Around the NFC West: Cutdown day looms
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic takes a stab at the Cardinals' 53-man roster. He favors Sean Morey over Lance Long for the sixth receiving spot. He saves a spot for Pat Ross because the team is low on depth at center. He can't find a spot for Joe Tafoya. He makes room for Monty Beisel and Ali Highsmith.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says safety Eric Bassey might have earned a roster spot after forcing a fumble in the Rams' final exhibition game. I figured Bassey would make it anyway given depth issues in the secondary. Center Nick Leckey was the only projected opening-day starter to play for the Rams in this game.
Also from Thomas: Running back Steven Jackson can void the final two years of his new six-year deal by averaging 1,200 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving over the first four seasons.
And this from Thomas: The Rams' radio headsets did not work against the Chiefs. Coach Scott Linehan: "We are running plays like they do in high school."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' special teams struggled against the Chiefs. That can happen with so many backups playing. Kicker Josh Brown missed a 40-yard field-goal try. That would have been no big deal in the past, but money changes everything. Coats: "In a downpour, Brown pushed the ball wide right, a rare miss for the highest-paid kicker in NFL history."
Also from Coats: Marques Hagans caught four passes for 47 yards in a last-ditch effort to secure a roster spot at receiver.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer checks in with the Seahawks' bubble players. The situation at receiver continues to intrigue. Farnsworth expects Bobby Engram and Deion Branch to miss the regular-season opener.
Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune expects Justin Forsett to play extensively with the Seattle starters tonight. The rookie running back has been working with the first unit in practice this week. Forsett appears headed to the practice squad if the Seahawks cut him.
Jose Romero of the Seattle Times describes Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu as confident despite weak preseason stats. Obomanu, who is on the bubble for a job at receiver, put it this way: "Catching passes in a preseason game doesn't always tell the story of whether you're doing a good job." Obomanu caught eight passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the 2007 exhibition season. Each of those figures led the team. He earned a roster spot but was not active for the regular-season opener.
Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star covered Trent Green's return to Arrowhead Stadium, but there wasn't much to see. The Rams gave Green three snaps, then replaced him with Brock Berlin.
Dan Brown of 49ers Hot Read takes a closer look at the team's receivers. How bad were they last season? Well, three NFL players finished with more receiving yards than the 49ers as a team in 2007. Brown lists the current receivers in this order: Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle, Josh Morgan, Ashley Lelie, Jason Hill, Dominique Zeigler, Cam Colvin, Jerard Rabb and Robert Ortiz. I might put them in this order: Bruce, Battle, Johnson, Morgan, Hill and Lelie. And I do think the 49ers want to keep six, a good number for the Mike Martz offense.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider projects five receivers hanging around on the 49ers' cutdown to 53 players. At other positions, he expects Moran Norris and Marcus Hudson to miss the cut.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee outlines positions of interest heading into the 49ers' final exhibition game: receiver, fullback, outside linebacker and defensive back. He thinks Roderick Green and Tully Banta-Cain will stick around.
Also from Barrows: an in-depth look at the 49ers' defensive linemen. He sticks up for rookie first-round choice Kentwan Balmer. I see his point. Balmer plays a low-profile position (defensive end in a 3-4 scheme). He's not going to gain much notice even if he's playing well. Ask Bryant Young. He became invisible when the 49ers went from 4-3 to 3-4, but that didn't mean he was playing poorly. The position simply specializes in grunt work.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says this is a brutal time of the year for players on the bubble. But as J.T. O'Sullivan has proved, persistence can pay off. NFL teams have waived O'Sullivan five times, Maiocco notes.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' starting offense might play only a series in the exhibition finale. FitzGerald's bubble players include: Norris, Thomas Clayton, Ashley Lelie, Roderick Green, Larry Grant, Marcus Hudson, Zeigler and Brian de la Puente.