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The evolution of Michael Crabtree

Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree AP

Winning tends to change the storylines surrounding a team.

Michael Crabtree has been seen as an injury-plagued diva for a couple years in San Francisco.  Suddenly, he’s developing into a leader according to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

“He just keeps getting better and more comfortable,” Harbaugh said on Monday via CSNBayArea.com. “And his abilities are shining through. And he’s a consummate team type of guy, the way he has blocked. The evidence of whatever the team needs him to do, he’s willing to go do.”

Harbaugh isn’t just puffing up Crabtree for the sake of it. When Braylon Edwards came back from injury, Crabtree was asked to move from the split end position to flanker to that Edwards could be at his most comfortable position.

Crabtree, who is a more versatile receiver, was coming off a nine-catch effort against Detroit. He embraced the change and led the 49ers in receiving again versus the Browns, including his first score of the year.

“‘Whatever I can do for the team’ was his approach,” Harbaugh said. “That was his answer when we asked him to do that.”

Harbaugh knows every player should be coached differently. Crabtree needs a little extra positive reinforcement. Harbaugh gave Crabtree a big hug after his touchdown because he knows how frustrated Crabtree has been with a few near-misses.

The key here is that Crabtree has stayed on the field. He’s healthy enough to practice and play every week.

Perhaps it’s the natural maturation of a young receiver.  Or perhaps Harbaugh just gets more out of his players than Mike Singletary.

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45 Responses to “The evolution of Michael Crabtree”
  1. bozosforall says: Nov 1, 2011 1:50 PM

    Harbaugh is a genius!

  2. joetoronto says: Nov 1, 2011 1:53 PM

    Just wait, Jim.

  3. mn1bjb says: Nov 1, 2011 1:55 PM

    Its about time, Crabtree was rotting on my fantasy bench for about 5 weeks.

  4. 49ersmang says: Nov 1, 2011 1:55 PM

    i can’t wait to shake Jim’s hand and thank him for the great job he’s doing with the Niners !!!

  5. steviemo says: Nov 1, 2011 1:58 PM

    Dude averages 0.28 TD’s per game and terrible TPR in her career. Still a bust.

  6. kernelreefer says: Nov 1, 2011 2:03 PM

    He needs a hug so he can forget mistakes?

    Alright, whatever. Good coaching, I guess.

  7. axespray says: Nov 1, 2011 2:05 PM

    wait a sec, the 49ers are in posistion to become the no.2 seed and they’re doing it with no off season/training camp to install the new schemes and what not?

    yet all we keep hearing about is Tebow-tebow-tebow…. and the 2-4 broncos, smh.

  8. nineroutsider says: Nov 1, 2011 2:06 PM

    I have to admit, I was a King Crab hater ever since the holdout, but the guy is giving it all right now and it shows…just like the rest of the team.

    Harbaugh and his staff have done a great job; coach of the year by far. No one else really close at all.

  9. packerjer says: Nov 1, 2011 2:17 PM

    Well he’d better amount to something after the big stink he made about deserving top 5 money despite being drafted 10th. His little protest held up the contracts of several other players taken in the same area of the draft. Be kind of nice if he backed up that arrogance with some actual production.

  10. earthtopft says: Nov 1, 2011 2:23 PM

    Evolution is a wondrous thing. Who could ever have envisioned a crab tree?

  11. ilovefoolsball says: Nov 1, 2011 2:25 PM

    49ersmang says:
    Nov 1, 2011 1:55 PM
    i can’t wait to shake Jim’s hand and thank him for the great job he’s doing with the Niners !!!
    __________________
    planning on bumping into him sometime soon?
    Don’t.

  12. travisblink619 says: Nov 1, 2011 2:28 PM

    Say what you will about his post game antics in Detroit, but Jim Harbaugh is getting the best bang for your Buck from everybody on the payroll of the organization. Joe Staley, 1 rec, 17yds. Soaps got about the same thing. This man is taking the league by storm. So much for an offseason, right?

  13. pigskinswag says: Nov 1, 2011 2:32 PM

    Evolution? This isn’t an “evolution”. This is a guy finally playing up to his potential and draft status. I’m glad to see it. I was beginning to wonder if he was going to be David Terrell 2.0

  14. trbowman says: Nov 1, 2011 2:34 PM

    What’s he doing that’s so amazing, exactly?

    Hasn’t had over 100 yards receiving in a game. Darrius Heyward-Bey is better right now, and a lot of the other WRs in that class (Britt, Nicks etc)

  15. citynative says: Nov 1, 2011 2:43 PM

    Vegas had the line at -700 for JoeToronto to have one of the first three posts on a Niner article. Keep hatin’ my friend.

  16. dealer009 says: Nov 1, 2011 2:46 PM

    Harbaugh’s comments as well as the TD thrown Crabtree’s way are HArbaugh’s attempt to motivate Crabtree. Nothing more.

    He had 5 catches for 54 yards. His first TD of the season was a wide open great play design that could have been called to any receiever.

    He can’t stay on the field, and hasn’t had the impact he was supposed to have.

    Now he’s a leader?

  17. visible4 says: Nov 1, 2011 2:49 PM

    Wow it only took him 7 games to get his first TD. I don’t know how Harbaugh does it. Amazing!

    FYI….49ers will lose next 3 out of 4 games.

  18. ownbay says: Nov 1, 2011 2:54 PM

    Crabtree is a decent WR but lacks top end speed to separate. He would have better numbers if Alex Smith didn’t always over throw him.

  19. dukemarc says: Nov 1, 2011 3:02 PM

    However, they need him to evolve into a #1 Receiver and he’s not even close.

  20. jvibottomline says: Nov 1, 2011 3:16 PM

    Visible4, you want to bet your house on that???? Niners will go 13-3 at worst

  21. raiderlyfe510 says: Nov 1, 2011 3:24 PM

    DHB still has more yards than him this year. Raider Nation, baby. You know how we do it.

  22. badmude says: Nov 1, 2011 3:33 PM

    For all the crap the Raiders got for drafting Heyward-Bey before Crabtree. Look at the stats. Heyward-Bey is out producing Crabtree.
    If Crabtree’s character is so good, how come he blames the cop for pulling him over and missing his flight instead of manning up for the traffic violation he did for getting pulled over for? What a PUNK!

  23. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Nov 1, 2011 3:36 PM

    GO NINERS!! IM JIM WE TRUST!!

  24. waxthat says: Nov 1, 2011 3:37 PM

    Can’t wait to see what the 9ers can do WITH an offseason. Big things poppin’

  25. marcsasharc says: Nov 1, 2011 3:38 PM

    Ha ha haters. Crabtree is easily better than DHB, watch football and you can see that.

    People call him a diva and yet can’t provide a single source of information. It’s only the holdout you talk about. Something that his agent insisted upon. He’s never been a nuisance or locker room cancer and he always plays hard.

    Hate on :)

  26. waxthat says: Nov 1, 2011 3:39 PM

    LMAO @badmude

    I would be in a bad mood too if I was a Raiders fan. Good luck with Carson :)

  27. sadskinsfan89 says: Nov 1, 2011 3:39 PM

    All I can say is I wish my skins didn’t have to play the niners this week. I can’t take another loss. Crabtree and edwards are gonna go off on Wilson and hall.

  28. greenpacker says: Nov 1, 2011 3:58 PM

    mike crabtree is a bust

  29. jimboslice208 says: Nov 1, 2011 4:06 PM

    Lets look at careers…

    Crabtree 128 receptions, 1629 yards, 9 tds
    DHB 62 receptions, 924 yards, 3 tds

    How is DHB outperforming Crabtree? Raider fans need to do their research

  30. goldrush36 says: Nov 1, 2011 4:14 PM

    Still can’t believe I’m reading this, oh and I still hate him. He’s growing on me a little though

  31. stillerdistiller says: Nov 1, 2011 4:18 PM

    Of course Harbaugh gets more out of his players than Singletary, the guy is a complete moron.

  32. goldrush36 says: Nov 1, 2011 4:22 PM

    Oh and @badmude 40 mins for a traffic stop….. really? I mean Crabtree is a putz no doubt, but sounds like a typical dirty Oakland cop to me. Oh and before you spout off there, I lived in Oakland 4 years and I am a police officer so trust me I know.

  33. billsfan1 says: Nov 1, 2011 4:38 PM

    Harbaugh and his staff have done a great job; coach of the year by far. No one else really close at all.

    Really? Gailey isn’t close?

  34. joejoe81 says: Nov 1, 2011 5:28 PM

    I’m a 49er fan, and I still don’t like him. Players who hold out rub me the wrong way.

    Seems like he has to celebrate after every catch.

    Hey Mike…it’s your freaking job! Catch the ball, gain the yards, and when you are stopped, toss the ball to the ref, and get back to work! We don’t need to see your show boating!

  35. discosucs2005 says: Nov 1, 2011 5:35 PM

    @billsfan1

    Gaily should be right in the mix as well. I’m obviously biased towards the Niners (as are you towards the Bills) but I think being a rookie coach with no off season has got to count for something.

    I would say Harbaugh and Gaily are probably the top two. I’m sure Schwartz will get some votes, as well as the usual Tomlin, Belicheck, McCarthy votes.

    As far as Crabtree goes, the guy is playing well with a terrible QB. I don’t know what else needs to be said.

    For people that think DHB is better, I’m not going to argue with you (I don’t agree. I’m just not going to argue.) But even if DHB is better than Crabtree, that doesn’t mean that picking him so high and paying him so much was a good choice. If you wanted him more than Crabtree fine, but you could have taken him way lower and paid him way less. That’s why it was a stupid move.

  36. billsfan1 says: Nov 1, 2011 5:42 PM

    I wanted Harbaugh not gonna lie but happy with Gailey…thank u mike shanahan for not wanting to come to Buffalo

  37. billsfan1 says: Nov 1, 2011 5:43 PM

    The thing with schwartz is they have drafted Sooooo high they should be winning

  38. ronaldmexico says: Nov 1, 2011 7:07 PM

    Crabtree has improved his play and image since his diva act when he thought he should have been selected with a higher draft pick. I give him and the other 49er receivers credit for their efforts in catching many of the errant throws from Alex Smith.

    With all the well-deserved criticism being piled on Singletary, fans aren’t mentioning that Vernon Davis “evolved” during his watch. If Davis had his transformation this season, we’d never hear the end of it.

  39. danospleasanton says: Nov 1, 2011 7:20 PM

    citynative says:Nov 1, 2011 2:43 PM

    Vegas had the line at -700 for JoeToronto to have one of the first three posts on a Niner article. Keep hatin’ my friend.
    —————————————————-

    No doubt! I love all these fans who can only wish their teams were headed in the same direction. As a season ticket holder I would be happy with a first round bye and a home playoff game. Of course I want a Superbowl but after the recent history of this GREAT franchise I’m happy with steady progress. If/When we have another draft class like last years the league better watch out. As for Crabtree, yeah he has not produced like many had hoped until now…big deal! Last time I checked some players need a couple of years to get acclimated to the pro game. Unfortunately, many people who have never played this sport on any level are so quick to lable a player a bust…ridiculous! This year Alex Smith has done what has been asked of him up until now. Truthfully I would like to see a little better accuracy on his shots downfield. All-in-all I’m happy with what Harbaugh has done so far and feel confident that he is more than capable of grooming Colin Kaepernick…if needed. So haters keep hatin because the truth hurts. The 9ers are legit and will be good for years to come. Now if we could only get a new stadium closer to Pleasanton…then I would be in heaven.

  40. ceadderman says: Nov 1, 2011 7:47 PM

    Scary to think what could have happened if Coach had a full offseason to prepare his troops. O_o

  41. ceadderman says: Nov 1, 2011 7:54 PM

    @discosucs “As far as Crabtree goes, the guy is playing well with a terrible QB. I don’t know what else needs to be said.”

    Funny how Smith doesn’t seem to have a completion problem with the rest of the Receivers. Before Morgan was injured he was the best Receiver on our roster.

    But hey I’ll give it to you like this. Smith completes more of his passes than he misses. The drops outweigh the overthrows 2 to 1. Imagine how Smith’s completion percentage INCREASES when the Receivers start catching the ones that hit them in the hands instead of losing the handle on it.

    That happens and that “terrible QB” isn’t so terrible now is he? ;)

  42. mondzy805 says: Nov 1, 2011 8:39 PM

    I hope Crab keeps getting better. We need him and Braylon on the field together to see what can be possible. Go 49ers.

  43. fasteddy415 says: Nov 1, 2011 9:08 PM

    jimboslice208 says:
    Nov 1, 2011 4:06 PM
    Lets look at careers…

    Crabtree 128 receptions, 1629 yards, 9 tds
    DHB 62 receptions, 924 yards, 3 tds

    How is DHB outperforming Crabtree? Raider fans need to do their research

    ————————-

    Spot on my friend! Thats how you shut the mouths of haterz. Raider fans are just envious and there pathetic comments prove that notion.

  44. briank1ne says: Nov 2, 2011 12:33 PM

    he has hands like they were dipped in honey before the game.

  45. discosucs2005 says: Nov 6, 2011 3:35 AM

    Harbaugh is the reason for Smith’s play. Let’s not pretend like he’s going to be a super star. He still makes bad throws he just makes way less wrong throws (bad throw meaning bad placement, late, ect. Wrong throw meaning not enough reads, didn’t know coverage ect.).

    I don’t think Smith is a long term solution at QB. I actually firmly believe that we could win a Super Bowl with Smith (like the Giants won a World Series with Renteria). But we could have a dynasty with a new QB.

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