I find Michael Crabtree funny. Not a "look-at-me-I'm-hilarious funny," but a "good-natured-I'm-gonna-dish-it-out-and-I'm-gonna-take-it" type of funny. I've seen snippets of Crabtree's wit in his first three years with the team, but it's typically been from across the locker room or field when I happen to see him interact with a teammate. I've seen a lot more of it this preseason.As Crabtree stood in front of his locker today and answered questions about the upcoming season opener against Green Bay, a reporter asked him if he's bigger, more muscular this season. Crabtree didn't miss a beat."You see my guns?" Crabtree said, flexing a little, causing the group to laugh. "Just a little bit. Just a little bit."I had heard an assistant strength and conditioning coach yelling for players to come step on the scale and after most of the reporters left, I asked Crabtree if he had weighed in yet. He hadn't, and he asked me what I thought he weighed.I guessed, "215?"Crabtree made it clear that was too heavy -- 6 pounds too heavy to be exact. He's at 209, he said. Same as last year."OK," I challenged him. "Fair game, then. How much do I weigh?"Crabtree laughed and guessed way too light (on purpose I quickly found out). He followed up his first guess a few seconds later and nailed my weight within two pounds. He smiled and walked off to get ready for the team photo.During preseason practices, Crabtree sometimes warmed up with the defensive linemen. One day, he stood on one end of the line while the group did leg kicks a short distance up and down the field and yapped at Justin Smith almost the whole time. Smith was standing on the other end of the line. Crabtree was sure to use Smith's nickname "Cowboy" a lot and what he was saying amused the players in between them as well as defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.Then there is the tally sheet he keeps on his matchups with cornerback Carlos Rogers. He gives himself a point each time he wins the battle when the two match up in practice. He makes sure he shows Rogers how much he's leading by before they head out to the field. Rogers laughed about it when he brought it up during a session with the media. Crabtree was happy to explain further when he was asked about it during his media session a few days later.Those cramming to find players for their fantasy teams right now may be thinking, "And why do I care about Crabtree's sense of humor?" Simply put, he appears utterly relaxed and comfortable heading into the season. The addition of Randy Moss could have something to do with that. During today's media scrum Crabtree was asked once again about Moss' influence on him this preseason."That's my dude. Makes me feel like I can be myself," Crabtree said. "Seeing an old guy like that, being himself so long, you just have to accept him. I just feel like that's what I'm doing, I'm just going to be myself go out here and play. You can learn from a guy like that. You don't have to change for nobody. All you gotta do is be yourself and play your game."There are no stats to back up my observation. And yes, right now the players are typically relaxed and in good moods as the grind of the regular season has yet to begin. But if Crabtree truly can just be himself and continue to have fun, that could have a bigger influence on the offense this season than his playing weight, how much more he can bench, and his 40 time.
SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.
Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.
Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.
“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”
Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.
Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.
Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.
”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”
The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.
“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.
“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”
Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants.
Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs.
“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.
"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."
On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him.
Biblical advice for @gatorboyrb Let all bitterness & wrath & anger & clamor & slander be put away from you, along with all malice.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 27, 2017
Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.