San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh sticks up for his players like a lot of coaches tend to do; but on Sunday when addressing the media after a 23-20 defeat of the Green Bay Packers, he took it to another level.
“People talk about cold weather, and it being tough to catch balls,” Harbaugh said. “But the greatest catcher of all time, Michael Crabtree, catches everything. It’s unbelievable. In the northern snow lands, down to the tropic sunny scenes, he’s catching the football. Where ever they throw a football, he’ll be catching it.”
Of course, the statement shouldn’t be taken completely at face value, especially because Harbaugh was still riding high after Crabtree’s eight-catch, 125-yard performance in the icebox known as Lambeau Field. But his words prove he’s an expert motivator. In addition, they are more calculated than they seem.
Harbaugh, a former quarterback, played with great receivers during his playing days and currently coaches another in Super Bowl champion Anquan Boldin, so it’s hard to fathom that he actually believes what he said.
But for a player like Crabtree who is coming back from a major Achilles injury, stroking his ego and building his confidence is important as the games in the postseason only get tougher and Crabtee’s hands hold the key to the Niners’ long-term success.
San Francisco needs the former Texas Tech star at his best, and he’s rounding into form at the right time. As long as he’s producing on the field, bailing out Colin Kaepernick by making incredible catches and helping San Francisco move the chains in clutch situations, Harbaugh will keep the Crabtree hype machine moving.
With that said, Harbaugh would do well to look in the record books of the team he coaches and see who holds every major receiving record, then re-think his statement in that context.
Photo Credit: Derick Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
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