NFC West: 2013 gone from roster

Snap judgments: Gone from 49ers

June, 21, 2013
Our series on 2012 contributors gone from NFC West rosters concludes with a look at the San Francisco 49ers.

Players responsible for logging 85 percent of the 49ers' offensive and defensive snaps last season remain on the 90-man roster at present. That is a high figure, but it's also telling only part of the story.

Receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham remain on the roster, but neither is healthy enough to contribute. Crabtree could miss most of the 2013 season. Manningham might be ready for training camp and it's unclear what plans the team might have for him when he does return.

With Manningham and Kyle Williams returning from injuries, and with Crabtree out, second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins is the only fully healthy wideout returning from last season. The team will lean heavily on newcomer Anquan Boldin while developing rookie Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette, who spent last season on the practice squad.

Tight end and the defensive line are two other positions to watch from a personnel standpoint.

Rookie second-round choice Vance McDonald projects as the likely No. 2 tight end after Walker signed with Tennessee in free agency. The 49ers could also expand their rotation along the defensive line.

The first chart shows 2012 offensive and defensive contributors no longer with the team. The second chart provides some context relative to the division. The 49ers' percentage returning at running back is second highest for any position in the division.

Snap judgments: Seahawks' mindset

June, 18, 2013

Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider made headlines in 2010 for their willingness to constantly churn the Seattle Seahawks' roster. Three years later, they've built the roster to a point where player retention has become a bigger focus.

As the chart below shows, Seattle has on its 90-man roster players responsible for logging 87.4 percent of offensive and defensive snaps last season. That is the highest percentage in the division.

The chart at right shows the 2012 contributors no longer on the roster. Note that tight end Anthony McCoy landed on injured reserve after suffering a torn Achilles' tendon during organized team activities.

Seattle moved on from defensive tackle Alan Branch, defensive lineman Jason Jones, linebacker Leroy Hill and cornerback Marcus Trufant after those players played fairly meaningful roles in 2012. The draft brought defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams. Free-agent addition Cliff Avril will affect the rotation at linebacker, where Hill's production had waned. Antoine Winfield replaced Trufant as Seattle sought to upgrade its nickel corner position.

Note: The percentages at defensive back changed slightly for Seattle since Monday when I included the 122 snaps safety Jeron Johnson played. I had accidentally excluded his snaps from consideration.

Wide receiver, running back and safety are three frequently discussed areas where the St. Louis Rams will have a decidedly fresh look in 2013.

The offensive line is one position where the team could find needed stability through a mixture of new players and incumbents returning from injuries.

As the chart below indicates, the Rams' roster currently features offensive linemen responsible for an NFC West-low 48 percent of 2012 snaps. Robert Turner, Barry Richardson, Wayne Hunter and Quinn Ojinnaka are gone from the roster after making 41 of 80 starts on the line.

Jake Long takes over at left tackle, allowing incumbent Rodger Saffold to play on the right side. That pairing could project as starters for the long term, health permitting. Both players have had injury issues in recent seasons. Saffold is unsigned beyond 2013, making this an important season for him.

Scott Wells is back at center and should be healthy enough to practice during the season, a change from 2012. Chris Williams, Shelley Smith and Rokevious Watkins are among the players competing to start at left guard opposite veteran Harvey Dahl.

Note: The first chart shows players who have left the Rams' roster after logging snaps on offense or defense last season.

Major overhauls at quarterback, running back and in the defensive secondary jump out when analyzing the Arizona Cardinals' roster heading toward the 2013 season.

The chart at right shows which players have left the roster this offseason after playing offensive or defensive snaps for the team in 2012.

Most striking: The Cardinals didn't really "lose" any of the players listed. They decided to move on from most of them for reasons relating to performance, health, salary, age, scheme fit or some combination of those factors.

Teams usually keep the players they really want to keep. That was the case with Arizona this offseason.

So, while the Cardinals' current players account for a division-low 60.9 percent of offensive and defensive snaps played last season, Arizona isn't complaining. The team lost 11 of its 12 final games and the roster had crept up in age. A few of the players logging considerable snaps in 2012 did so only through injuries to others.

The Cardinals have 10 players age 30 or older, down from 14 at this point last year. That includes specialists Jay Feely, Mike Leach and Dave Zastudil. Arizona has seven offensive or defensive players age 30 or older, matching the NFL average, according to my records.

Paris Lenon, Todd Heap, Adrian Wilson, Adam Snyder, Clark Haggans, Jeremy Bridges, D'Anthony Batiste and Vonnie Holliday no longer remain from the 30-plus group on the roster in June 2012. That group averaged about 33 years old at this time last year.

Quarterback Carson Palmer, safety Yeremiah Bell, linebacker Karlos Dansby and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander are 2013 newcomers in their 30s. They average 32.6 years old and there are only four of them. Palmer in particular represents a clear upgrade at his position. That could also be the case for Dansby, although Lenon annually outperformed expectations at inside linebacker.