Were the San Francisco 49ers Fooling Themselves with Wide Receiver "Depth" ?

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 5, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 16:  Wide receiver Josh Morgan #84 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a 22-yard pass over defensive back Jarrett Bush #24 of the Green Bay Packers during a preseason game at Candlestick Park on August 16, 2008 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco won 34 to 6.  (Photo by Greg Trott/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are really in control of their own destiny in the NFC West, but if the 49ers want to start beating the good teams, they need a wide receiver to step up.

It has been very encouraging too see that Vernon Davis has finally shown pass-catching ability, but even so, the 49ers' one real weakness still has been their wide receivers.  The problem is the 49ers have real no clear number one receiver that they can go to in a pinch.

Proof of that was in the waning seconds of the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams.  Instead of utilizing the wide receivers, safe, conservative plays were called, and eventually the 49ers had to punt.  In the process, there was an intentional grounding call on Shaun Hill during that series.

Later on in the game, Hill threw a perfect pass to Josh Morgan that would have gone for an easy touchdown because Morgan got behind the Rams secondary.  However, Morgan dropped it.

Those kinds of plays have even happened to Isaac Bruce this year as well.  Hill hit Bruce for what would have been an easy first down—there was no one around Bruce—and he just didn't catch the ball.

What's even more troubling is the fact that the group of wide receivers that was supposed to be deep has only caught one touchdown this year in four games.

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The most receptions by anyone on the team is Davis at 17.  Beyond that, Davis leads the team in yards with 211, as well as touchdowns with three.

Yet, Frank Gore and Glenn Coffee combined have caught more passes than the leading wide receiver in catches, with 14 to Bruce's 13.  Besides Bruce, there are only two other receivers that have caught a pass this year, and they are Morgan and Arnaz Battle.  The two have 13 catches combined.

So, if the 49ers want to start beating the teams like the Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Falcons, the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles, they need a receiver to step up.

I hate to say it, but it seems that the depth at the wide receiver is non-existent.  The passing offense is almost exclusively geared to the tight end or running back, with an occasional pass to a wide receiver.

Looking at Davis and Gore, they've combined for 25 catches, whereas Bruce and Morgan have combined for 22 catches.  It's time for the 49ers to start utilizing their receivers.