Michael Crabtree Works To Find His Place With Cardinals

New Cardinals wide receiver Michael Crabtree walks to his first practice with the team on Monday.
New Cardinals wide receiver Michael Crabtree walks to his first practice with the team on Monday.

How quickly Michael Crabtree will be able to provide help to the Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been determined yet.

The veteran wide receiver, who officially signed Sunday and practiced for the first time Monday, acknowledged that while there are concepts of the offense with which he’s familiar because of the Texas Tech roots he has, “it’s still Kliff Kingsbury’s offense,” Crabtree said. “It’s going to take me a little time.”

Even Kingsbury wasn’t making any proclamations about the soon-to-be 32-year-old.

“He’s played a lot of football in this league, and when he plays, we just want him to be as comfortable as possible,” Kingsbury said. “We will see where that is at, as far as conditioning, knowledge of our system, execution in the system. We want him to be at a top level before we put him out there. He understands the plan we have for him.”

The plan, at some point, will be to drop Crabtree into an offense with Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and – as it’s looking right now – rookie KeeSean Johnson and/or Trent Sherfield at wide receiver.

First, Crabtree needs to get in shape (he called himself “day-to-day” in that process). But he also didn’t hesitate in backing his new teammates or his new coach in terms of potential offensive success.

“I have all the confidence in the world in Kliff, whether I was here or not,” Crabtree said. “It’s the offense that he has.”

Crabtree is well-known to Cardinals’ fans, having played the first six years of his career with the 49ers. Heading into his 11th NFL season, Crabtree had 54 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns in 2018 for the Ravens, a team that severely cut back on its passing game after installing rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson as starter. Crabtree had 41 catches in nine starts from veteran Joe Flacco and only 13 in the seven starts of Jackson.

Crabtree had 89 catches for 1,003 yards as recently as 2016 while playing for the Raiders. In his career, Crabtree has 663 catches for 7,477 yards and 54 touchdowns. He played coy when asked about why it took a couple of weeks between the time he worked out for the Cardinals and him agreeing to a contract.

Pointed out that it was reported that he came in after the Cardinals raised their financial package, Crabtree simply said, “Whatever you think.”

“If they needed me or wanted me, they had my number,” Crabtree added.

He declined to talk about any other interest he might’ve had from other teams, noting he has a “to-do list on my wall.” He also wouldn’t bite on a couple of questions regarding his on-field battles, football and otherwise, with Rams cornerback Aqib Talib and 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

“I know what you’re trying to get to, but we’re not going to go there,” he said.

The ability to work with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray also excites the wide receiver.

“Not to diss anyone else but he’s got it,” Crabtree said. “I’m at his disposal, just another receiver. Just want to do the best I can do.”

NOTES ON REDDICK, CENTER, AND THE SNAP CLAP

Kingsbury said “it’s going to be close” whether linebacker Haason Reddick (knee) will be ready for the first game of the regular season. Reddick said he doesn’t know if he can play against the Lions, but in terms of returning to the field, “I think it’ll be really, really soon.” Kingsbury said veteran Joe Walker played well as a starter in place of Reddick. …

Kingsbury said the Cardinals will “try not to have any starters go” against Denver Thursday. Brett Hundley will start at quarterback. …

A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole will not play in Denver. Kingsbury said a starting center will be named next week …

Kingsbury was asked about the snap clap issues and what else he had heard from the NFL. “The league isn’t too keen about us talking about those conversations,” he said, reiterating “I don’t expect it to be a problem for us moving forward.”

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