NFC West: Damane Duckett

San Francisco 49ers 2009 UFA Watch
Pos. Status
Allen Rossum
RET
Re-signed
Takeo Spikes
LB
Re-signed
Demetric Evans
DE
Added
Brandon Jones
WR
Added
Moran Norris
FB
Added
Damane Duckett
OL
UFA
Jamie Martin
QB
UFA
DeShaun Foster
RB
UFA
Donald Strickland
CB
UFA
Billy Bajema
TE
UFA
Roderick Green
LB
UFA
Sean Ryan
TE
UFA
Bryant Johnson
WR
Lions
J.T. O'Sullivan
QB
Bengals
Ronald Fields
DT
Broncos
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers have faced few difficult decisions since free agency opened Feb. 27 because most of their important players remained under contract.

Reworking Alex Smith's contract was probably their top offseason priority, but even that move lacked urgency.

Quite a few 49ers fans have expressed frustration over what they consider the team's undue indifference to the market. They see other teams making bold moves and wonder why the 49ers have decided to largely sit out this signing period.

Their frustration can be summed up in three questions. Brandon Jones? Demetric Evans? Moran Norris? Nothing against those guys, but when fans think about upgrading their team, they think about the Rams adding Jason Brown, the Seahawks adding T.J. Houshmandzadeh and other more significant moves. They think about making plays for Albert Haynesworth, Julius Peppers and Jay Cutler.

In retrospect, the 49ers were more aggressive in past offseasons because they were trying to compensate for the previous regime's draft shortcomings. Last offseason, they were also trying to save Mike Nolan's job. General manager Scot McCloughan has subsequently expressed a desire to build primarily through the draft.

Right or wrong, the feeling now is that the 49ers are going to benefit most from making better use of their existing personnel. We started to see the benefits (offense, defense) of this once Mike Singletary took over as head coach. The situation at quarterback will still factor heavily into whether the 49ers show improvement in the standings.

49ers free-agency update: Week One

March, 6, 2009
3/06/09
1:15
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

San Francisco 49ers 2009 UFA List Pos. Age
Jamie Martin
QB 39
Allen Rossum
KR 33
Takeo Spikes
LB 32
J.T. O'Sullivan QB 29
DeShaun Foster
RB 29
Sean Ryan
TE 28
Donald Strickland
CB 28
Damane Duckett
OL 28
Bryant Johnson
WR
27
Ronald Fields
DL 27
Roderick Green
LB 26
Billy Bajema
TE 26

The 49ers have generated more frenzy during the first week of free agency than their second-tier signings would warrant alone.

Their visit with Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner qualified as bold, puzzling and/or misguided, depending on your point of view.

General manager Scot McCloughan subsequently said the 49ers had not ruled out adding Terrell Owens, although the San Francisco Chronicle cited a source saying the 49ers would not bid for him.

None of the 49ers' remaining unrestricted free agents qualifies as critical to re-sign. Donald Strickland might head the list.

49ers UFA re-signed: Takeo Spikes, LB; Allen Rossum, return specialist.

49ers UFA lost: WR Bryant Johnson (Lions), DL Ronald Fields (Broncos) and QB J.T. O'Sullivan (Bengals).

49ers UFA added: Brandon Jones, WR, Titans; Demetric Evans, DL, Redskins; and Moran Norris, FB, Lions.

49ers restricted free agents: none.

Age before beauty: 49ers free agents

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
10:49
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

San Francisco 49ers 2009 UFA Candidates
Pos. Age
Jamie Martin
QB 39.0
Allen Rossum
KR 33.3
Takeo Spikes
LB 32.1
J.T. O'Sullivan QB 29.5
DeShaun Foster
RB 29.1
Sean Ryan
TE 28.9
Donald Strickland
CB 28.2
Damane Duckett
OL 28.0
Bryant Johnson
WR
27.9
Ronald Fields
DL 27.4
Roderick Green
LB 26.8
Billy Bajema
TE 26.3

The 49ers stand to get younger this offseason as they part with backup quarterbacks Jamie Martin and J.T. O'Sullivan.

Both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Neither is expected to return.

The chart ranks the 49ers' scheduled unrestricted free agents from oldest to youngest, with ages rounded down to the tenth.

Only three of the 49ers' scheduld free agents are in their 30s, easily the lowest figure in the division. The Cardinals (nine), Rams (eight) and Seahawks (eight) each rank among the NFL's top five teams in 30-plus UFA candidates.

None of the 49ers' scheduled free agents appears to be critical for the team's future. Re-signing Takeo Spikes would make sense. Most of the others appear to qualify for the dreaded at-the-right-price distinction, meaning the 49ers will probably take their time in re-signing them, if they re-sign them at all.

12-game checkup painful for some

December, 4, 2008
12/04/08
6:46
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

As a followup to the item about injury situations that matter, here's a quick look at the players on injured reserve for each team in the NFC West:

Note that some players leave IR through injury settlements or waivers (the Cardinals' handling of center Al Johnson comes to mind). The players listed above remain on injured reserve.

I also went through and counted how many players for each team have started all 12 games for their teams this season. The counts:

  • 49ers: 11
  • Cardinals: 10
  • Seahawks: 6
  • Rams: 6
Kurt Warner is the only quarterback in the division to start every game for his team this season. The Cardinals have remained remarkably healthy in terms of not losing key players for extended periods. They have their share of players battling through injuries -- Mike Gandy on a bad ankle, Adrian Wilson with a bum shoulder -- but key players remain available.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Receiver Billy McMullen has joined nine other Seattle players on injured reserve as the Seahawks matched Baltimore for the most players on IR heading into Week 7.

Seattle's list features four receivers: McMullen, Logan Payne, Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu. All but Obomanu started a regular-season game for the Seahawks this season. Obomanu surely would have started had he not been injured during the exhibition season.

Also on IR for Seattle: guard Rob Sims, guard Chris Gray, long snapper Tyler Schmitt, tackle William Robinson, cornerback DeMichael Dizer and linebacker Wesly Mallard.

A quick look at IR lists for the other NFC West teams:

The Rams' IR list includes several players expected to contribute this season. McMichael was a big part of the offense. King was likely going to be the third corner. Manning was playing extensively after injuries sidelined King and Tye Hill. Setterstrom and Gorin comprised much of the team's depth on the offensive line.

Quick look at injured-reserve lists

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
10:45
AM ET
TeamNFC West player on injured reservePos.Starter
ARIAl JohnsonOLYes
ARIScott PetersOLNo
SEARob SimsOLYes
SEANate Burleson
WR
Yes
SEAChris Gray
OL
No
SEABen ObomanuWRNo
SEATyler SchmittLSNo
SEAWilliam RobinsonOLNo
SEAWesly MallardLBNo
SEADeMichael DizerCBNo
SFAlex SmithQBNo
SFJay MooreLBNo
SFDamane DuckettOLNo
STLJustin KingDBNo
STLMark SetterstromOLNo
STLBrandon GorinOLNo
STLRob PetittiOLNo

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFC West teams are carrying 17 players on injured reserve lists. That ranks tied for second with the AFC South by my count, trailing only the AFC North (23).

Seattle has eight players on IR, most in the league. This includes two players I had listed as starters, tied with Jacksonville for most in the league. The Jaguars lost both starting guards.

These figures count only players currently on IR lists. Teams have placed other players on IR, only to waive them once the players became healthy. Some teams have reached injury settlements with players, sparing those players from IR.

Arizona and San Francisco have remained quite healthy so far. The Rams lost key depth at cornerback and along the offensive line. The Seahawks have lost key depth at receiver and on the offensive line.

NFC West teams have no players on their physically unable to perform (PUP) lists. I'm counting 16 players on PUP across the league, including six in the AFC South.

Players on IR get paid. In most cases, they cannot return until the following season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers released linebacker Brandon Moore and placed offensive lineman Damane Duckett on injured reserve today, bringing additional clarity to position battles at those positions. I have revisited the pertinent parts of our recent 49ers roster analysis to reflect these moves. The information appears below, with updated comments on each position.

Offensive linemen (13)
Average number kept under Nolan: 9.0
Locks: Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Barry Sims, Eric Heitmann, Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge, Joe Staley, Jonas Jennings, Cody Wallace
Also: Brian Del La Puente, Joe Toledo, Alan Reuber, John Booker
Released: Duckett
What we said then: Duckett, a former defensive lineman, has practice-squad eligibility.
What we say now: The 49ers' offensive line appears pretty much set, barring injuries.

Linebackers (10)
Average number kept under Nolan: 7.7
Locks: Patrick Willis, Manny Lawson, Jeff Ulbrich, Dontarrious Thomas, Parys Haralson
Looking safe: Larry Grant
On the bubble: Tully Banta-Cain, Roderick Green, Jay Moore
Also: Dennis Haley
Released: Brandon Moore
What we said then: Banta-Cain and Green could be battling for a roster spot. Brandon Moore probably needs a strong exhibition season.
What we say now: Banta-Cain played with urgency in the exhibition opener. The bubble burst for Moore, who looked the part but didn't seize the opportunity. Note, too, that we're listing Justin Smith as a defensive end for these purposes.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams allowed 340 yards rushing to the Titans during both teams' exhibition opener tonight. I won't see this one until Sunday, when it's available on NFL Network, but this level of violence might not be appropriate for the kids. Rams quarterback Marc Bulger completed 3 of 9 passes with an interception, good for a 3.7 passer rating.

Exhibition games can be meaningless depending on how teams approach them. The Titans are a hard-nosed, physical team. They pound away in the ground game. Their offensive line is extremely well coached. The Rams lack depth at linebacker. I wouldn't read too much into any exhibition game, but watching the replay should help figure out what happened.

The Titans won, 34-13, but the score was closer (20-13) at halftime. The Titans did rush for 157 yards in the first half. Justin King and Brandon Gorin suffered injuries for the Rams, according to the Associated Press. The Rams' starting offense has now gone nine consecutive exhibition games without scoring a touchdown, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes.

Now, on to the rest of the division tonight.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee shares observations on the 49ers' exhibition opener after watching a replay of the game. Among the topics: Alex Smith's touch (or lack thereof), the soft middle of the 49ers' defensive line, Dontarrious Thomas' move to "Mike" linebacker, Larry Grant's progress at "Ted" linebacker, Vernon Davis' non-effort on a fumble recovery and unexpected problems on special teams.

Daniel Brown of 49ers Hot Read says the 49ers' Justin Smith might have helped teammate Ray McDonald sack the quarterback Friday night, among other notes.

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers says it's not unusual for quarterbacks to struggle during the exhibition season while learning Mike Martz's offense. He points to Jon Kitna's subpar stats in the fake games when Martz was the Lions' new coordinator. Also: Jay Moore, on the bubble for a linebacker spot, made plays but was inconsistent against the Raiders. Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan delivered the ball on time. Damane Duckett's knee injury could be serious. Duckett has practice-squad eligibility. He was also probably fighting for the last spot on the offensive line.

Maiocco is also presumably OK with the 80-man roster limit. Otherwise he might still be writing about how every player on the team fared against the Raiders. Matt could save time in the future by looking over the shoulders of pro scouts in attendance. Check that. Pro scouts could save time by looking over Matt's shoulder. Great work here.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation breaks down each of 49ers receiver Josh Morgan's receptions against the Raiders. Maiocco called Morgan the most impressive rookie receiver in a 49ers camp since Terrell Owens in 1996.

Frank Hughes of Seahawks Insider singles out five Seattle players who "hurt themselves" with their performances in the exhibition opener at Minnesota: running back T.J. Duckett, cornerback Josh Wilson, cornerback Marcus Trufant, running back Julius Jones and defensive end Darryl Tapp.

Hughes' list of players who helped themselves: linebacker David Hawthorne, running back Justin Forsett, defensive tackle Howard Green, running back Maurice Morris, center Steve Vallos, receiver Michael Bumpus, safety Jamar Adams, kicker Brandon Coutu and punter Reggie Hodges. I can add a couple: fullbacks Leonard Weaver and Owen Schmitt. Weaver has been a new player all camp. Schmitt emerged in the game.

Hughes also asks readers what they thought about Kevin Calabro's performance as play-by-play man on the Seahawks broadcast. Calabro was longtime voice of the NBA's Sonics. I watched his Seahawks debut and thought he was very well prepared. Calabro set a high standard for NBA broadcasts and it was clear he wanted to maintain that standard here.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic explains why rookie running back Tim Hightower might be ready to help the offense right away. Edgerrin James is the starter, but Hightower has shown well enough for the Cardinals to release veteran Marcel Shipp. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, formerly of the Steelers, had this to say about Hightower: "He doesn't have quite the speed of a Willie Parker but he reminds me a little bit of Jerome (Bettis) in the way he can see the holes and the way he picks his feet up in the holes. He's a different player. He's got a different skill set, but it was good to see him do some things in live game action at this level."

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Pass-rush drills make for some of the most entertaining spectating at NFL training camps.

Seattle's Rocky Bernard took down center Steve Vallos with a powerful move at Seahawks practice this morning. Down the coast, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provided a scorecard for the pass-rush drills between the Raiders and 49ers today

I went through and totaled up the results: The 49ers' Joe Staley went 2-0 in his matchups against the Raiders' defensive linemen. Teammate Barry Sims went 2-0-1. The 49ers' Jonas Jennings went 1-0. Teammate and fellow offensive lineman Joe Toledo went 1-0-1.

For the Raiders, defensive tackle Josh Shaw went 3-0, beating Adam Snyder twice and Tony Wragge once. Raiders defensive linemen Terdell Sands went 2-0 against the 49ers. Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly went 2-0-1. No player participated in more than three matchups.

The 49ers' Chilo Rachal, Damane Duckett and Eric Heitmann each won two of three.

Additional results, first for the 49ers: Adam Snyder (1-2), Brian De La Puente (1-1), Cody Wallace (2-2), Alan Reuber (0-1-1), John Booker (0-1-1) and Tony Wragge (0-2). For the Raiders: Gerard Warren (1-2), Derrick Gray (1-2), Greg Spires (0-2-1), William Joseph (1-2), international player Mauricio Lopez (0-2), Jay Richardson (1-1), Trevor Scott (0-2-1), Greyson Gunheim (1-0-1), Kalimba Edwards (0-2), Derrick Burgess (0-1).

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