Michael Crabtree will make his preseason debut Friday night when he starts opposite of Ted Ginn Jr. as San Francisco’s top wideouts against the visiting Minnesota Vikings.
Crabtree’s bouts with preseason injuries have been discussed several times through camp, but members of the 49ers coaching staff and offense feel a strong rapport was developed with Crabtree throughout the team’s offseason program.
The unspoken storyline of the 49ers receiving corps has been the consistent training camp performances of Ginn Jr., a sixth-year wideout who continues to show more than just special teams return ability.
Last season, Ginn Jr. caught 19 passes for 220 receiving yards. His biggest contributions to the team were made consistently in the return game. Ginn Jr. became the first player in franchise history to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same game (vs. Seattle on Sept. 11). He also took home the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week honors in Week 1 of last season.
This time around, Ginn Jr. is showing teammates he can do even more on offense.
“I just think he looks really sharp,” said quarterback Alex Smith, who’s already completed several passes to the 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedy wide receiver in camp. “He’s got the speed, everybody knows that, but I really feel like he continues to work on the little things, the little things of being a receiver.”
Perhaps those little things Smith mentioned were most evident when the duo hooked up on a 40-yard passing play earlier this week. Ginn Jr. showed excellent body control down the sideline to remain in bounds while coming down with Smith’s perfectly thrown deep ball.
“Really precise route running so far in camp,” Smith added. “He’s making a lot of plays out there. He’s made a lot of tough catches coming back to the football. Those are things that I see and obviously when you combine that with his speed, I think he’s had a great camp so far.”
Jim Harbaugh agrees and that’s why Ginn Jr. will be with the starting 11.
“He’s had a great camp,” Harbaugh said. “He’s catching the ball, blocking, playing all the positions – X, Z, the slot. He’s running good – getting in and out of his cuts – performing at a high level.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr.
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