit silly now, talking about how he'll mesh with Crabtree and the other guys. Now he's needed to be the number one receiver, the go-to guy and the experienced mentor to all the youngsters. Maybe we should ask Fooch to re-write this one. I'm pretty sure he's not busy. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Anquan Boldin (Fooch)
Hey, luckily we did another wide receiver in the 90-in-90 series. Did Fooch plan this? Kyle Williams, who's basically been on the bubble since his time began in San Francisco, has a big opportunity to step up. He's coming off an injury of his own. Last year, he was an average No. 4 receiver. Does anyone expect him to blow us away, like Tre does? | 90-in-90 series: Kyle Williams (Fooch)
James takes a look at which 49ers who may experience a regression in level of play. Frank Gore and Jonathan Goodwin are there due to age. What about a younger guy? Aldon Smith, for example? When you're the best in the world at something, there's only one way you can go. Spoiler alert: James forgot Crabtree. | Which 49ers could be due for a regression in 2013-14? (Brady)
Now James takes a look at players who could experience a progression in level of play. There are a lot of guys on our roster who fit that bill...I'm looking at you A.J. Jenkins. He singles out Chris Culliver as one of the guys who's due to take a big leap forward. Hopefully it's not in the foot in the mouth department. He only has two feet and both are already in there. | Turning the corner: Which 49ers players are set to make the leap? (Brady)
Another player that James thinks will have a knock-your-socks-off kind of year is Kendall Hunter, so much so that he gave his leap forward its own post. His 5.2 yards per carry last year behind our amazing offensive line was the best in the NFC West. So long as he's fully recovered from his own achilles injury, he should be ready for big things. | Bold prediction: Kendall Hunter will have a breakout year (Brady)
In our weekly #Channel49 Mailbag post, Trevor Woods and I discuss things like offesnive line depth, clock management and Ricardo Lockette's chances of making the team. I had foolishly proposed that Quinton Patton's drafting would probably bump him from the roster, failing to note the future injury to Crabtree. That's why I always say, I'm no expert. | Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag, Vol. 10: Eric Mangini, toughest opponents, and more (Woods & Malone)
I'm not saying that James was fishing for comments here, but c'mon. What else would you call a post asking 49ers fans to rank the Seahawks. I'm teasing, of course. But there is plenty of good debate to be found in the comments section. My wife reads the comments on everything...YouTube, online news, etc... and gets absolutely sucked in for ages. Well, this one's for Lucy. | Where do San Francisco 49ers fans rank the Seattle Seahawks? (Brady)
Steph has been doing great work covering the injuries of our draft picks before they were our draft picks. She has already tackled the big ones, like Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine in individual posts. This one deals with injury histories for the rest of our early and mid-round picks. Oh, and thanks for the monster title! Sheesh! | 49ers draft picks 2013: Pre-NFL injury looks at Vance McDonald, Corey Lemonier, Quinton Patton and Quinton Dial (SoCaliSteph)
Here's the announcement that Santa Clara was named as the host city for Super Bowl L. This would have been the biggest news story of the month in 49ersland, if it weren't for Crabtree and his thunder-stealing ways. Now look. It's relegated to back page news. | Super Bowl 50 results: San Francisco Bay Area named host site for historic L (Fooch)
Nick took a closer look at Eric Reid. He's going to have a lot asked of him this season. Losing track of passes and receivers in the deep passing game was such a glaring weakness on our secondary's part that it has to be fixed and opponents will be looking long and hard at exploiting it. No pressure, Eric. | A closer look at Eric Reid (Chiamardas)
After last week's lack of FanPosting, it looks like everyone turned it up to 11 this week. There were tons of entries into this competition that people don't even know they're in. The winner is Jerryriceisthebest for their informative explanation of why the 49ers are better than the Seahawks. Facts are fun! | As Requested By King Try and Catch Vernon Brohandas Davis (Jerryriceisthebest)
Second place, while only a pair of paragraphs is a number about taking it easy. Chilling. Relaxing. Not stressing. Don't worrying be happying. | Am I the only one not stressing the Crabtree injury? (nickbradley)
Finally, Biff Strongman, which happens to be my real name (Aaron Malone is my pen name...I wanted to sound more smaarter) has chimed in on the Colin Kaepernick vs Robert Griffin III debate. I didn't even know there was one brewing, what with him having destroyed his knee on a negligently ruined turf in Washington, thus giving the Seahawks a rare road win, but apparently there is. | Kaep vs RG3
Being a Sheep
If you're new here, you can register for a free account to participate in the discussion and create your own fanposts here at Niners Nation and across our entire network of 300+ sports blogs.