Crabtree, Mediocre Receiver?

Written by Russell on. Posted in All, Seahawks, Sports

It has only been a week and a half since Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks became a household name. While his play on the field this season should have made this possible, it was actually a 45 second adrenaline fueled rant to Erin Andrews moments after his team won the NFC Championship game that made this possible.

During the post game interview (or rant) he told America that he was the best corner in the game and that Crabtree was a mediocre receiver. His comments have become all the craze and for a variety of reasons that I won’t try to get into, many feel that Sherman is a trash talking villain.

I try to avoid being judgmental in all areas of my life. Something I learned along time ago is that nobody is perfect and I make as many mistakes as the next guy and it is in my best interest to avoid being judgmental. That being said, I will absolutely look at raw data and facts to form opinions. I do this in business, sports, and virtually all other possible areas.

After hearing Colin Kaepernick earlier today say he’d make this pass 100 out of 100 times and that he has no issue throwing the ball to Crabtree while being covered by Sherman, I decided to see if Crabtree is actually a mediocre receiver or not.

All season long we’ve been hearing about how bad the Seahawks receivers are. Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate have been called average at best, pedestrian, and appetizers by the so called NFL experts we get to watch on TV prior to every game. So if Crabtree was on the Seahawks, would his numbers be any better than our receivers?

2013 is a bit of a tough season to evaluate for Crabtree has he returned half way through the year after recovering from an Achilles injury. Including the playoffs, we saw Crabtree for a total of 8 games. This is what the SF receivers did in 2013.

2013 SF Receiving Stats
PLAYER REC TAR YDS TD REC% AVG YDS/REC AVG YDS/G
Anquan Boldin 101 157 1406 8 64% 13.9 74.0
Michael Crabtree 34 61 487 1 56% 14.3 60.9
Vernon Davis 57 98 904 15 58% 15.9 50.2

Since Crabtree was recovering from his injury we really ought to look at what happened in 2012. In 2012, Crabtree was definitely without a doubt the number one receiver in San Francisco. He had twice as many targets as the next guy (Davis) and the third option for Kaepernick was Mario Manningham who essentially was non-existent this year.

2012 SF Receiving Stats
PLAYER REC TAR YDS TD REC% AVG YDS/REC AVG YDS/G
Michael Crabtree 105 154 1390 13 68% 13.2 73.2
Vernon Davis 53 80 802 6 66% 15.1 42.2

As the number one receiver in San Fransisco, Crabtree did have a very good year. He had the 14th most yards of any WR in the NFL and was 11th in touchdowns. He ranked 52nd in the NFL for average yards per reception. That being said, would you say these stats make you elite? I don’t think so. But based on his data from 2012, I wouldn’t call him mediocre either. If I were drafting a fantasy football team for the 2012 season, I’d likely take at least 15 receivers before Crabtree.

So what do Crabtree’s stats look like in games vs. the Seattle Seahawks since 2012?

2012 & 2013 Crabtree Receiving Stats vs. Seattle
PLAYER REC TAR YDS TD REC% AVG YDS/REC AVG YDS/G
Michael Crabtree 16 31 188 0 52% 11.8 47.0

In four games against the Seahawks, Crabtree had 16 receptions for a total of 188 yards. Averaging 47 yards per game is really nothing to get too excited about, especially with 0 touchdowns. When you consider he was the number one target in 2012 with virtually no supporting cast and he still only pulled in a total of 8 catches for 92 yards I think mediocre is being pretty darn nice. The so called experts in the NFL have truly bashed the Seahawks receivers all year. This is what the Seahawks receivers did in 2013.

2013 SEA Receiving Stats
PLAYER REC TAR YDS TD REC% AVG YDS/REC AVG YDS/G
Golden Tate 69 109 942 5 63% 13.7 52.3
Doug Baldwin 58 83 914 5 70% 15.8 50.8
Jermaine Kearse 25 45 377 5 56% 15.1 20.9

Both Baldwin and Tate have clearly outperformed Crabtree in 2013 (yes he was recovering from an injury). If we take Crabtree’s stats from 2012 and 2013 vs. the Seahawks, Baldwin and Tate’s numbers have clearly outpaced Crabtree’s. Kearse is obviously not a primary target in the Seahawks offense. So far in 2013 he has only been targeted 45 times. But if you were to give Kearse the same number of targets as Crabtree, he’d likely end up with the same number of receptions and would likely have slightly more yards than Crabtree. Would any NFL expert or NFL quarterback such as Kaepernick make a claim that Jermaine Kearse is an elite receiver? I think most would agree that Kearse is a decent #4 WR in the NFL, but he isn’t anyone’s primary dish and he might not even by an appetizer you would order at your favorite restaurant.

So all that being said, is Crabtree mediocre? Is he elite? I think that in 2013, Crabtree looked like a mediocre receiver. This could have been in part because of his recovery from the injury. But if we take this a step further, Crabtree had virtually no help in 2012 where as in 2013 we saw the re-emergence of Vernon Davis as a formidable threat in the passing game and also the acquisition of Anquan Boldin. You would think that with more weapons on offense, Crabtree would be primed to have a bigger season. Yet the numbers actually suggest that he had a worse year in 2013 than he did in 2012. His yards were down by about 15 yards per game, he averaged just .13 touchdowns per game in 2013 which was down from .68 touchdowns in 2012.

In closing I will say this. Crabtree had a heck of a year in 2012 and I don’t think I would call him mediocre. But the Seahawks have clearly made Crabtree look mediocre.

 

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