SANTA CLARA — Michael Crabtree's self-esteem is better than ever, and he credits his new 49ers wingman for that.
“He makes me feel like I can be myself,” Crabtree said of free agent addition Randy Moss. “You can learn from a guy like that. You don't have to change for nobody. All you have to do is be yourself and play your game.”
Crabtree and Moss are slated to be the 49ers' starting wideouts for Sunday's season opener at Green Bay after the team released its depth chart Tuesday.
Crabtree has taken an obvious shine to Moss since the first time they stepped on the practice field together April 30.
That bond showed Thursday night as they went through a synchronized, pregame warm-up before the exhibition finale. Their lockers are on the opposite sides of the 49ers' facility, but Crabtree obviously has found a comfortable mentor.
“Man, I learned so much from him,” Crabtree said. “That's my dude.”
Moss, a 14th-year veteran, is returning from a one-year hiatus that followed his 2010 tour-of-duty with three teams: the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is well aware of the 49ers' offseason passing game makeover, which also included the additions of Mario Manningham and first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins.
“They've definitely changed their personnel on the perimeter on offense,” McCarthy said. “. . . We actually spent two days practicing for the 49ers in training camp, so we've had a chance to practice some of the concepts that we want to use in this game.”
Upon reporting to training camp, Moss said the youthful receiving corps had given him a “pep in his step.” The 49ers will be looking for Moss, Crabtree, Manningham and the rest to energize a passing attack that ranked 29th last season
“I see the expectations we have for one another, and as a whole unit, we set the bar high,” Moss said July 27, the last time he's held a news conference. “The good thing is we come to work, everybody is attentive, taking notes, asking questions. Everybody is a professional athlete. The sky is the limit.”