Leading Off: 49ers must play well with receivers they already have

It seems popular to blame the shortcomings of the 49ers’ passing offense on a lack of good receivers. That’s been a fallback position for the team for some time.

But let’s stop a moment and reflect: Among the team’s receiving corps are two men who have been among the top players at their positions for several seasons: tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Those guys are both premier targets for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Mario Manningham, back from injury, might not be a star, but he’s a solid NFL receiver.

The team is not starved for guys who can catch passes; it’s deficient in the way it distributes the ball and how Kaepernick conducts business when looking for an open receiver.

And, sure, the team played well against an awful Washington defense Monday night. Kaepernick made some nice plays. He has a wonderful arm, and we know how great an athlete he is. But Washington has one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Fans of the 49ers had to be glad to see San Francisco’s relative passing efficiency, but anything less would have been a disaster for a team still hopeful of making playoff noise.

When Michael Crabtree comes back from injury, he is expected to provide the team with more receiving firepower, a good-hands target with dependable skills – assuming they haven’t been too diminished by the torn Achilles’ tendon that sidelined him in May.

But look around the league. Few teams are loaded with multiple great receivers. The good teams make do, not excuses. With games against St. Louis and tough Seattle coming up, the time for lamenting shortcomings is over. It’s time to take advantage of the talent already on the field.

– Brian Blomster

Today’s poll

Will receiver Michael Crabtree make a big difference when he returns to 49ers’ lineup ?

• Yes

• No

Vote above or, go to

Tuesday’s results

What most ails Cal football ?

• Poor recruiting: 18%

• Poor coaching: 18%

• Too strong of a

conference: 4%

• All the above: 60%

Total votes: 146