The San Francisco 49ers passing attack should have a bounce-back game tonight against the Washington Redskins horrendous pass defense, but it would be shock to see Michael Crabtree act as a catalyst for an improved 49ers offense. No, that will be up to the receivers currently on the 53-man roster stepping up, with talented quarterback Colin Kaepernick being the one who needs to step up the most. All of the excuses made to defend Kaepernick (I’ve made some) aren’t enough, and I think it’s important to admit that a talented QB isn’t playing up to his potential this season. He should be able to bounce back, and here’s to hoping he can make it happen tonight.
That said, the 49ers have Kaepernick’s best wide receiver waiting on the PUP list, and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the 49ers could activate Michael Crabtree for today’s game but that they are also not expected to. Let me run down three scenarios regarding Crabtree’s PUP list status below.
1. The 49ers activate Crabtree today and play him on just a limited basis against the Redskins. This allows Crabtree to get his feet wet, help the team by playing, and it also ensures that he is merely eased in to things.
2. The 49ers activate Crabtree, but they do not play him. While this is possible, it is not likely. I mean, why would the 49ers lose roster flexibility by doing this?
3. The 49ers do not activate Crabtree today and instead activate him tomorrow.
Option number three makes a whole lot more sense than the other two, because the 49ers can easily win without having Crabtree out there. I mean, if they lose to the Redskins, then it’s honestly not because Crabtree didn’t play. The 49ers are clearly better than the Redskins, so an upset would likely be the result of either Kaepernick completely flopping or the defense flopping (or even a combination of the two).
To this point, the 49ers have made it clear that they are not going to rush Crabtree back, and they are going to wait until the very last day possible to activate Crabtree off of the PUP list. That day is tomorrow, and I fully do not expect him to be out there today. If you are banking on him playing, then you are playing very slim odds here (especially if those odds are fantasy football-related). It’s possible Crabtree plays, but it is entirely unlikely. It is much more likely that he plays in next week’s division rivalry matchup against the St. Louis Rams, and that’s the most prudent course of action for the 49ers to take.