Michael Crabtree Is The Next Jerry Rice!

Tom BaumbergerCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2010

Michael Crabtree is the next Jerry Rice.

I become incensed at that comparison. If I hear that, or read that, one more time, I think I'm going to go ballistic.

As a Niner fan of more than half a century, I have seen many great players don the red and gold.  In my opinion there was none greater than Jerry Rice.

It has been said that making it to the NFL is literally a one in a million opportunity.  What is it to be the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game?

It's one in a however many wide receivers have ever played the game million.  If there has been at least one thousand, then it's one in a billion.  All I know is that person is pretty scarce.

Transplanted from California to South Carolina some ten years ago, I expanded my college horizons from the PAC-10, to the SEC and ACC. Of course, my Dad went to Ohio State, so the Big 10 fits in there somewhere too.

I don't have any loyalties to the Midwest teams.   I guess because I don't make enough money to pay for the different satellite packages to watch them.  If it's the Longhorns, Aggies or Red Raiders, I watch it because I know it will be a good game.

What a run the Red Raiders made in Crabtree's last year. For one reason or other those last few games that season had most of us on the edge of our seats. Crabtree was a big part of that offense. I was a big fan of Crabtree.  I still am.  Michael Crabtree can play.  I get that.

What I don't get was his holdout.

Perhaps it is my generation.  We are a generation that grew up watching players who played because they loved to play the game.  They played for a few bucks on Sunday.  At the end of their last game, most of them limped off the field.  Most were never heard from again. 

It's the holdout that is the main source of my aggravation with this comparison.  The salving of one's ego with remuneration for services not yet rendered.

In 1992 Jerry Rice held out for 37 days.

Rice himself was once a holdout for 37 days in 1992 and has said it was one of the poorest choices he's made, but insists he never would have considered missing time in the regular season.

"I don't know how long I held out, but it was not during regular season," Rice said. "There's no way I would have held out during regular season. I was like, 'Just get it done so I can get back in there with my team and try to win football games and make this team a better team.'"

-from a Mike Sando blog

Crabtree seems to have had everything just handed to him.  He can play, there's no question there.  There were also timing issues with some of his plays last year.  Those timing issues are usually addressed in training camp and pre-season.

Were any of those timing issues something that caused a loss last year?  Probably not, but they certainly created a loss of down.  Some of them were third down too.  A few of them were drive stoppers.

How did Michael Crabtree acquire the moniker of number one receiver?  Before Crabtree showed up Josh Morgan had a 15.5 yard average.  After Crabtree, it was 7.5.  My guess is he just wasn't getting the ball enough after Crabtree showed up. 

I don't know if the player has been born yet that will take the place of Jerry Rice.  If he has, I think Josh Morgan is more like Jerry Rice. 

He has the talent, the work ethic, and like Jerry is an excellent down field blocker.  Like Jerry, Josh has no known posse affiliations.  Did Jerry feel the need to have an entourage?

Michael Crabtree has the work ethic and definitely has the talent.  I don't hear his name being called much in association with great down field blocks, or running a great deep route, that opened up the middle for Crabtree and Davis.  Morgan however is mentioned frequently for downfield blocking and his great deep routes. 

Jerry Rice spent 20 years amassing his achievements.  Morgan and Crabtree have spent what, 24 months?  Let them play it out for a few years before any of us try to find a replacement for The Great One.  After all, he earned his place in NFL history with hard work.

His replacement should too.