The San Francisco 49ers have a few reliable receiving options on the roster: wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis. OK, perhaps it's more accurate to say they have a couple reliable receiving options on the roster. But one player in particular holds some pretty good promise, at least as far as this season is concerned: Austin Collie.
Collie came in on Aug. 2 and with limited practice, entered the game against the Denver Broncos. Many were questioning whether or not he would be healthy enough to play and contribute, but he went out there and caught a couple passes, including a big fourth-down reception.
He didn't make any eye-popping plays and he isn't suddenly "the answer," but you can expect a whole lot of him going forward. I was hoping San Francisco wouldn't sign Collie back when it was first rumored -- but that was only because it would have signaled the fact that the 49ers receivers were under-performing in training camp.
Which they were.
Following the first preseason game, Jim Harbaugh said that he envisions a bigger workload for both Collie and Lavelle Hawkins prior to the second exhibition game. I'd expect Collie to get plenty of first-team snaps and truthfully, I think the 49ers are going to push for him to be one of the starting receivers.
They've caught on fast, but there's still work to do. Whether or not they become legitimate options is anybody's guess, but Collie has the confidence of the coaches and past ability in the NFL working for him. At this point, it's all about whether or not he can stay healthy and whether or not he's still "got it." I happen to think he does have it, and I'm excited to see what he can do.
Either way, expect to see an awful lot of Austin Collie in the coming weeks.