1.)Introduction: The first image many Green Bay Packers fans may have of tight end Tom Crabtree from the 2010 season would be of tight end in training camp just trying to make the season opening roster.
The final image of the season would have to be the Drew Brees-like image of Crabtree holding his son in the air with confetti falling after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
Crabtree has been described as a project in the receiving game, but in the blocking department he was looked upon as an immediate contributor.
Such would be his role with the Packers in 2010.
Thomas Louis Crabtree
Height: 6-5 Weight: 244 lbs.
Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 1 (11873rd overall since 1950)
3.) Expectations entering 2010 season: In a word, none. With Jermichael Finley a budding superstar and the veteran Donald Lee behind Finley, not much was expected of Crabtree this season. In fact, he was not even a lock to make the active roster with rookie Andrew Quarless behind him.
When the dust settled, Crabtree made the 2010 Packers but not much was expected of this third stringer unless some weird rash of injuries broke out.
Like that would ever happen.
4. ) Highlights/Lowlights: When you only catch four passes in a season, you obviously won’t show up much on SportsCenter during Packer highlights. But for one his grabs, Crabtree definitely made the highlight reel.
Crabtree’s first (and so far only) NFL touchdown reception came in the NFC Wild Card against the Philadelphia Eagles. In a game that went back and forth and eventually came down to the wire, Crabtree’s touchdown reception was key to the Packers successfully starting their run to Super Bowl XLV.
One of his lowlights shouldn’t even really be a lowlight, but the record book will stand forever in history. On a Steelers punt return, Crabtree was flagged for a 15 yard facemasking penalty enough though replays clearly show that Crabtree at no time had his hands on a Steelers facemask and instead had a fistful of jersey.
Still, anytime your number is called for a penalty and hundreds of millions of people are watching, it’s a lowlight.
5.) Contributions to the overall team success: Well, he obviously made a big enough impact to have Ted Thompson bring him back for next season. Crabtree’s role was minimal until Finley went down and even then, his contributions in the stat column are still small.
That said, sometimes contributions can’t be measured in numbers alone. Crabtree embodied the team’s “next man up” mantra as injuries began to mount. He had enough physical gifts to help solidify a special teams unit that had some low moments (Dan Connolly anyone?). On offense, while still learning the pass catching aspect of it, he played a role as a blocker on more and more downs as offensive linemen continued to struggle with injury.
6.) Contributions during the end-of-season six-game run: Aside from the aforementioned catch in the wild card game against the Eagles, Crabtree’s blocking skills were key in the emergence of James Starks in the postseason as well as the protection of QB Aaron Rodgers. While the numbers may not stick out, Crabtree got it done in the trenches. Those players are unsung heroes, but heroes nonetheless
Season Report Card:
Level of expectations met during the season (Incomplete)
Contributions to team’s overall success (C)
Contributions to the team’s successful playoff run (B-)
Overall grade: C+——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke