NFC West: Ben Watson

Our ongoing discussion on tight ends raised questions about which ones possess the best -- and worst -- hands.

"Any way you can add in 'thrown to' and 'drops' in this stat?" Furfanam asked in one comments section.

Consider it done.

Jason Vida of ESPN Stats & Information produced the information. I've broken it out in four charts. A few notes on the findings:
The first chart ranks NFL tight ends by most receptions. It also shows number of targets, drops and drop percentage. Witten, Jacob Tamme and Gates were the only tight ends with at least 50 receptions and no more than two dropped passes.

The second chart shows lowest drop percentages among tight ends targeted at least 20 times last season. Miller's standing atop the list backs up James Walker's contention that the Pittsburgh Steelers tight end was underrated in our power rankings.

The third chart ranks NFL tight ends with at least 20 targets by the highest percentage of dropped passes.

ESPN Stats & Information's totals on Bajema matched my charting. I had Bajema dropping passes against Tennessee, Denver and Arizona.

The final chart focuses only on NFC West tight ends, ranking them by lowest percentage of dropped passes.

Will Rams throw much to tight ends?

March, 29, 2011
The item on NFC West tight ends not named Vernon Davis pointed to the St. Louis Rams' Mike Hoomanawanui and Fendi Onobun as prospects to watch.

One question: To what extent will the Rams utilize tight ends in the passing game under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels?

As the chart shows, McDaniels' teams haven't featured tight ends as receivers much. I've focused on McDaniels' teams since 2005, the year he began calling plays for New England. None has caught more than 49 passes for 643 yards during a season.

"That position doesn’t catch passes in that offense," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "The guy who is strange for them is Fendi Onobun. He has some athletic upside and might be intriguing, but he will get short end of the stick with McDaniels onboard."

McDaniels inherited most of the Rams' offensive staff. He could wind up adapting his approach some. But coordinators tend to stay within their comfort zones. Hoomanawanui and Onobun, while promising, are not established enough for the Rams to change their system significantly.

Hoomanawanui appears versatile enough to fit in just about any offense, but he might catch more passes in another system. The Rams completed 133 passes to tight ends in two seasons with Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator. That figure was 86 for the Bronco, counting the final four games of the 2010 season, after Denver had fired McDaniels.

The Rams could place greater value on blocking tight ends. One potential candidate, Daniel Graham, played for McDaniels in New England and Denver. He's without a contract for 2011 and could make sense as a blocking tight end for the Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Seattle's new assistant head coach/offensive line, Tom Cable, was at Colorado when Graham played there.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune takes an in-depth look at Seahawks coach Pete Carroll through the eyes of policemen and others outside the NFL. Boling: "Carroll used his position and visibility to create a nonprofit organization, A Better L.A., that helped involve corporate and monied entities. It brought together government and law-enforcement agencies, and helped support and fund the critical liaisons with the community. He began showing up in the neighborhoods in the middle of the night for face-to-face talks with gang members. And the most important thing … he didn’t make a splash and run. He committed."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' courtship of Brandon Marshall could take time.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along a quote from a Bengals beat reporter shooting down Cincinnati's alleged interest in Marshall as a smokescreen. Agreed.

Also from O'Neil: a look at players who have visited, are scheduled to visit or are reportedly scheduled to visit the Seahawks. Marshall, Dwan Edwards, Tyler Brayton, Ben Watson, Ben Hamilton, Chris Baker, Mike Bell and William James make the list.

John Morgan of Field Gulls says the Seahawks should play it cool on the Marshall front in an effort to drive down the price. That is exactly what will happen, in my view.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams could complete a deal with free-agent defensive tackle Fred Robbins by Monday, according to Robbins' agent.

Also from Thomas: Former Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade is scheduled to visit the Lions.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' methodical approach to free agency is a tough sell for a skeptical fan base. Miklasz: "The Rams are stuck in a strange and unenviable spot right now. The franchise doesn't have an owner. Oh, Chip Rosenbloom and sister Lucia Rodriguez technically maintain ownership, but they're on the way out after having sold majority control to Shahid Khan. But Khan still must gain league approval before taking over and the process might take two months or more. So the team is in transition, in between bosses. And it's awkward."

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat quotes Rams general manager Billy Devaney on Marc Bulger, Richie Incognito and Matt Ware. The Rams have no plans to sign Incognito or Ware, contrary to rumors. Devaney on Bulger: "I don't care what anybody says [about Bulger]. This is a helluva kid. He’s a pro’s pro and understands everything. We told him as soon as there’s clarity and we have a feel for how this will play out, he’ll be the first person to know. It could be anything, and he understands that. Our position right now is that he’s still a member of the Rams and if that ever changes we’ll be up front with Marc."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill is "considering his options" after the team signed David Carr. Those options are limited because the 49ers control his rights.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Alex Smith has lost every quarterback competition in which he has participated since joining the 49ers. What does that mean now that Carr is on board? Kawakami: "I would also guess that Scot McCloughan, Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye are looking to add a little spice to the QB spot in training camp, with Carr getting a shot to unseat Alex Smith if possible. (Carr might not have come here unless he thought he had a real shot at the No. 1 spot.) But remember, Smith isn’t too good in summer-camp battles."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, initially critical of the team's interest in Carr, tweeted nice things about the quarterback once Carr signed. Damage control.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic recaps Anquan Boldin's career with the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald: "I'm going to miss him. Understatement of the day. Big part of what we were able to accomplish here, a dear friend, but I'm happy for him and his family."

Also from Somers: a look at a wild few days for the Cardinals, with thoughts on the contract clauses that have given the team trouble recently. Somers: "Owner Bill Bidwill was against voidable clauses, a commonly used contract element throughout the NFL. Bidwill has since dropped his objections to voidable years, and the trade for (Kerry) Rhodes brought some fans in off the ledge. But the Cardinals could face the same problem next year. Quarterback Matt Leinart, now the starter, was drafted a year after (Antrel) Rolle. Leinart's salary is due to increase nearly $5 million in 2010, to $7.36 million, and he's due a $5.5 million roster bonus. The Cardinals will have to make a decision about his future early in 2011."

More from Somers: Joey Porter and Larry Foote would be interesting additions if Arizona decided to sign either linebacker. Both played with current Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans in Pittsburgh.

Watson would help Seattle's depth

March, 5, 2010
New England's Ben Watson strikes me as more of a receiving tight end than a blocking threat, but the Seahawks would be better for his presence. They're expected to visit with him, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets.

Seattle already has John Carlson, but so what? The second tight end spot hasn't been a strength. Watson would help the team's depth at the position.

It's always tough to tell how serious a team might be when it lines up visits. This could be a look-see or it could quickly develop into more. Watson's return to the Patriots appears to be a longshot, Mike Reiss of notes.