Coming into the season, the San Francisco 49ers lacked depth at the wide receiver position. Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon during the off season, and Mario Manningham is still rehabbing his torn ACL and PCL he suffered last year. The Niners were going to have to rely on rookies (Quinton Patton, Vance McDonald) and unproven receivers (Marlon Moore, Kyle Williams) this season.
The Niners did make one off season move that might have cured their wide receiver depth, a proven receiver and 49ers rival that they knew well from his early years in Arizona to his latter in Baltimore. That man was Anquan Boldin and he was coming to San Francisco.
Boldin torched the 49ers in the Super Bowl where he caught six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown but the Ravens could not afford him on the roster so they asked him to take a pay cut. Boldin refused so Ravens coach John Harbaugh gift-wrapped Boldin to the 49ers in exchange for a 6th round pick and absorption of the $7 million remaining on his contract. The Ravens thought was Boldin was at the tail end of his career and he would not produce like he did in previous years. They were wrong.
The move paid dividends immediately for the 49ers in week one, with Boldin catching 13 passes for 208 yards in 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers. Niners’ fans suspected it would take some time for Boldin to adjust to Colin Kaepernick’s style of play because Vernon Davis, was never on the same page with Kaepernick last season. Davis never could adjust to the velocity Kaepernick put on his passes and fans expected the same for Boldin.
Instead Boldin caught almost everything thrown his way, making one-handed catches, catches in traffic, and catching a slant for a touchdown after a mistake by Packers linebacker, Clay Matthews. Boldin is not the fastest receiver, but last Sunday against the Pack, he proved he can catch the ball in traffic.
Boldin, 32, is now in his 11th year in the league and looks to be Kaepernick’s new go-to-guy with Michael Crabtree out indefinitely. Boldin looks to have much more in the tank than his former team thought and the 49ers will look to take advantage of it. With Boldin now apart of the receiving corps, the 49ers will be tough force for anyone to stop in the NFC West and the NFL.