There is a “strong possibility” rookie receiver Michael Crabtree will be in the starting lineup Sunday against the Houston Texans, 49ers coach Mike Singletary confirmed this afternoon.
Josh Morgan started the first five games for the 49ers at split end. But Morgan told The Press Democrat today he has been informed Crabtree and Isaac Bruce will be the 49ers’ starting receivers on Sunday.
Furthermore, Morgan remained at the 49ers’ practice facility over the bye week to personally help Crabtree learn the position – and, in essence, take his job. Crabtree was the No. 10 overall pick but finally signed a six-year contract with the 49ers on Oct. 7.
“I’m helping him learn my position and take my position,” said Morgan, who ranks second on the 49ers behind Vernon Davis in receiving. Morgan has 13 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown. “It is what it is. If he can help us win, I’m all right with that.
“They gave him my spot. So if he’s going to be in there, I might as well help him out so I can make sure he gets it right.”
Morgan has also started getting some work on kickoff returns. Morgan said he would welcome that opportunity to return kickoffs and punts, in addition to his expected new role as the 49ers’ No. 3 receiver.
Singletary made no mention of the possibility Crabtree would be in the starting lineup when he spoke to the media earlier in the day. But after Morgan made his comments, Singletary was seen in the locker room. When asked about Crabtree, he stopped just short of guaranteeing Crabtree has been promoted to a starting role.
Singletary said he and 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye have talked about Crabtree’s immediate promotion to the starting lineup. Crabtree caught passes from backup quarterback Alex Smith on Thursday. He also spent time during the bye week learning as much of the offense as he could with teammates Morgan and running back Frank Gore.
Singletary said it is a strong possibility Crabtree will start, but he is a little hesitant about the message it would send to have Crabtree immediately surpass five receivers on the roster after missing 71 days in a contract stalemate. Singletary said he is also sensitive to how the move would affect Morgan’s development.
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