San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh recently retracted from a statement he made to former Oakland Raiders signal-caller Rich Gannon regarding Randy Moss being the best wide receiver on the team, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Harbaugh cleared up the confusion, clarifying that a No. 1 receiver has not been named and the original statement was made in reference to Moss’ performance in a specific drill during OTAs this offseason.
“What we have here on this team, really, we’ve got five guys who are No. 1 receivers as we go into camp, Harbaugh said. ”It will play out what the roles are, who the starters are, who the backups, the contributors.”
Having five guys in the running for the No. 1 job allows Harbaugh and company the opportunity to get the best out of each of the 49ers’ receivers, using the starting spots as leverage as they instill their system.
There are plenty of other weapons on offense, including wide outs Kyle Williams and Brett Swain, along with undrafted receiver Chris Owusu (who Harbaugh coached at Stanford), as well as Brandon Jacobs, Frank Gore and the very versatile and lethal speedster LaMichael James out of the backfield and Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis at tight end.
Harbaugh’s unorthodox coaching decisions are frequently criticized and questioned—as often expected—but he gets results, which are capable of exceeding anyone’s wildest expectations. After San Francisco spent the previous eight seasons underachieving in a watered down division, he came from Stanford University and gave the team a chance to compete.
As GridironGrit.com’s Law Murray pointed out in early May, Harbaugh coaxed a career year out of former first-round pick QB Alex Smith (No. 1 overall in 2005), who completed 273 of 445 passes for 3,144 yards with a 61.3 completion percentage, 90.7 passer rating at 7.1 yards per attempt and 17 touchdowns to five interceptions ratio.
In addition, the Niners struck gold on the ground with Frank Gore leading the way and Harbaugh helped to elevate an already solid defense to finish fourth in total defense, lead the NFL against the run and second in points allowed, giving up the fewest points in franchise history since the 1984 49ers, also a 15-1 Super Bowl squad.
The results were a 13-3 regular season record, a thrilling postseason victory over the New Orleans Saints and an equally heartbreaking overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game against the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.