Josh Morgan has always been a player that San Francisco 49ers fans were excited about. Back when he was just "Josh", and not "Joshua", most considered him to be a steal in the draft after he fell due to a character issue or two. None figured he'd be the one to break out in his rookie season, but again, most were of the opinion that the guy had a lot of potential. There was a future for him on the 49ers' receiving corps.
He'd come in and get up respectable yardage, but never did quite break out. Last season, I described Morgan as a receiver who would manage to make one amazing play a game, and make one starting corner look absolutely silly per game, but a player who still would manage to be unremarkable. Each year has been better than the last, but he always did just enough to not leave an impression on you.
Unless he was talking about passes coming down like punts, but then again, every other conversation with Mike Singletary ended up being buzzworthy.
But 2011 has been a lot different. Much was said in the offseason about Jim Harbaugh and his West Coast Offense, and the return of the slant route. Many talked about Michael Crabtree and how he'd fit in with it, but it's Morgan who's excelled thus far. He had a 30-yard touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, which sparked the second-half comeback. It came from a short slant that Morgan took straight up the field for a touchdown.
He also caught a couple good passes in the other games, each time looking very quick and agile after catching the ball, and leaping to make some catches at the sidelines, as well. In short, Morgan has looked like the guy who should be breaking out right about now, but he was in late in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, even though it was out of reach and San Francisco had the game in the bag, was injured on a pass play on fourth down.
It sucks, it really does, there's no eloquent way to put it. Morgan was doing much better and appeared to be ahead of Crabtree on the depth chart. His contract is up at the end of the season, and there's probably going to be a bit of a market for Morgan based on, believe it or not, the few games we've played thus far in 2011. It's possible that Harbaugh feels the same way, as he's talked about wanting Morgan back for 2012.
Well, 49ers fans should want him back, too. Maybe in his absence, Crabtree will grow into his top-ten pick billing and Braylon Edwards will earn another contract. That's irrelevant, because Morgan would fit nicely as the third or even second receiver in that situation. His recovery is expected, and if you're a fan, his return should be, too.