Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/20/14

While most of the talk surrounding the 49ers contest against the Green Bay Packers this coming Sunday is in regards to the high powered Packers offense versus the 49ers stingy defense, there is a drifting air that could suggest a surprising role reversal for the game. The moves that the 49ers made this off-season with their receiving core could ultimately dictate the eventual outcome. There are a host of new faces in the receiving unit looking to contribute and to become the feature playmaker for the 49ers.

Randy Moss is once again looking to prove himself, which is not a good thing for opposing defenses. Moss, who sat out last season due to retirement, has always been at his best when he has a challenge in front of him. The eventual Hall of Famer has big play potential and has a football IQ that is second to none. He has looked crisp in practices as well as in his limited play in pre-season games. He remains a constant threat whenever he takes the field. So much confidence has been bestowed on him that he enters Sunday’s contest as the starting and feature wide receiver for the 49ers.

Michael Crabtree will line up opposite Moss as the starter for the Green Bay game. However, that role is not a guarantee for Crabtree, he has to increase his production considerably to maintain his starting spot. He is fending off four other hungry and rejuvenated wide receivers looking to step into the starting role. While he did amass 874 yards in receptions last year, it was among a wide receiver unit that was not nearly as deep last year. This is his year to prove his worth.

If Crabtree does not live up to expectations, there is one Mario Manningham nipping at his heels. After coming off a Super Bowl victory with the New York Giants, Manningham is poised and ready to take on the responsibilities of being a starter in this league. Last year with the Giants he played second fiddle to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, and still had a stellar year. His standout play in crucial moments for the Giants had him high on the totem pole of free agents this year. Manningham has the potential to be the feature wide receiver in San Francisco, its up to Moss and Crabtree to produce well enough to keep their starting roles.

Kyle Williams has earned the other second string wide receiver spot for the 49ers. After coming off a sub par regular season in 2011 and a dismal performance in the playoffs, Williams has taken great strides to improve his game. Last year he was so far down the depth charts, his play rarely made a difference in any of the 49ers contests. It seems that only his bad play had any real effect on the outcomes. This year Williams is focused and determined to contribute to the team in a positive way. It’s the very reason he has moved past a starter from last year’s squad on the depth chart.

On the other hand, Ted Ginn Jr. has watched his stock fall from last year. A starter for the 49ers in 2011, he has fallen back to the third string wide receiver for the group. Once a viable threat in the offenses for the 49ers and Miami Dolphins, it appears that he may have gotten complacent with his drive to produce. Last year he was never really an option. He most certainly has the talent to contribute, but the road ahead of him is lined with very driven individuals. Just like Crabtree, this is Ginns year to prove that he belongs on an NFL football team.

Rounding out the receiving team is rookie A. J. Jenkins, the 49ers first round draft pick in 2011. The potential for this young man is high for the 49ers. He is as focused as any veteran on the team, and is looking to contribute right away. His stock will undoubtedly rise as the season wears on. Starters be leery, this kid has the potential to make big things happen, and could steal a seat at the head of the table.

With so many wide receivers looking to make a name for themselves on this 49ers team, it is not out of the question that Sunday’s game holds a surprise air attack by the Niners. With out question, the Packers defensive backs have to be ready for anything.  

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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