Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers coverage from Santa Clara, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA – Receiver Michael Crabtree’s production after his return last season looked similar to his first four NFL seasons.
But 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Tuesday his favorite target from the 2012 season did not fully make it back healthy from a torn Achilles he sustained in the offseason.
Through the first week of training camp, Crabtree looks like a different person while emerging as one of the standouts on the 49ers’ practice field.
“He’s a step or two quicker now,” Kaepernick said. “He has a burst out of his routes. He has burst when he catches the ball. (He) looks really good out there.”
Crabtree missed the first 11 games of the regular season last year from the injury he sustained in May during a non-contact workout.
“Even at the end of last season, he wasn’t 100 percent,” Kaepernick said. “And he was making plays for us. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do, now that he’s 100 percent. “
In eight games, including the playoffs, Crabtree caught 34 passes for 487 yards. That same pace over 16 games would have ranked as Crabtree’s second-most receiving yards in a single season behind his 1,105-yard season of 2012.
“I think that shows the caliber of receiver he is,” Kaepernick said. “He’s not someone who’s going to let a nagging injury or a little bit of pain stop him from playing well. He’s going to out and he’s going to fight and make plays.”