Greg Roman spoke with the media on Thursday and offered several noteworthy comments on current members of the San Francisco 49ers offense.
We've boiled down Roman's key quotes below along with our very own analysis.
WR MICHAEL CRABTREE
"I think the best for Michael is yet to come. I just think there's been a few plays here and there that he might want to have back. At the same time, he's doing some really good things, looks really good at practice and I would say the best from him is yet to come."
ANALYSIS: Crabtree is second on the team in targets (55), receptions (32) and receiving yards (322). He is tied for the team lead with three touchdown catches. Crabtree, however, dropped a pair of passes last week and had a touchdown taken off the board due to an offensive penalty. Crabtree entered the year with high expectations. It's a contract year for the sixth-year receiver. So what can fans expect in the final nine games? Improved play, according to Roman, who is seeing impressive performances in practice. Crabtree will look to carry that over to the field against the St. Louis Rams, a team that he has scored a touchdown in seven of his last eight games against the divisional foe.
C MARCUS MARTIN
"Feel great about Marcus. It's his first start, so keep that in mind. At the same time, love his approach, love his preparation and like what I see out on the practice field most importantly. He's got a big, stiff challenge this week with that front of the Rams. We're very familiar with them. You're never quite sure what you're going to get from the Rams, either. They're very creative and do a great job on defense. There might be some new things he's got to sort out during the course of the game."
ANALYSIS:Martin never really had a chance to compete with Daniel Kilgore to be the team's starting center. Now, because of Kilgore's season-ending injury, the 20-year-old rookie gets his shot to run with the first-team offense. All eyes will be on number 66 on Sunday. Perhaps the best news for the rookie is the location of his first start. Debuting on the road in a noisy environment would surely be way more difficult to handle.**
TE VERNON DAVIS** "I think he's back to form. He's been playing through some things, which always commands a deep bow from me. Not always going to be 100 percent, but he's gutted his way through it. I think he's got a very focused glare when it comes to what he wants to accomplish from here on out."
ANALYSIS:It's true that you want to have your bye week in the midpoint of the regular season and that's exactly what the 49ers have in 2014. It's most beneficial to banged-up players like Davis, who has battled nagging injuries in the first half of the year. Fourteen receptions through seven games was not Davis' goal for this season, but he's recharged and ready to torment the St. Louis secondary like he has in years past. **
RB MARCUS LATTIMORE
"It was great to see him out there. He worked with coach (Tom) Rathman after practice extra and got with some of the defensive players and got some contact work, which was really good. And I know they looked at that this morning in a pretty early meeting. He's got his window, and there's a good plan in place to kind of progress him through that window and see where he's at. Was pretty darned pleased."
ANALYSIS: The fact that San Francisco's coaching staff is simulating contact and blitz-pickup drills with Lattimore is a big indication that they want to truly evaluate his playing capability. Everyone in the Bay Area, and in South Carolina, is rooting for the 2013 fourth-round draft pick to succeed. Lattimore has the support of his teammates, too. By all accounts, he looks explosive and has a good understanding of Roman's offensive system. Now, it seems like it'll be a matter of time before we see number 38 carry the football in an NFL game.
WR STEVIE JOHNSON
"Stevie is doing a really, really good job. It's hard to keep him off the field. As long as he continues to produce like that, which I'm sure he will, he's going to continue to see more opportunities. Couldn't be happier with Stevie, his production, his approach to the game and the standard he carries himself with. He's a great guy, great team guy."
ANALYSIS: As the third receiver for most of the season, Johnson has developed into a go-to target for Colin Kaepernick. Although he said their chemistry remains an on-going process, Johnson has become a reliable weapon for the 49ers offense. He especially becomes a matchup nightmare on third downs. The question now is how much more will we see Johnson? Will be start being mixed in on base downs? Those questions will soon be answered in how Roman uses his receivers in the coming weeks.
G/C DILLON FARRELL
"Dillon did a really good job of, with injuries now all of a sudden he's playing center, bam, jumps in to play center, doesn't blink. The stuff we do on offense, he had no problem internalizing and we saw a combination of athleticism and savvy for a young guy. There's always things for our young guys to work on, really everybody. We see the potential there to develop into a winning player."
ANALYSIS: This topic was brought up by yours truly. I wanted to hear Roman's thoughts on the unlikely roster addition, who battled the odds in training camp to seize a spot on the team's current 52-man roster. We spoke with Farrell on our 49ers Radio podcast this week to learn more about his story. It's worth a listen for anyone who is likes underdog stories.