Rogers explains how 'Crabs' makes grabs

August 15, 2012, 11:56 pm
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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."