Morgan catching on as receiver
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Second-year receiver Josh Morgan had trouble remembering why he clashed with San Francisco offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye in the early going. These days Morgan is getting a lot of accolades from Raye.
Raye came to the 49ers with high expectations for Morgan, who had a fairly uneventful rookie season, starting once and appearing in 12 games last year.
“Josh and I got off to a rocky start,” Raye said Thursday. “I pressured him a little bit too hard.”
Morgan called it a misunderstanding.
“I can’t remember how it went down,” he said. “I just remember it being a misunderstanding.”
Raye hopes it’s helped push Morgan to achieve better things.
“He has a chance to ascend to the next level of wide receiver,” Raye said. “Since I’ve been here, of all the guys I inherited, he’s come the farthest. He’s the most improved, productive guy.”
Morgan, who has started every game, caught a career-high seven passes in the 49ers’ 27-13 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. He has 22 receptions in his last four games after catching 24 in his first 10. He caught his third touchdown pass of the season against the Eagles, matching last year’s total.
“I think I just got more comfortable with the way he wanted me to be,” Morgan said. “I am held accountable for making plays when I have the ball and when I’m blocking for (Michael) Crabtree or (Vernon) Davis. If I get my assignment wrong, the whole play goes bad.”
Morgan played in a run-oriented offense at Virginia Tech, where he made 90 career receptions, more than half in his senior year. With the 49ers he’s getting a chance to compete and will return next year with the same offensive system in place, something Morgan anticipates eagerly.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “It’s something to build on. A change always means a whole new offense and it takes time to learn. Getting recognition from the coaches will motivate you. It makes you want to work harder.”
Morgan also returns kickoffs, which he said is “my chance to imitate Frank Gore.”
Davis, who like Morgan was raised in Washington D.C., is tied for the NFL with 11 touchdowns receiving with Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.
“We are tight end friendly,” Raye said. “If I’m surprised, I’m pleasantly surprised by it. He has the ability to run down the middle of the field and he’s very productive in the red area.”