Mailbag: Assessing young receivers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt from Seattle writes: Sando, after hitting up the Rams camp who looks to step into the big hole Isaac Bruce leaves behind? Also I heard Logan Payne broke a rib during the scrimmage do you know his time table? thanks

Mike Sando: Drew Bennett probably fills the spot on the Rams' depth chart, but I don't see anyone immediately filling the void Bruce leaves. Al Saunders did address the receivers a bit in an interview I posted this morning.

As for broken ribs, they hurt for a long time and that's just the way it goes (easy for me to say). None of the young receivers in Seattle's camp can afford to miss an extended period. Now is the time to hit stride. That's what Ben Obomanu is doing.

Mark from Rochester, N.Y., writes: You have given us lots of first- and third-person accounts of how amazing Josh Morgan has been in the 49ers' training camp. You also go on the record as repeatedly telling your readers not to read too much into it. Is Morgan making these plays as a result of his great physical ability, or is he performing well because he has grasped the Mike Martz offense and is making all the right mental decisions? I think there is a huge difference between the two. The former is not unlike a scouting combine star, where the latter is good reason to get 49ers fans excited that could boom or bust either way about a possible draft-day steal like Marques Colston. Players' mental abilities are what separate NFL-quality backups from NFL-quality starters.

Mike Sando: That is a good question. The descriptions I've heard have dealt mostly with big plays, and that would suggest the physical part. According to Mike Martz, Morgan still makes some mistakes, but he is making progress.

You are right about not reading too much into what rookie receivers do early in camp. In this case, the 49ers haven't been shy about praising him, and I want to pass that along. It's a little unusual because teams know rookies often fail to sustain fast starts. The 49ers sense otherwise with Morgan. They think they've found an impact player.

Colin from Seattle writes: Mike- I know LeCharles Bentley was released b/c he wanted a place to start but what do you think about him going to the seahawks with there recent injuries/retirement at center?
Mike Sando: Just a thought, but the Seahawks seem to have enough injured offensive linemen already. Putting Bentley and Floyd Womack on the same team might not be a good idea. Seriously, I haven't heard anything about Bentley and Seattle to this point. I think the Seahawks -- and a lot of teams -- would have interest in a healthy Bentley. But is he healthy?

Jim from Ellensburg, Wash., writes: Thanks for all the coverage, Mike. Us out in the unknown West really appreciate all of the well-covered updates that we go without during the year. I'm curious about the Seahawks this year. Every other post I read about them seems to be about the defense getting the jump on the offense in some way. I'm wondering, should I be this concerned about the offense, or that much more excited about the defense?
Mike Sando: You should be cautiously optimistic about an offense that could become more versatile given personnel changes at running back and tight end. You should be concerned about depth on the offensive line now that Chris Gray isn't there as a security blanket. You should be excited about the defense but also hopeful that Patrick Kerney can squeeze another mostly injury-free season from his 31-year-old body.

Michael from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., writes: First off I would like to say how great a job you are doing with your coverage of the NFC west. I'm stuck on the couch after surgery and I look forward to it daily. My question is in regard to the knee injury suffered by "big play babs." He plays an important role in the seahawks secondary and we would hate to have anything serious happen to him. what's the word?
Mike Sando: Thank you, sir. We are still awaiting word on MRI results for both players. Coach Mike Holmgren did not sound particularly concerned about those injuries. I was not out at practice today, but I'll check.

Jonathan from Seattle writes: Hey Mike, do you think Seattle will sign John Lynch? I think he would be a great addition to improve a shaky secondary.
Mike Sando: Lynch has a history with Seahawks president Tim Ruskell, but remember, Lynch is leaving Denver because he wants a shot at more playing time. Seattle appears pretty set at the position, despite your concerns.

I would also wonder about Lynch's neck situation. Here is what I wrote in 2004 about the Seahawks' interest in Lynch at that time: "The Seahawks considered former Tampa Bay starter John Lynch for the job, but concerns about a lingering neck injury complicated negotiations. Lynch subsequently signed with the Denver Broncos."

Lynch might have overplayed his hand here. He left the Broncos because he wanted more playing time. That's OK, but is there another team willing to let him play as much as the Broncos had planned? I'm not so sure.

Williambryan from Vancouver, Wash., writes: I noticed you have Eric Wicks listed as a linebacker on your roster analysis. Wasn't he signed as an undrafted safety out of WV? Has he been playing as a linebacker?
Mike Sando: I had him listed as a safety when they signed him, but the Seahawks are listing him as a linebacker on the roster I picked up from them Monday. That's what I used in putting together this roster analysis. It's an upset if he earns a roster spot.

DCHaines from Oshkosh, Wis., writes: Brett Favre will always be a Packer in my heart. This has become a power struggle with Ted Thompson flexing his might. If they trade Farve,I will no longer be a Packer fan. Let's do what is best for the team by keeping Favre! When Rogers starts losing games blame Thompson! Let the best man play. Rogers will be the future but not yet. There best chance this season is with Bret unless they just don't care. I hate to say it but if Brett goes to Minnesota I will be rooting for Favre and the Vikings!!!!!!
Mike Sando: The NFC North has apparently traded the Packers to the NFC West for unspecified mailbag considerations.