Michael Crabtree, who led the San Francisco 49ers in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions in 2012, went on NFL Total Access yesterday. The interview led off with a graphic that showed his statistics with Alex Smith at quarterback compared to the inflated set of numbers Crabtree accumulated during the period after Colin Kaepernick took over.
Here’s the transcript from the beginning of Crabtree’s interview with Andrew Siciliano:
What do you think of those numbers, there? It seemed, second half, when Harbaugh made the switch you guys clicked. Why’d you guys click so well?
Quarterback relationship with the wide receiver. Practicing, just really trying to get it done in practice and carry it over to the game, which happened smoothly. Really just trying to make a play out there. Both of us, young guys, same age. Really just trying to make a play, trying to make a name for ourselves.
Did the offense open up more, or did he look at you more?
I think he trusted me more. There was a lot of trust. Playing wide receiver you need to have a quarterback that trusts you. And I feel like he trusted me. And we went out there and did it.
Was there a lack of trust earlier?
I wouldn’t say that, man. I don’t want no controversy. We’ll keep it real. We clicked and we made it happen out there.
It seemed like Siciliano and the rest of the crew at NFL Total Access were hoping Crabtree would say something juicy about his relationship with Smith. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time Crabtree said something that wasn’t totally complimentary of Smith. Or the second. When I interviewed Crabtree in December he didn’t say anything about Smith, but comparing Kaepernick to Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers counted as a pretty strong vote of confidence for the new guy after just four and a half games.
This is a pretty slow time for NFL news, but Crabtree’s comments don’t really count as anything newsworthy. There’s nothing that indicates that Crabtree and Smith hated each other. If they did, I doubt Crabtree would’ve done this to his former next-locker neighbor:
It’s simple, just look at the targets in the graphic above. Crabtree, like all receivers, wants the ball all the time. Kaepernick was willing to make that happen, even when Crabtree was tightly covered. Crabtree appreciated the chance to catch more passes, gain more yards, score more touchdowns, and eventually make more money. It’s economics. It’s ego. It’s also common sense. It also sounds like Crabtree and Kaepernick have more in common, which could explain why their working relationship seems to be flourishing. After all, they’re both 25 years old, while Smith is an ancient 28.
On that note, Vernon Davis is 29 and was in 2012 he was targeted less by Kaepernick (3.8 times per game in 10 starts, including the playoffs) than he was by Smith (4.4 times per game from Week 1-8). Maybe NFL Total Access should ask Davis about how much Kaepernick trusts him. Fireworks will ensue! Okay, probably not.