SANTA CLARA -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians stated he did “not see the same guy” when watching Michael Crabtree upon his return from a torn Achilles last season.
And, as reported earlier this week, one team source told CSNBayArea.com that Crabtree “was a shadow of himself” after coming back from the surgery that kept him out of the first 11 games of the season.
Crabtree did not take part in 11-on-11 drills during the 49ers’ offseason program as a precaution. In practices open to the media, Crabtree never ran a route against defenders at full speed during the mandatory minicamp that concluded on Thursday.
But Crabtree looked vastly improved from last season, according to Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin and the coaching staff.
“At the end of last year he still wasn’t 100 percent,” Kaepernick said. “He has a lot more burst to him now. (He) looks really good.”
Boldin, the 49ers’ leading receiver a year ago, noticed that Crabtree had more burst off the line of scrimmage as well as getting in and out of his breaks.
“He's a lot more explosive,” fellow receiver Anquan Boldin said. “I just see him being back to his old self. For him, we're taking things slow. We want to make sure that he goes into the season healthy.”
Even at less-than 100 percent health last season, Crabtree managed to be productive. In eight games, including three postseason games, he caught 34 passes for 487 yards (14.3 average). He caught only one touchdown pass, though.
Crabtree enters the final year of his contract this season.