When Michael Crabtree finally arrived at 49ers headquarters, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye expected to get a talented but raw rookie who had never run an NFL route and who was only partially familiar with the 49ers playbook. Raye, however, said today that Crabtree was farther along than he expected. What's more, Crabtree quickly absorbed everything Raye and the 49ers threw at him
"He had a starting point that was better what than I had anticipated in terms of him understanding the formations and understanding the route tree and the plays and how they fit together," Raye said. "He conceptualizes football extremely well. So he's a quick study that way."
Raye estimated that Crabtree would have to cram for 45-50 plays that possibly could be called Sunday against the Texans. He anticipated that Crabtree would play half the game but that the number of snaps would depend on how well Crabtree adjusts to the speed of the game, which is always faster than practice.
"Practice tempo and game tempo will be a little different," Raye said. "At this point he hasn't flinched on anything, but I'm going to gauge that on the speed of the game and how he starts."
Meanwhile, Crabtree has been saying all the right things - thanking teammates for their help and coaches for their patience. He held court to the side of his locker today, and as you can imagine attracted quite a crowd of reporters, including a couple of faux reporters, fellow receiver Jason Hill and safety Dashon Goldson. See below.
It was only a glimpse, but an interesting one nonetheless. As we were waiting for Crabtree to arrive, I saw Jed York giving Steve Mariucci a tour of the facility today. I wasn't covering the team back in 2002, but I do know that Mariucci's firing after that season didn't exactly go smoothly ... Mariucci now works for NFL Network and,
yes, this was his first time back in 49ers headquarters. Forgot: Mariucci was here on behalf of NFLN in 2007.
-- Matt Barrows