In an effort to find someone—anyone—who is capable of playing with consistency on the perimeter, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has scheduled workouts with two injury-prone wide receivers.
Austin Collie worked out for the 49ers in June and CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco is reporting that the team is bringing him back for a workout on Thursday, Aug. 1, along with receiver Laurent Robinson.
As the team moves toward its first preseason game, there has yet to be a single receiver to step up and claim the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Anquan Boldin while Michael Crabtree recovers from his Achilles injury.
Last year's first-round selection, A.J. Jenkins, is looking more and more like a legitimate bust. He recently pulled a hamstring and has been sitting out of practice the past couple of days, but Kevin Lynch of SFGate.com writes that Jenkins had done nothing to impress anyone thus far in training camp.
Kyle Williams, best-known for his two muffed punts against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago, is also nursing a sore hamstring. This is coming on the heels of the ACL injury that kept him out of action last season.
He's had injury issues crop up on a regular basis since joining the 49ers back in 2010 as a rookie out of Arizona State.
Yeah, it's ugly.
The 49ers could be running a skeleton crew at the wide receiver position for a while, which would put a lot more pressure on second-year starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
With tight end Vernon Davis (who has been drawing rave reviews this year as the team's top playmaker in the passing game) and Anquan Boldin (who has also been receiving plaudits for his efforts), the team isn't doomed.
But limited options allow opposing defenses to key in on the running game and two star receivers, which in turn means the offense likely will be stymied at times.
Signing Collie would indicate that the team was gravely concerned about this problem. He's coming off a painful injury—a ruptured patellar tendon—and has a history of concussions. There's always a chance he stays healthy, but given his injury history, it's not likely.
The 49ers need help—of that there's no doubt— at the wide receiver position. That said, Collie doesn't exactly inspire confidence. When healthy, Collie has proven capable of making plays in this league, catching 50-plus passes three years in a row with a total of 16 touchdowns during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts.
In all likelihood, though, he'd be nothing more than a band-aid while the team's current band of injured pass-catchers heals up.
For Baalke and his scouting department, it seems like now would be a good time to start scouting the next batch of college receivers who'll be available next year. Given Kaepernick's immense talent, the team must have a talented corps of receivers to take advantage of his abilities.
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