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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Mark from parts unknown writes: Hi Mike, regarding the Seahawks' current roster predicament with both Deion Branch and Bobby Engram injured, would the Seahawks gain some roster flexibility by keeping Branch on the PUP list? Despite the reports of Branch being a "fast healer", I think he could benefit from more time rehabbing from his serious knee injury. The potential roster flexibility could be an additional reason to keep Branch on the PUP and not rush him back.
Mike Sando: Leaving Branch on the physically unable to perform list is an option, but doing so would force him to sit out well into October. I think they'll want him activated before then, but they do have time to assess the situation. As you implied, Engram is not eligible for PUP because he has already passed a physical and practiced.
Mike Sando: Adding Justin Smith and getting back Manny Lawson from injury helps. Takeo Spikes probably helps. First-round draft choice Kentwan Balmer helps. Ray McDonald has enjoyed a strong camp. These are all positive signs. The top 10 might be a little high for a 3-4 team without a dominant nose tackle (the 49ers run more of a 5-2 sometimes, but the nose tackle is still important).
Mike Sando: We did run an analysis of the 49ers' draft choices. The current 49ers quarterbacks haven't shown much. Simms might be at least as good, but adding a quarterback this late could be difficult given the time it takes to learn an offense.
Mike Sando: Adding another young quarterback does make sense from an organizational standpoint, but Nolan isn't coaching with the long term in mind. He is trying to save his job. Therein lies a conflict for the 49ers. Organizationally, they should be doing everything possible to develop Smith, the player they drafted first overall in 2005. Nolan can't afford to worry about the long term, however, and so he'll start someone else if it helps him in the short term. That's why I'm not sure about adding a youngster at this point, as much as it makes sense.
Mike Sando: Taking a look at the backups is easy when you have three of them. I still don't see a clear-cut starter in this race. Neither do the 49ers. Otherwise, they would name one officially instead of waiting into mid-August.