Monday, September 6, 2010
Around the NFC West: Leinart, Locklear, etc.
By Mike Sando
ESPN's John Clayton says the Seattle Seahawks are trying to trade right tackle Sean Locklear, whose status appears affected by various moves. Locklear's salary is $5.45 million and his performance during preseason, though not atypical, apparently didn't impress the Seahawks' new leadership. Acquiring Tyler Polumbus and Stacy Andrews gives the Seahawks options. The team has largely remade the tackle position this offseason, drafting Russell Okung sixth overall and making the moves for Polumbus and Andrews. Placing Ray Willis on injured reserve almost completes the transformation. Locklear's departure would overhaul it completely.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates Seahawks-related moves from Sunday. He confirms reports that Owen Schmitt, Kevin Vickerson and Jordan Babineaux will be released.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen says former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart has accepted a one-year deal to play for the Houston Texans. Leinart will be reunited with former Cardinals teammates Antonio Smith and Neil Rackers. He'll work with another NFC West alumnus; Greg Knapp, dismissed as Seahawks offensive coordinator with Jim Mora's firing, coaches quarterbacks in Houston. Mortensen: "Leinart will become the Texans' third quarterback behind starter Matt Schaub and backup Dan Orlovsky, who will remain the No. 2 at least until Leinart has some command of Houston's offensive scheme, sources said."
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says Leinart wasn't able to win over teammates in Arizona. Boivin: "A change of scenery will serve Leinart well. He forever will be remembered for his beer-bong photo, but he should be remembered, too, for all the money he raised for charity. And maybe at the next stop, he can win over his teammates." Leinart can do that by playing at a high level.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers thoughts on Leinart's departure from Arizona. Urban: "If Leinart was better on the field, he’d be here. That sounds so general, but it’s true. The basic, fundamental reason Deuce Lutui is going to be starting at guard -- after missing all the offseason and showing up well overweight -- when Reggie Wells was traded after doing everything asked of him this summer? They think, in the end, Deuce is a better player. They didn’t think Leinart was a better player than Derek Anderson. It was close -- close enough that the other stuff comes into play, the stuff (Ken) Whisenhunt declined to get into publicly Saturday and probably never will."
ESPN's Adam Schefter provides clarification on his earlier report that the Seahawks had cut running back Julius Jones. Schefter: "No official cut yet on Seahawks RB Julius Jones, but am told it is 'imminent'." The Seahawks made no announcement regarding Jones, but the running back's departure would be consistent with other sweeping changes in Seattle. Stay tuned.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are giving fans reason for hope. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "While I was in church Sunday morning, a couple of people there told me, 'Hey, Steve, you have no idea how excited the town is.' And that's when I picked up on it. I hope our players feel it. And I hope we give the fans a reason to feel good about what we're doing." Having Sam Bradford onboard makes a difference heading into the season. Rams fans were tired of the status quo. Nothing represents change more than a complete overhaul at quarterback (none of the Rams' quarterbacks from 2009 is on the 53-man roster now).
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are filling out their practice squad. Former Rams running back Chris Ogbonnaya, released on the reduction to 53 players, signed with the Texans' practice squad.
Also from Thomas: There was no doubt Spagnuolo would name Bradford the Rams' starting quarterback.
More from Thomas: checking in with former Rams safety Nolan Cromwell, now the Rams' receivers coach.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee profiles new members of the 49ers' practice squad. On safety Chris Maragos: "This is a surprise only in that the 49ers already have five safeties on the active roster and three of those -- Reggie Smith, Curtis Taylor and Taylor Mays -- are youngsters with precious little playing experience. Otherwise, Maragos has been very solid throughout the offseason and was particularly conspicuous on special teams. He's undersized for a safety -- he was mentored at Wisconsin by Jim Leonhard -- but was on the first-team coverage unit for kick returns the last two games. Again, the 49ers could lose both Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson after the season. It can't hurt to have some quality safeties on the back burner."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Tramaine Brock proved doubters wrong by earning a spot on the 49ers' initial 53-man roster.
Also from Maiocco: a look at the 49ers' practice squad. On Will Tukuafu: "When the 49ers received a roster exemption after Kentwan Balmer quit the team, Tukuafu was signed. An undrafted rookie from Oregon, he received a brief look from the Seattle Seahawks before getting released. At 6-foot-4, 272 pounds, Tukuafu recorded a sack in his first snap against the Indianapolis Colts. He was added to the practice squad ahead of Khalif Mitchell."
More from Maiocco: The 49ers' new deal for Michael Lewis is among several moves foreshadowing the longer-term future for San Francisco.