When I asked Crabtree if he thought throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry, he asked, "Who's the quarterback?" When I responded, Alex Smith, Crabtree said, "He's the quarterback? I'm just asking."The 49ers are expected to re-sign Smith once the lockout ends, and the former first overall pick is in possession of Jim Harbaugh's playbook. Smith has been throwing to 49ers receivers throughout the lockout, and it's pretty obvious that Smith will be "The Man" in San Francisco, at least for the 2011 season.
Crabtree has been working out in the Bay Area for two months, and is certainly aware that Smith has been organizing these workouts. Crabtree assuredly talks to the 49ers receivers (Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn, etc...) who are attending the workouts. Crabtree's lack of attendance and uncertainty as to who the quarterback could suggests that there's a frostiness to his relationship with Smith which could potentially undermine the leadership that Smith has attempted to demonstrate during the lockout.
What's unclear is why there would be a rift between the two.
In 27 career games, Crabtree has been targeted 187 times and has 103 receptions for 1,366 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith has been the quarterback for 22 of those games, with Crabtree catching 88 of the 157 passes Smith has thrown his way for 1,122 yards and five touchdowns.
This will certainly be a relationship to watch when the lockout ends and camp opens up.