Crabtree past haunting drops, focused on team goal


Crabtree past haunting drops, focused on team goal

SANTA CLARA -- Receiver Michael Crabtree's first playoff touchdown came in the first quarter of his first playoff game.But Crabtree, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was not remotely satisfied with his performance Saturday in the 49ers' 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC divisional round.While Crabtree caught four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown, he also failed to hold onto three other catchable passes from quarterback Alex Smith."That's not normal for me to drop the ball," Crabtree said Friday. "But two or three drops, it haunted me. I couldn't sleep. But at the same time you just have to put that behind you, and just go catch the ball."
Crabtree should have plenty of opportunities on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.Tight end Vernon Davis torched the Saints with seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Davis figures to be the focus of the Giants' pass defense. Crabtree, who had team and career highs with 72 catches for 874 yards during the regular season, is likely to see a lot of single coverage against the Giants."My responsibility is big every game because I'm a receiver," Crabtree said. "There's a lot on my shoulders to just go out and play. That's all I can tell you."Crabtree, who came to the NFL after a prolific college career at Texas Tech, has surprised some with his willingness to play without the ball.His block on Saints cornerback Tracy Porter was not as impressive as those thrown by Kyle Williams or Joe Staley, but it was every bit as important to open the way for Smith's 28-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.After entering the league with the reputation as a "diva," Crabtree has clearly bought into coach Jim Harbaugh's blue-collar mindset."It's really helped us focus on the team," Crabtree said. "Anything to make the team better, everybody is doing - blocking, catching the ball, trying YAC (yards after catch), being a decoy. However you want to call it. We've just been doing our job."When asked this week what kind of season Crabtree had for the 49ers, Harbaugh answered, "Michael's had a 14-3 year as a receiver."And with one more victory, Crabtree will be one step closer to what drives him, he said."I look at our record," Crabtree said. "I don't really look at my stats. I look at the record. My goal is to win a Super Bowl. I'm just doing whatever it takes to win."

Falcons coach Quinn: 49ers' offense, defense in good hands

Falcons coach Quinn: 49ers' offense, defense in good hands

INDIANAPOLIS – Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn believes the 49ers’ offense and defense have capable people charge.

Quinn, speaking Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, has worked on the same staffs with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who will run the team’s offense, and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

Saleh, who served as Jacksonville’s linebackers coach the past three season, spent one season on the Seattle staff when Quinn was defensive coordinator.

“He has a really good and rock-solid understanding of the principles of playing three-deep and man-to-man,” Quinn said of Saleh. “He’s an excellent teacher. And, I think, as a coordinator that’s a really important thing, especially when you’re first putting the whole thing together so everyone has a real clear understanding and they’re all on the same page. So I think he’ll do a fantastic job.”

Shanahan did not hire an assistant to serve under the title of offensive coordinator. Instead, he will assume those duties with the 49ers while also overseeing the entire operation as head coach. Shanahan has been an NFL offensive coordinator for eight seasons, including the past two under Quinn with the Falcons.

“He is one of the few coaches who has a full understanding – run game, offensive line, quarterback play, receiver play,” Quinn said of Shanahan. “You could put him into any spot on the offense, and he’ll be able to coach that position. That’s a rare trait. There are some guys who are sto strong in one area. It might be in the run game or so strong in the pass game. But he has a really clear understanding how to do the whole thing.

“I never like to see anybody leave the staff, but what I can appreciate is a guy taking a risk to say, ‘Hey, I want to give this a shot and go battle for it.’ So I’m excited for him and the opportunity he has there.”

Report: Kaepernick's new agents inform teams he will opt out

Report: Kaepernick's new agents inform teams he will opt out

INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will become a free agent for the first time in his six-year NFL career.

Kaepernick’s new agents, Jeff Nalley and Sean Kiernan, informed all 32 teams on Tuesday that he will, as expected, opt out of his contract to become a free agent, the NFL Network reported.

Kaepernick was scheduled to make $14.9 million in salary and bonuses for the 2017 season. If he did not opt out, the 49ers were expected to release him to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled pay.

The 49ers do not have a quarterback under contract for the upcoming season. Kaepernick is coming off his best season since 2013 – his first full season as the starter. Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Quarterback ranks as the team's top need for the upcoming season.

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on KNBR last week. “And we’re committed to doing that.”

Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis are also scheduled to be free agents.