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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Visions of Crabtree in 49ers' passing game

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The 49ers' agreement with Michael Crabtree doesn't mean the first-round choice will suit up right away.
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Michael Crabtree is expected to report to the 49ers' training facility Wednesday.

The team will likely request and receive a roster exemption allowing Crabtree to practice with the team for a week or two before the 49ers would have to activate him.

Once Crabtree is available, the 49ers could figure out ways to get him on the field. Their three-receiver packages have been pretty weak to this point in the season. The team has used three wide receivers on 49 snaps this season. Those snaps have produced seven sacks, one touchdown and one interception. The team has run the ball only six times on these plays, averaging a half-yard per carry.

But it's clear a big-time receiver could help the 49ers immensely. I was re-watching the Cowboys-Broncos game late Monday night when the thought occurred to me while watching Brandon Marshall snatch a risky pass from Kyle Orton with the game on the line. Marshall made an excellent individual play on the ball to beat cornerback Terence Newman, another high draft choice. Marshall then made another excellent individual play after the catch, scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

The 49ers' offense could certainly use that type of play. Any offense could. With Crabtree on board, the potential might be there.