San Francisco 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree has been a star for the perennial post-season Niners in the last three years, but the 2014 NFL season has been a totally different story for Crabtree, leading fans and the media to question whether he is unhappy in his new role.
Crabtree's current role in the 49ers' offense makes him look a shadow of his former self. The 27-year-old receiver was supposed to have another massive season in 2014, but as it stands, he has only played 75 per cent of the snaps this year for his team.
In 2012, Crabtree caught 85 balls for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns on his way to his most impressive season to date. The six-year pro was expected to kick on from that but it has yet materialized for the talented wideout.
Why has he declined?
So why has Crabtree's quality taken so much of a dive in recent times? Well, some say that Crabtree was never really that good of a player, it's just that he was always playing in big games, thus getting more chance to shine.
But others say that he has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler, and that 49ers are not using him correctly, thus leading to a frustrated Crabtree blowing up last week after the Niners close win against the New Orleans Saints.
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Something doesn't add up
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh was quizzed this week about whether or not Crabtree is frustrated at the moment, but he denied the speculation with a slightly bizarre answer.
"I donât think so," the 49ers' coach said, according to NFL.com. "Seems to be doing a fantastic job and getting the ball a lot."
That is hardly the most convincing answer from Harbaugh. Crabtree's stats this year are just not what someone of his calibre should be putting up. There is clearly something wrong and Harbaugh saying he is getting the ball a lot is just not true. He's averaging 10.6 yards a catch, the worst numbers of his career. It certainly would not be a surprise if Crabtree wasn't a Niner next year, with his contract set to run out at the end of the season.