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Josh Morgan was poised for a breakout season. He finished 2008 strong and many felt he was a 6th-round steal; one of the few wide receivers the 49ers have actually hit on in the draft. (For other draft follies see: Woods, Rashaun).
Through two games this season, Morgan has a whopping 38 yards - all amassed during week one. He is ranked 81st among NFL receivers and was targeted 5 times in week one. In my evaluation of game two, he was targeted twice but Hill moved off Morgan as a read and went elsewhere with the ball or was sacked.
So is Morgan not fulfilling his role as a break-out player? I think Frank Gore would disagree. Morgan made key blocks on both of Gore's long run plays. On Gore's second scamper, Morgan effectively sealed the backside edge allowing Gore to cut-back. Even on more mundane plays, Gore's first down run off of the fake FB dive in the third quarter, Morgan pushed the cornerback out of the play allowing Gore to pick up 9 yards.
Much of it has to do with the quarterback position. I thought that Hill heavily favored throwing to his left, and this sentiment was echoed by Kevin Lynch in his blog. After a careful analysis of every pass play the 49ers ran against seattle this analysis is not correct. Of 30 attempted pass plays (sacks included), Hill threw to or targeted the left side 15 times, 4 passes went to the middle of the field, and 11 went to Hill's right. This is not the kind of wild imbalance I expected.
It has less to do with Hill favoring one side of the field and instead has to do with Hill's propensity to dump the ball off. Perhaps Jimmy Raye's 3-second clock is working or perhaps this is just Hill's style. Either way, Hill was quick to move from his first read to a back or tight end on an underneath route. Of 27 throws, Hill targeted a wide receiver only 33% of the time with Bruce accounting for 8 of those 9 targets.
Yet despite the lack of targets, Morgan remains the Anti-Crabtree. He knows he gets open and yet he still takes pride in his blocking and knows his time will come. "As long as we're winning," Morgan told reporters today. He is a team player who fits Singletary's team identity perfectly.
"I didn't even notice Josh didn't get a catch until after the game." said Shaun Hill. "He's done a great job with his blocking. ... Josh is going to get his opportunities."
If he continues to play at his current level, he most certainly will.
-Other players understand Crabtree's stance and will most likely accept him with open arms if/when he signs. Crabtree seems to be doing the most damage to his reputation among fans. After being drafted, Crabtree's jersey made it to #8 on the NFL's best selling jersey list. Now? The video will speak for itself.