Originally posted by Rathmanator:
This is kind of where I am with this whole thing. I am also not getting over-optimistic about Crabtree's timeline, I am going to assume he is lost for the entire season, playoffs included.
I like Boldin, I considered him to be a very complimentary receiver to Crabs, who was literally playing out of his mind with Kaep and had even shown marked improvement with Smith. I loved that chemistry that Kaep and Crabs had and I was looking very forward to Crabs having a monster year in 2013. It did not bother me that Kaep targeted Crabs like he did, it was effective in most games and it was obvious they had a connection. If that is what it takes to win (Kaep having a "go-to guy") then I am all for him finding one and using him the same way he used Crabtree. Right now, I see Boldin being the one most likely capable of filling that role. I would rather Kaep have that rapport with a single guy than have him try to work the ball around to others in the interest of proving he can spread the ball around if option one works and gets them back to the Super Bowl.
While I am hopeful that one of the others steps up, I am not as optimistic as some because I just haven't seen it yet. When the injury first happened, I told myself that one of these guys would, but after taking a step back, I am more cautious in my confidence. We could still sign a vet too , who knows what will happen, but there are options.
I think it's easy to panic because we haven't seen anything real earth-shattering from these guys last year, so it ends up looking like their passing game is as good as screwed. I get this feeling that this creates a perception that we're going to have to rely on our run game and defense to carry the team like in past years, and there's an even bigger fear we're going to regress to the Nolan/Singletary era. Pessimism dies hard in Niner Land.
I still hold firm that they were going to have to deal with developing other receivers sooner or later, because if they have only one playmaker at WR, they go down the same path that the Lions (C. Johnson), Cardinals (Fitzgerald), Texans (A. Johnson), and Bengals (A.J. Green) went down; one and done at best, assuming they make the playoffs at all.
Teams that have multiple contributors in recent years have carried a team much deeper into the playoffs, even if they're not mega superstars by themselves. The teams I think of off the top of my head here are the Patriots (Welker, Hernandez, Gronk), the Giants (Nicks, Cruz), and the Packers (Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Driver, Finley), defensive issues notwithstanding.
I'm not trying to sound over-optimistic, but rather pragmatic. The sooner the issue is dealt with and addressed, the sooner IMO the team can move forward and progress.