San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh fielded questions at a press conference Tuesday, just two days before the 49ers' final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Among other topics, Harbaugh talked about the return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the role of his starters in Thursday's game and the awesomeness of Frank Gore.
Asked about Crabtree and a possible return to the field prior to Thursday's final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Harbaugh had this to say: "We'll see how it comes along. Like I said the other day, we'll see just how quickly he's able to re-acclimate into playing shape, football shape, and back into the flow of playing."
It looks like Crabtree and the 49ers are (wisely) easing Crabtree back into the flow. Don't expect the 49ers to rush Crabtree back and have him play significant minutes on Thursday. If Crabtree does play, he is likely to see just a few snaps in order to avoid any further injury this close to the 2011 season.
Harbaugh may play his starters on the offensive line more often than usual in a preseason finale, though. Harbaugh, addressing the possibility of extend playing time for his linesmen, said, "I think it's possible. We're trying to really hit a count of close to 80 to 100 plays in the preseason. We can't predict exactly how it's going to go but it will be more predicated on that than anything else."
It seems interesting that Harbaugh has a set goal of snaps in mind for his linesmen. Nevertheless, this may turn out to be the best method of preparation for the regular season since team scrimmages can only help so much.
Finally, Harbaugh had only positive words for running back Frank Gore, and this quote comes before the news of Gore's new three-year, $21 million extension: "The guy is awesome. Somebody should do a movie. Somebody should do the Frank Gore story, because it's an awesome story."
I can only imagine that Harbaugh is happier now that Gore has signed the extension. Harbaugh gets to work with a happy, content Gore as the season draws closer.
The 49ers will take on the Chargers at 7:00 Pacific Time on Thursday. The game will be played in San Diego.