Niners Can't Catch a Break at Wide Receiver

By Doug Williams
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:33 AM PDT
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PHOTOS: Eagles Lose to 49ers: By the Numbers

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Joshua Morgan, who led all 49ers WRs in catches, is likely out for the rest of the season. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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For a while, Michael Crabtree was hurting. Then Braylon Edwards went down. Now, Joshua Morgan is out, probably for the rest of the season.

Though the 49ers are a surprising 4-1 and leading the NFC West, their receiving corps has yet to be at full strength.

Morgan, who suffered a broken bone in his lower right leg Sunday in the 48-3 victory over Tampa Bay, had surgery Monday. He leads the team’s wide receivers with 15 catches for 220 yards. Edwards, meanwhile, is still out with a knee injury for perhaps the next two weeks. It’s expected he may return for the Oct. 30 game vs. the Browns, after a bye week.

But with the 5-0 Lions on deck this Sunday in Detroit, the 49ers suddenly are in the market to add another receiver.

One possibility, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, is to use tight end Delanie Walker more as a wideout. Walker (6-foot-2, 242 pounds) was a wide receiver at Central Missouri State, and says the coaching staff has talked to him about playing the position in the past. In college, Walker had 113 catches for 1,347 yards. This season, at tight end, he has nine catches for 103 yards and two TDs.

This Sunday, Crabtree and Ted Ginn will likely be the starters, with Kyle Williams as the third man.

Other options include promoting one of two practice squad wide receivers, Joe Hastings and John Matthews, reports Branch, or signing Dominique Zeigler or Lance Long, both cut in September.

Even when Edwards returns, it’s possible the 49ers need to add more depth to the position.

“We’ve been dodging bullets, which you always try to do,” head coach Jim Harbaugh told the Sacramento Bee. “You try to dodge bullets, and we didn’t dodge one on this occasion. Crab and Teddy and Kyle Williams – we feel very good about where they’re at, and excited, anticipating getting Braylon back. But I think best guess right now is another receiver is added to the 53 (roster).”

Walker, who says he’ll play whatever role he’s asked to play, says the loss of Morgan is big, but someone will step up.

“Josh Morgan is a big asset, and losing him is a big setback,” Walker told the Mercury News. “But we’ll make things happen.”

 

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