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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
DBs taking shots? Just 'drop six on them'

By Mike Sando

Jerry Rice's thoughts on Michael Crabtree, Peyton Manning and player safety are worth a read over at Cam Inman's blog.

My favorite quote from Rice concerned player safety. Asked about defensive backs taking shots at him, the NFL's all-time touchdown king offered a simple (for him) solution.

"The best way to shut them up was to drop six on them," he said.

Rice also said he thinks Crabtree would benefit from dropping weight. This comment reflects Rice's legendary work ethic and his feeling that Crabtree would have to make an extra commitment to become more explosive. Rice said Crabtree appears to have a hard time getting separation from defensive backs consistently.

"I don’t really know the guy so I can’t really comment on his work ethic," Rice said. "They feel there's potential there, but it'll be up to him to say, 'I want to be the best receiver I have to be and I’m going to have to sacrifice some things.' "

The 2012 season will be pivotal for Crabtree on that front. For the first time in his NFL career, a holdout or lockout or rehabilitation shouldn't interfere with his ability to become a full participant in minicamps and training camp. Will he seize the moment? Might his lingering foot issues recur? Does he have the right offense and quarterback to maximize his production?

Rice's thoughts on Manning were somewhat predictable. Rice, having played with Joe Montana and Steve Young, would like to see the 49ers go after one of the all-time great quarterbacks. But he also suggested Alex Smith might fare better with additional weapons.