The San Francisco 49ers were dealt a pretty significant blow to their offense when wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon and will miss the next six months recovering from surgery. But while the Niners will miss Crabtree and the confidence he gives third year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, head coach Jim Harbaugh is positive one of San Francisco’s numerous receivers will step up and replace Crabtree while he’s out.
Harbaugh hopped on 95.7 The Game to talk about who would replace Crabtree, and the younger Harbaugh brother said guys like A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette and rookie Quinton Patton will have a chance to step up and prove themselves.
“We’ll put Jenkins, Patton, Ricardo Lockette at the same position and let them compete and emerge,” Harbaugh said on The Game. “The good news is that somebody will emerge because they have to.”
While the Niners have guys that can step up and potentially fill in for Crabtree, he’ll be hard to replace in terms of what he did for Colin Kaepernick and his confidence in 2012. Crabtree proved to be Kaepernick’s favorite target and was starting to emerge as a star receiver thanks to all the attention and success. But as Harbaugh mentioned in his interview, the Niners are deeper than just Crabtree and could end up not even needing guys like Jenkins or Patton with targets like Mario Manningham, Anquan Boldin and others who will benefit from being bumped up the depth chart in terms of how often Kaepernick will look their way.
Crabtree’s absence won’t be easy to deal with, but the Niners seem to have the depth to survive.