Michael Crabtree says he’s spent much of his offseason in the Bay Area, but the 49ers wide receiver evidently hasn’t been paying attention to coach Jim Harbaugh’s glowing assessments of quarterback Alex Smith.
On the first day of the 49ers’ players-only offensive minicamp today at San Jose State, Crabtree looked quizzical when asked why he’s been absent from Smith’s throwing sessions with other receivers during the lockout. The workouts, after all, have regularly included Josh Morgan, San Francisco’s other starting wide receiver.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea for a receiver to establish some offseason chemistry with his quarterback?
“Who’s the quarterback,” Crabtree asked.
Um, Alex Smith?
“He’s the quarterback?” Crabtree responded. “I’m just asking.”
Later, when it was noted that Smith appears to be the frontrunner to be San Francisco’s starting quarterback, Crabtree didn’t necessarily agree.
“I wish I could tell you that,” he said. “I know that you’re all scratching at it. I wish I could tell you who is going to be the quarterback. I don’t know. I don’t know. Whoever the quarterback is, I’m 100 percent down with it and I’m ready to go. That’s it.”
Crabtree’s comments only fueled the perception that the third-year wide receiver and Smith still aren’t quite on the same page after Smith had a 55.4 passer rating when targeting Crabtree last year. Smith’s rating when targeting Morgan: 103.6.
Asked last week why Crabtree hadn’t been catching balls from him during the offseason, Smith told the Sacramento Bee and San Jose Mercury News, “Great question. Asking the wrong guy.”
Smith has organized this week’s four-day minicamp – contacting every offensive player and serving as de facto coach. This morning, Smith led a pre-practice classroom session, standing before his teammates at a projector and walking them through plays.
But Crabtree had an odd response when asked if Smith was the one telling players what to do during the on-field practice session.
“It’s the quarterbacks,” said Crabtree, who declined to say who had contacted him regarding the minicamp. “I know you all want me to say something about Alex and this. It’s the quarterbacks. Everybody is here having fun. Everybody is getting along. (David Carr is) out here.”
Crabtree said he’s been working out with a “couple” college quarterbacks at a park in the Bay Area during the offseason. He said he often prefers to work out on his own, but will show up for team functions such as this week’s minicamp, which included 19 offensive players today.
I mentioned to Crabtree that people have questioned why he hasn’t shown up for workouts with Smith when other teammates have. Did he understand that?
“They just don’t understand me,” Crabtree said. “I work out hard. I’m one of the hardest workers on the team. You can write that down — I work out hard, man. That’s just what I do. I’m not worried about what people are saying. If the guys are out here, I’m here. They have to know that. They have to understand that.”
Smith may not have seen Crabtree prior to today, but Morgan hinted that he’s been involved in some of his fellow wideout’s workouts sessions this offseason.
“That’s not my first time seeing Crabtree,” Morgan said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”