Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Around the NFC West: Parsing depth charts
By Mike Sando
Good morning, NFC West. We've got initial 2013 depth charts to consider now that teams have produced them prior to exhibition openers this week.
Let's dive right in with a few thoughts.
Arizona Cardinals: The team lists two starting tight ends, reflecting coach Bruce Arians' belief that a second tight end affords greater flexibility than a fullback. ... Michael Floyd is the No. 2 receiver opposite Larry Fitzgerald, with Andre Roberts in the No. 3 role. ... Three of the players listed as starting offensive linemen -- left tackle Levi Brown, left guard Jonathan Cooper and right tackle Eric Winston -- did not start a game for the team last season. ... John Abraham is not listed as a starter, but he will obviously "start" in the nickel defense, at least. ... Jerraud Powers is listed as the starting corner opposite Patrick Peterson, with Antoine Cason behind Powers.
St. Louis Rams: Chris Givens and Austin Pettis are listed as the starting wide receivers. Tavon Austin is obviously going to play a lot. Brian Quick enjoyed a strong showing in practice Monday. ... Shelley Smith is listed as the starting left guard ahead of Chris Williams. That job remains up for grabs. ... Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead are the top two running backs, in that order, but we need to see them play. ... The Rams list Eric Stevens as the starting fullback, but this probably isn't going to be much of a two-back team. I'd expect Lance Kendricks to play extensively as the second tight end, and in lieu of a fullback. Kendricks has to get healthy first. ... Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree is in the lineup and looking like a three-down player already. ... Darian Stewart and rookie third-round choice T.J. McDonald are the starting safeties. There hasn't been much drama at those spots, but let's see how McDonald fares in the preseason.
San Francisco 49ers: The offensive lineup comes with no surprises. Kyle Williams is listed as the receiver opposite Anquan Boldin. Let's see whether A.J. Jenkins can factor there. ... The defense is also pretty well set. Note that Ian Williams is listed as the starting nose tackle over Glenn Dorsey. I don't think that means much. Both are going to play extensively in an expanded rotation. ... C.J. Spillman is listed as the starting free safety, with rookie first-round pick Eric Reid second. That competition remains open. Craig Dahl is listed as the backup strong safety. ... The depth chart still has Chris Culliver as the backup to left corner Carlos Rogers, but Culliver is out with a torn ACL. Tramaine Brock is the early favorite to become the third corner. ... Colt McCoy is the second quarterback, no surprise.
Seattle Seahawks: Paul McQuistan (left) and J.R. Sweezy (right) are listed as the starting guards over early 2011 draft choices James Carpenter and John Moffitt. Carpenter left practice with an apparent injury Monday. ... Rookie Spencer Ware, considered a potential threat to Michael Robinson at fullback, is listed third on the depth chart behind Robinson and Derrick Coleman. ... The team lists two outside linebackers without reference to strong or weak sides. Cliff Avril is listed as the starting right defensive end while Chris Clemons is unavailable. Bruce Irvin, who plays the nickel snaps and has worked at linebacker as well, is listed behind Malcolm Smith at outside linebacker. ... Brandon Browner is listed ahead of Walter Thurmond at right corner. Thurmond got some first-team reps Monday. The Seahawks won't hesitate to start Thurmond if he outplays Browner this summer.