Since the abrupt end of the 49ers season, I have read responses and follow-ups to the NFC Championship game regarding the 49ers. A lot of the news has been focused on the lack of anything resembling a wide receiving threat in the Bay Area. The 49ers just don't have a clear cut true number one. The receivers on the squad don't make defenses nervous and they don't really have game-breaking ability.
As the season went on, the 49ers started to really suffer a constant flux of injuries. The notables that went down were Braylon Edwards, Joshua Morgan, Ted Ginn Jr. and Delanie Walker. So maybe we are being too harsh on Michael Crabtree, insisting he was supposed to carry the load for everyone else. Though, he probably should have had more gaudy numbers since he was the only decent receiver in the line-up.
After Morgan went down for the season and Edwards was still not 100%, the 49ers' hand should have been forced to pick someone up. Instead, they brought in Brett Swain and promoted Joe Hastings. That might've worked in Green Bay or New Orleans, but things are a bit different in San Francisco - we rely on balance.
And this was later in the season where the playoffs were a sure thing, and San Francisco knew they were weak at the position. I'd like to believe bringing in a veteran wide out might have changed things a bit, although the pick'ns were slim. Some of the names the 49ers had a shot to sign were T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Terrell Owens, Chris Chambers and Brandon Lloyd.
The 49ers didn't go the route of the veteran free agent though, and it might have cost them. This isn't a statement about how T.O. or one of these guys would have been our savior, but having seen that catastrophic performance by the 49ers' active receivers against New York; I don't think it could've been much worse.
The two guys I do think would have made a difference, if only a little, would have been T.O. and Brandon Lloyd; the two former 49er wide outs. After Lloyd arrived in St. Louis, there were still big numbers coming from him on a porous Rams team. And as for Owens, I think he would have shut up and played ball. He's an old man now, not the eager young physical phenomenon he once was - the market is slim for him, as it now appears his days as a pro are up.
But what if the 49ers snagged one of these guys? They at least get spot-lit and game-planned against. Their presence alone would have diverted some of the attention away from other players; allowing them room to make a play. Maybe Crabtree would have been more effective. Maybe Gore could have gotten a nice crack block from Owens, who's been yearning for physical contact.
I guess we'll never know, but it's something to think about.
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