Michael Crabtree says last year’s QB change split the locker room

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree was a guest on the Rich Eisen podcast on the NFL Network and said that last year’s quarterback change split their locker room.

“I hate to talk about it. But you have the starting quarterback, and a couple of weeks later, he’s the starting scout-team quarterback,” Crabtree said on the Rich Eisen podcast on the NFL Network. “And he’s taking all the snaps with the scout team. It was kind of crazy to see.”

Earlier this week, Crabtree said on the NFL Network that Kaepernick “trusted me more” than Smith, which is why the receiver’s statistics were better later in the season.

Crabtree said the team’s locker room was initially in turmoil after coach Jim Harbaugh tapped Kaepernick to start in New Orleans on Nov. 25 over Smith, who had recovered from the concussion that gave Kaepernick his first start a week earlier.

“You had guys on Alex Smith’s side, guys on Colin Kaepernick’s side,” Crabtree said. “I was on the winning side. … You can’t beat the guy who was hot. Kap was hot. As soon as he came in, even though we lost that game – I think it was a tie, that game – he came in and it just went up from there. We were scoring that many more touchdowns. We were just going every drive it seemed like. … We had like a triple threat with Kap’s feet, the passing game and the running game.”

Crabtree said the team division went away when Kaepernick showed what he could do on the field. “I think Kap kind of won everybody over by winning,” he said.

Crabtree said Smith, who was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this month, “is a good guy.”

“I wish him success with the Chiefs, man.”

I think what made it difficult for the 49ers’ players to transition to Kaepernick is the fact that Smith wasn’t playing bad at all when he was benched.
In the end, the 49ers made the right move in keeping Kaepernick as their starter because he’s younger than Smith and has a lot more upside.