Rogers explains how 'Crabs' makes grabs


Rogers explains how 'Crabs' makes grabs

SANTA CLARA -- During the offseason 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh started a slow-news-day-mini-sports-media-dispute when during an interview with KNBR radio he said, "Crab's got the best hands I've ever seen on a wide receiver.""Crab," of course, is Michael Crabtree, a player entering his fourth season with no more than six touchdown receptions in a single season. Considering all of the great receivers to have played the game, and knowing that Harbaugh played with a few of them, many thought, "Surely, the head coach must have misspoken," and wrote, blogged and talked about what he probably meant.But Harbaugh meant what he said. He didn't say "Crab's the best receiver" or "the most productive." Harbaugh said "best hands." And to that, his starting cornerback agrees."I put (Crabtree) up there," Carlos Rogers said. "Him, Larry Fitzgerald. There are a lot of receivers who can catch that ball and when coach talks about hands he's talking about strictly hands, not all these body catches."He's talking about hands in each and every position. That's one thing I put Crabtree up there with Larry Fitzgerald and some of them. He's just one key guy I can think of right now that has some of the best hands around I have seen."RELATED: Healthy Crabtree running better than ever
Rogers has a knack for explaining things well. It makes him a go-to guy for the media when there is something that may need a bit more detail to understand. In this instance, as an eight-year veteran who has matched up against some of the game's best receivers, Rogers also happens to have first-hand experience of what "best hands" look like."Snag any ball, that's basically what it is," Rogers says. "Snag any ball that comes in the area. When you talk about hands, they don't put much effort into it. A lot of guys struggle with certain balls. Crabtree, I've seen him sometimes, he can be running across the field, the ball comes, he can catch it and then still be looking at his direction to make another move."They teach you to look the ball all the way in, Crabtree has the hands and that focus that, 'OK, I know the ball is coming. OK, I catch it. Now I can make my move.' He is one guy who has the gift of that."Crabtree's skill with his hands is different than the strengths of, let's say, a Randy Moss. Rogers can explain that, too."He's a tall guy, a crafty veteran," Rogers said of the future Hall of Famer. "If there's one thing that I think about him, you can be on him, and most time you play guys eyes or play their hands. Randy is a good guy. He's not showing you nothing. He'll let the ball fall into his chest before he puts his hands up. Most guys are going to come out and reach for the ball and give us a chance to break the pass up. Randy is going to make sure the ball is coming to his chest and you can't get to it."That should clear up any lingering doubts about what "best hands" means. But even if it doesn't, Crabtree doesn't feel any pressure to live up to the moniker."I'm just going to go out there and do me," Crabtree said. "If that's what the people say, that's what the people say. I'm just going to play."

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills


Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan


Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.