Aug. 11, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
Wide receivers Braylon Edwards and Michael Crabtree have not stepped into a huddle together as 49ers teammates. And it might not happen for another month.But when it does occur, Edwards said the offense will feature two similar offensive threats.RELATED: Camp report (810) -- Edwards, Smith building rapport
"Crab is real smooth," Edwards said. "He has great hands. He always catches the ball away from his body. He's smooth in and out of routes. He's very smart. He's very similar to me, but I'm a little taller."
The 49ers' receiver positions are in a state of flux as the club prepares to open the exhibition season Friday at the New Orleans Saints. The team expects Crabtree to be cleared to practice within the next two weeks after he was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list at the beginning of training camp with a left foot injury.Crabtree is not expected to play in any exhibition games, but the club anticipates he will be available for the regular-season opener, Sept. 11, against the Seattle Seahawks.However, the 49ers are not so certain about Edwards. He faces a possible NFL suspension stemming from his recent guilty plea to a DWI arrest in September.While they have not been practicing together, Edwards and Crabtree have spent a lot of time around each other during the past week after Edwards signed a one-year, 1 million contract."Crab has been around," Edwards said. "He's very smart. He's been in our meetings. He's very attentive. He knows all the plays, and knows what he, as well as all the other receivers, are supposed to be doing on those plays."He comes to practice and watches. We go over some things when I'm not in -- kind of, what I'm thinking, what he's thinking. I feel like we could have a real good rapport and be a real good receiving corps once he comes back."Edwards (6-foot-3) caught 53 passes for 904 yards and seven touchdowns last season with the New York Jets. Crabtree (6-1) had 55 receptions for 741 yards and six touchdowns for the 49ers.Edwards has not missed a practice since coming to the team, but he is not 100 percent, either. He said he is adjusting to the rigors of the three-hour padded practices during Jim Harbaugh's first camp as 49ers coach."I'm not injured in any way, shape, fashion or form," Edwards said. "My legs are tight, going through the football drills we go through day-to-day. There's no shape like training camp. Nothing is physically wrong. It's just my legs are trying to get back to where they were."Edwards might not be recognized among the game's fastest players, but his legs have carried him to a career average of 15.8 yards per catch. Last season, he averaged 17.1 yards a catch with the Jets.In 2009, he was traded from Cleveland to the New York Jets in the middle of the season and had a difficult time adjusting. He experienced the lowest 16-game production of his career with a combined 45 receptions in four games with the Browns and 12 with the Jets.He said he is working hard to make the transition to the 49ers appear easier."The term they use now days, 'Swag.' When you don't know what you're doing, you don't have any swag," Edwards said. "You're out there trying to figure out what's going on. You might be right, but you're still questioning it. It's not until you know it and learn it, study it and master it, then you can play within it. You can start doing your own deviations of what the play is. That's what I'm trying to get to. I think these four games will help myself, as well as our receiving corps and our quarterbacks, get to that point."Edwards said he is spending extra time with quarterback Alex Smith -- on and off the field -- during camp to build their rapport. Edwards knows exactly where he can find Smith."Alex is always here," Edwards said. "He's always about football. He's always open to any extra work, so that makes it easier. Alex lives in this building, which is cool. I'll be here as much as I can. I can't say I'm going to live here, but I'll try to be with him as much as I can. His personality is very open. Very calm, down to earth. Working with him is going to be easier than it would be with somebody else."I've known Alex for a little while, so it's made it easier than it might be if I didn't know him. We're doing as much as we can. We're trying to get this thing rolling so we don't have excuses going into the Seattle game or Dallas, Cincinnati or Eagles game. We don't want that to be a factor. We want to roll as if we've played together before."