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Michael Crabtree Makes Statements on Gamedays

Posted Jan 9, 2014

In Week 10, the last time these two teams faced off, Crabtree was 20-plus days from his season debut, still working his way back from surgery on his torn Achilles heel.

Michael Crabtree likes to do his talking on Sunday nights and Monday mornings, not necessarily Thursday afternoons.

Crabtree, it can be gleaned, prefers to let his Pro Bowl-level play speak for itself before articulating it in his public comments.

"I can't wait, I'm looking forward to playing," the 49ers wide receiver said of this weekend's NFC Divisional round playoff game against the Panthers. "I don't want to talk too much about it. I'm ready to play."

Forgive outside observers for wanting to understand Crabtree's thinking going into Carolina.

PHOTOS: Carolina's Starting Lineups

In Week 10, the last time these two teams faced off, the pass-catcher was 20-plus days from his season debut, still working his way back from surgery on his torn Achilles heel.

Crabtree was on the sideline, unable to help his quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, reach triple digits in passing yardage.

"I missed it. We lost that game," Crabtree said of the 10-9 defeat on Nov. 10. "We have better intentions for this game, a lot of people back."

Not only was Crabtree was out against the Panthers stout defense, so was Vernon Davis. The tight end, another of Kaepernick's favorite targets, was concussed early on and exited.

Consider: Crabtree now has three 100-yard performances in six career playoff games, and he and Davis are two of just four players in franchise history with this distinction.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman agknowledged the impact of their inclusion in the game plan.

“Gosh, they’re two very, very explosive players that we count on and looking forward to see what they can do for us come Sunday," the coach said. "We love having Michael out there because he’s one of our best players, and he’s a really good player.

"What happened 10 weeks ago is really irrelevant at this point. We’re looking forward to this game and the contributions everybody can make really.”

Asked about having Davis and wideout Anquan Boldin next to him on the line of scrimmage, Crabtree struck the same chord.

"You got to name everybody if you're going to name those three," Crabtree said. "I don't want to get into name-dropping. This team as a whole, we've got a lot of talent."

READ: Davis to Factor into Panthers Matchup

See, Crabtree doesn't often get involved in the mid-week, pregame back-and-forth between players and their opponents. In Week 17, for example, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and cornerback Patrick Peterson said that, while Crabtree appeared to be playing well, he also appeared far from 100 percent healthy. (For his part, Crabtree said Thursday that he was "good enough to play football" when he returned to the roster in Week 13.)

"I guess it was motivation for them," he said of Arizona's 'salvos,' to borrow Jim Harbaugh's phrasing. "Put me down to put yourself up."

So it was no surprise when Crabtree batted away a question about the "physical" Panthers defense, which boasts cornerbacks Melvin White and Captain Munnerlyn in its secondary.

"Their team as a whole is physical," he said. "We're physical too."


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