Michael Crabtree's surprising knowledge of terminology, formations and pass routes explains why he could see more playing time than once expected Sunday.
That was the word Thursday from 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye.
"From where we originally started and what I said early on to you about starting him with a small package and playing 11 personnel package, we determined that it was (best) ... to let him go at 'X' in terms of practice and see how much he could retain and what kind of physical conditioning he was in and make the decision based on his availability that way," Raye told reporters.
Translation: The 49ers initially planned to work Crabtree into the one-back, one tight end personnel grouping the team used almost exclusively on third down before falling behind against the Falcons in Week 5. The decision was subsequently made to let Crabtree take over the split end or "X" position across all personnel groups, at least in practice.