NFC West: Dominique Byrd

Seattle Seahawks cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
Surprise move: There really weren't any because the Seahawks had already parted with so many familiar names over the past couple seasons. Colin Cole was the most established player shown the door. He had been injured, his salary was $3.75 million and the team had re-signed Brandon Mebane with an eye toward moving Mebane to nose tackle. Those factors worked against Cole sticking around.

Receiver Isaiah Stanback, valued on special teams, landed on injured reserve along with defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson and tight end John Carlson. Rookie safety Mark LeGree, a fifth-round draft choice, was the Seahawks' only 2011 selection to miss the initial cut. Jeron Johnson, one of three undrafted rookies to earn roster spots, beat him out.

No-brainers: Golden Tate's status had drawn considerable attention in recent weeks, but the Seahawks never planned to release him. Tate came through with a strong performance in the final exhibition game, putting to rest questions about his status. Running back Justin Forsett wasn't in danger, either, even though Leon Washington could be moving past him on the depth chart behind starter Marshawn Lynch. With Washington and Forsett sticking around, there was no room for Thomas Clayton. Undrafted rookies Josh Portis (quarterback) and Doug Baldwin (receiver) had clearly done enough to earn spots initially. Both stuck.

What's next: The situation at fullback and tight end bears monitoring with Carlson landing on injured reserve, as expected. Dominique Byrd stuck as the third tight end for now. Assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable has valued h-back types in his offense and it's unclear whether the Seahawks' current personnel addresses that function adequately. Fullback Michael Robinson stuck on the roster as well. Seattle will have to wait six games before bringing back receiver Deon Butler, cornerback Roy Lewis and tight end Cameron Morrah. All are on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. The severity of left guard Robert Gallery's knee injury could influence how the team proceeds on the offensive line.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals continue to take things slowly with Patrick Peterson even though the first-round pick thinks he's ready to start. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I'm glad we still have more time before the regular season, but Patrick's worked hard. He's an intelligent young man, he's very serious about getting better. We can learn a lot of things from the live situations like we saw in the game the other night and he'll get better. I don't think it's a question of 'if,' it's just a question of when it all clicks for him and it certainly seems to be moving in that direction." Whisehnunt said he wants Peterson to get a better feel for zone coverage. Peterson, the fifth player chosen in the draft, is the only player among the top six choices with no starts to this point in preseason. The two other first-round corners this year, Prince Amukamara and Jimmy Smith, have one start between them. Amukamara is injured.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic updates Max Hall's shoulder injury. The quarterback needs surgery and will spend the season on injured reserve.

Also from Somers: Whisenhunt remains coy regarding plans for the final preseason game.

Darren Urban of expects the Cardinals' starters to play in the team's final preseason game. Select players could get extended looks heading into mandatory reduction to the 53-man limit Saturday.

Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald isn't the only wide receiver on the Cardinals' roster. Some of the other guys take pride in their work as well.

Clare Farnsworth of says the Seahawks are giving Breno Giacomini a look at right tackle in case rookie James Carpenter isn't ready for the starting role by Week 1. The two are splitting reps with the first and second units.

Also from Farnsworth: thoughts on John Carlson's season-ending injury. Farnsworth: "The Seahawks now seem set at the position entering Friday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field, as well as the roster cut to 53 players on Saturday. Miller is the starter, with the former USC duo of Anthony McCoy and Dominique Byrd as the second and third options. McCoy is the better blocker, Byrd the better receiver."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along Pete Carroll's explanation for the Carpenter-Giacomini time-share: "There's a lot to learn and there's a short time to learn it. We have to make sure that we're looking out after him, and preparing him as well as we can. He has been thrown right in, his feet are in the fire right from the first game against San Diego. He has done a lot of really good things, but it's still in progress, a process for us to figure it out and see if he will be ready for the opener."

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' final preseason finale carries added meaning for the team given issues on the offensive line.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune displays a photo showing Walter Jones' bronze statue at the Seattle airport. Jones: "It’s cool. You go around to a lot of the airports and you see a lot of athletes being honored in the airports. So for me to be honored in Seattle is a great feeling."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says James Laurinaitis returned to Rams practice after resting a pectoral injury.

Also from Nelson: Versatility is key for Rams backup offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka. Nelson: "Ojinnaka, 27, has played center, guard and tackle in the Rams' first three preseason games and said the coaches told him to be ready to play at tackle Thursday, when the Rams face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason finale."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steven Jackson's dreadlocks have been on hiatus while his hairdresser is on maternity leave.

Also from Thomas: Mike Sims-Walker is grateful to play for the Rams. Thomas: "As a newly signed veteran, Sims-Walker had to wait until the collective bargaining agreement was approved Aug. 4 before he could practice with his new team. And then he missed a couple of days after tweaking his groin in the preseason opener against Indianapolis. Time is running out for the veteran wide receiver to get tuned up for the regular season, and as fate would have it, Thursday's final tuneup is in Jacksonville, where Sims-Walker spent his first four NFL seasons."

Nick Wagoner of checks in with rookie defensive end Robert Quinn.

Also from Wagoner: Al Harris didn't want to go out following an injury-plagued season.

Matt Maiocco of quotes 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh this way regarding Frank Gore: "Frank is a true 49er. I've said that from when I first got here. That's how I thought I would feel about Frank Gore. Now, I know how I feel about Frank Gore. The guy is awesome. Somebody should do a movie. Somebody should do the Frank Gore story, because it's an awesome story."

Also from Maiocco: The NFL has cleared the 49ers of any wrongdoing regarding Michael Crabtree's return to the practice field. Maiocco: "Crabtree has not taken part in any exhibition games in his first three NFL seasons. As a rookie, Crabtree did not sign his first contract until the first week in October. He sat out the first game, studied the playbook during the bye week and then started his first NFL game 18 day after signing his deal."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Jonathan Goodwin will start over Adam Snyder at center for the 49ers.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Crabtree did not appear close to full speed yet.
The Seattle Seahawks didn't really need to pursue a starting tight end in free agency this offseason. They felt fortunate when the Oakland Raiders let Zach Miller reach free agency, and they were thrilled to sign a young, proven talent.

The signing took on additional importance Tuesday when the Seahawks announced that John Carlson, the incumbent starter at the position, would require season-ending shoulder surgery. Coach Pete Carroll announced the news following practice.

Carlson's long-term future with the team was in question even before the team signed Miller. That was because Carlson was entering the final year of his contract, and the Seahawks remained a team in transition with yet another set of coaches on offense. The injury most likely prevents the Seahawks from considering trade options. It will also likely affect Carlson's value in free agency next offseason.

The Seahawks do have options. Second-year tight end Anthony McCoy and veteran Dominique Byrd have made plays during the preseason. Each has seven receptions and the two have accounted for all three Seattle scoring receptions. Cameron Morrah remains on the physically unable to perform list after making a positive impression as a receiving threat last season.

Miller is the key. He gives the team a strong, versatile presence at the position. The Seahawks would have been better off with Miller and Carlson working in tandem, but Miller still provides an upgrade over what the team has had at the position previously.
Looking back on three things discussed here before the Seattle Seahawks' 23-20 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday night:

1. First-team offense touchdown: The Seahawks left most of their starting offense in the game until quarterback Tarvaris Jackson connected with backup tight end Dominique Byrd for the No. 1 unit's first touchdown of the preseason. There was 14:16 left in the fourth quarter at that point, later in the game than a starting offense would generally play even in a third preseason game. Jackson frequently faced pressure, a common theme for him to this point. He was effective on a couple bootleg throws, but he took five sacks and averaged only 4.2 yards per attempt. Offensive rhythm remained elusive. The Seahawks emptied their backfield on a couple third-down plays. They could not beat the pressure with quick completions in those situations. The team will need better pass protection to develop timing. Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst got no first-team reps. He had to wait longer than expected to enter the game after undrafted rookie receiver Doug Baldwin broke a 105-yard kickoff return. The Seahawks kicked the tying field goal with 1:16 left as if to buy extra reps for Whitehurst, but the Broncos drove down for the winning kick as the fourth quarter expired.

2. Backup running backs. Leon Washington and Justin Forsett generally looked good despite average stats. Washington had a 21-yard run. Though the offense lacked rhythm overall, the screen again showed promise. Washington, healthier in his second season back from a career-threatening leg injury, was a threat as a receiver. His shiftiness and exuberance can be an asset on offense if the Seahawks are serious about working him into their rotation. Starter Marshawn Lynch did not play. Denver defenders tossed Washington and Forsett around a couple times, a reminder that Lynch adds a welcome physical presence.

3. Draft choice on bubble: Fifth-round pick Mark Legree was the player I wanted to watch. He caught my attention with an open-field tackle and a hard hit on the receiver following a Tim Tebow completion. He was also hustling to block for Baldwin during the kickoff return for a touchdown. Cornerback Byron Maxwell, a sixth-round pick from Clemson, seemed to stand out more. He was active on special teams and pressured Tebow.

Three things: Seahawks-Vikings

August, 20, 2011
Three things to watch for in the Seattle Seahawks' preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET:

1. Tarvaris' timing: The Seahawks expect starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to play more extensively than he did during the preseason opener. Jackson should be sharper after having a second week of practice time with his new team. He'll also have starting receivers Sidney Rice and Mike Williams on the field with him, a change from last week. Seattle will be looking for Jackson to establish connections with Rice, Williams and/or tight end Zach Miller. Jackson has been around long enough to know preseason games aren't all that important, but human nature dictates he'll want to look good against his former team.

2. Red Bryant's return. The Seahawks' run defense wasn't the same after a knee injury removed Bryant from the defensive line last season. Teams around the division noticed. I was chatting with a coach from another NFC West team this summer when our attention turned to Seattle's defensive line. "Red Bryant is a huge man," the coach said with some awe. Bryant missed the preseason opener, but the Seahawks expect him to start at defensive end against the Vikings. Bryant appears ready to go. Coach Pete Carroll on Thursday: "Yeah, Red’s antics were up today. He was having fun playing football. I think when he tackled Dominique Byrd about 25 yards downfield in a full-speed, live tackle, we realized that Red was officially back. That came just two plays after he thumped Josh Portis in the back on a pass rush, so Red is alive and well. When you’re cooling Red down, that’s when you like him the most."

3. Pass protection. Russell Okung's unavailability at left tackle pushes Tyler Polumbus into the lineup. Polumbus has continually exceeded expectations. He's been quite steady for a backup at such a difficult position. I'm more interested in seeing how right guard John Moffitt and right tackle James Carpenter fare in pass protection. Both are rookies. Both had some issues in protection during the preseason opener. Carpenter's conditioning appeared to be his biggest obstacle last week. He wore down. The Seahawks will need 60 minutes from him every week during the regular season. Wearing down isn't a viable option.
Looking back upon three things discussed here heading into the Seattle Seahawks' preseason opener Thursday night:

The quarterback rotation: Watching No. 2 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was a top priority after Tarvaris Jackson and Josh Portis commanded significant attention to this point in training camp. Whitehurst was mostly solid. He did not hurt his cause. The pass he made to Dominique Byrd for a 29-yard gain showed Whitehurst can throw intermediate and longer passes well. Whitehurst fared better than Jackson and the first-team offense, so his stock, though still vulnerable, did not take a hit. Seattle played without its top three wide receivers.

New toys on offense: Newly signed receiver Sidney Rice didn't even play. Coach Pete Carroll held out Rice as a precaution, citing a minor injury. Jackson threw twice for newly signed tight end Zach Miller. The Chargers were offsides both times, wiping out incomplete passes. Another newcomer, left guard Robert Gallery, got thrown back violently on one early play. First-round pick James Carpenter played extensively and got some push in the running game. He had some issues in protection. Overall, though, getting reps should benefit him.

Youth movement on defense: The young linebackers and safeties were active. Strong safety Kam Chancellor was aggressive against the run, as advertised. He had a tackle for loss. Safety Mark LeGree got credit for no passes defensed on the stat sheet. I saw him play a role in a couple of incomplete passes, however. Jeron Johnson broke up two passes and had one tackle for loss. Another rookie, linebacker K.J. Wright, led the team in tackles with seven, including a couple after short gains. Officials flagged him for a horse-collar tackle. Pass-rusher Jameson Konz, a project as a former receiver and tight end, collected a sack.
NFC West teams pounced on tight ends in the 2011 NFL draft.

The St. Louis Rams made Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks the 47th player and second tight end selected. The Arizona Cardinals were the next team to draft a tight end, making Florida Atlantic's Rob Housler the 69th overall selection.

Since 2006, NFL teams have drafted only 10 tight ends higher than the Rams selected Kendricks. Two of those 10 start for the Rams' NFC West rivals: Vernon Davis, chosen sixth overall by San Francisco in 2006, and John Carlson, chosen 38th overall by Seattle in 2008.

Davis has become a Pro Bowl-caliber threat in the passing game even though the 49ers have suffered multiple scheme changes on offense. Carlson's production has fallen off amid similar changes, although he emerged as a threat off play-action during the playoffs last season.

Adding Kendricks and Housler to the NFC West should upgrade the position within the division. For that to happen, they'll have to outperform some of their disappointing predecessors. Since 2006, NFC West teams have missed on multiple tight ends, including three -- Joe Klopfenstein (Rams), Leonard Pope (Cardinals) and Dominique Byrd (Rams) -- in the second or third round.

Draft analyst Rob Rang pointed to Kendricks in particular as a good fit for his new team. Rang called Kendricks "a matchup nightmare with the reliable hands to take advantage of Sam Bradford's accuracy down the seam."

The Rams could certainly use one of those.

Darren Urban of explains the history behind the recent special-teams collision featuring veterans Joey Porter and Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald busted Porter's lip on the play. Fitzgerald pointed to his special-teams contributions from 2004, his rookie year. Fitzgerald: "Remember [gunner] Alex Bannister from Seattle, made All-Pro? We shut him down two games in a row, didn’t have a tackle in Seattle or here in Arizona. … I did do that. [Assistant defensive backs coach] Rick Courtright used to coach me on the technique. I don’t know if I could do it anymore …" In looking at NFL gamebooks from 2004, Bannister did have two special-teams tackles against Arizona in one game. The Cardinals totaled minus-2 yards on the two returns in question. Bannister also downed a punt at the Arizona 3. He was on injured reserve for the second game against Arizona that season. Bannister lasted the first two games in 2005 before suffering another season-ending injury. He never played for Seattle again and was out of the league after two games with Baltimore in 2006.

Also from Urban: a look at some personnel changes on the fringe of the Cardinals' roster. The team signed safety Aaron Rouse and linebacker Pago Togafau. Gone are defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi and linebacker Ali Highsmith.

More from Urban: Fitzgerald and Mike Adams got into a tussle Tuesday. Adams: "It was just a normal Fitz-and-Mike day. If Mike gets the better of Fitz … you can take it back to my rookie year, me and Fitz. We get into scuffles all the time. I get a little bit emotional at times. I guess it is that short man’s syndrome in me." The Cardinals list Adams at 5-foot-8 and 181 pounds. Fitzgerald checks in at 6-3 and 218.

More yet from Urban: Dominique Byrd is a candidate to help at fullback.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Deuce Lutui is enjoying a strong start to camp. Lutui has much on the line in camp, something I'll expand upon in a Cardinals Camp Confidential later Wednesday.

Also from Somers: First-round choice Dan Williams reported to Cardinals camp at 325 pounds, lighter than his target weight. He also passed a conditioning test.

More from Somers: classic quotes from Russ Grimm as the Cardinals' line coach and former Washington Redskins guard prepares for Hall of Fame induction. Grimm: "They have the schedule," said Grimm, the team's run-game coordinator and offensive-line coach. "I know there is something on Thursday night. My [clothes] are marked, 'This is what you wear on Thursday. This is what I have to wear Friday.' If it looks good, it looks good. If it doesn't ..."
Pete Carroll isn't the only NFC West inhabitant defending USC's honor following NCAA sanctions against the football program.

Like Carroll, the former USC coach in his first season with the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart has a legacy to uphold. As Arash Markazi of points out, the 2005 BCS trophy Leinart helped win no longer sits on display at USC's Heritage Hall.

"People can say whatever they want but we still played every game the way we had to, we beat almost every team we played and, to me, no one will ever be able to take that away," Leinart told "I've talked to a lot of people I played with on those teams and we all say the same thing. Everyone who knows football knows we won those games and we won the title."

Leinart said he remains close with former USC teammate Reggie Bush, whose alleged actions brought about the sanctions. Leinart said the two speak to one another "all the time" and Bush recently attended Leinart's bowling event.

Current NFC West players from USC include Leinart, Dominique Byrd and Deuce Lutui of the Cardinals, Chilo Rachal and Taylor Mays of the San Francisco 49ers and eight players from the Seattle Seahawks: Josh Pinkard, Kevin Ellison, Lofa Tatupu, Lawrence Jackson, Jeff Byers, Anthony McCoy, Mike Williams and Ryan Powdrell. The St. Louis Rams are the only team in the division and one of six in the NFL without a player from USC. Byrd and LaJuan Ramsey were the former USC players on the Rams' roster most recently.

Pete Carroll fires back defiantly

June, 10, 2010
Those interested in seeing Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's response to sanctions against USC can check out the video below.

Carroll maintained his previous position on allegations against the football program.

The sanctions deprived Carroll and USC of one national championship. Those sanctions also affect the USC legacies of several current NFC West players, including prominent players such as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart and Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

Carroll's former USC players currently in the NFC West include: Leinart, Deuce Lutui and Dominique Byrd of the Cardinals; Taylor Mays and Chilo Rachal of the 49ers; and Tatupu, Lawrence Jackson, Anthony McCoy, Jeff Byers, Ryan Powdrell, Josh Pinkard and Mike Williams of the Seahawks.

Carroll hasn't really left the Pac-10

April, 30, 2010
The Seahawks have 26 players from Pac-10 schools on their roster heading into their post-draft minicamp.

The rest of the NFC West has a combined 25 players from the conference.

Seattle had more Pac-10 players than most teams even before the team hired Pete Carroll away from USC as head coach.

The numbers have only grown (and I have added the newly acquired LenDale White to Seattle's list).

Update: The team has re-signed safety Lawyer Milloy, formerly of the University of Washington. That makes the total 26.

A look at Pac-10 players from each NFC West team:

Arizona (7)

Quarterback Derek Anderson (Oregon State), quarterback Matt Leinart (USC), safety Matt Ware (UCLA), safety Hamza Abdullah (Washington State), tight end Jim Dray (Stanford), tight end Dominique Byrd (USC) and unsigned restricted free agent guard Deuce Lutui (USC).

St. Louis (7)

Quarterback A.J. Feeley (Oregon), receiver Brandon Gibson (Washington State), running back Steven Jackson (Oregon State), fullback Mike Karney (Arizona State), guard Mark Lewis (Oregon), receiver Jordan Kent (Oregon) and unsigned restricted free agent safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (Stanford).

San Francisco (11)

Safety Taylor Mays (USC), safety Dashon Goldson (Washington), cornerback Karl Paymah (Washington State), linebacker Keaton Kristick (Oregon State), guard Brian De La Puente (California), guard Chilo Rachal (USC), center Eric Heitmann (Stanford), tackle Adam Snyder (Oregon), receiver Kyle Williams (Arizona State), snapper Brian Jennings (Arizona State) and receiver Jason Hill (Washington State).

Seattle (26)

Linebacker Reggie Carter (UCLA), receiver Mike Williams (USC), cornerback Josh Pinkard (USC), receiver Reggie Williams (Washington), receiver Mike Hass (Oregon State), receiver Michael Jones (Arizona State), running back Justin Forsett (California), cornerback Marcus Trufant (Washington State), cornerback Walter Thurmond (Oregon), cornerback Roy Lewis (Washington), safety Will Harris (USC), running back Louis Rankin (Washington), fullback Ryan Powdrell (USC), linebacker Lofa Tatupu (USC), defensive end Dexter Davis (Arizona State), guard Max Unger (Oregon), center Jeff Byers (USC), guard Mike Gibson (California), receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Oregon State), tight end Anthony McCoy (USC), tight end Cameron Morrah (California), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (California), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (USC), LenDale White (USC), Lawyer Milloy (Washington) and defensive end Nick Reed (Oregon).

Flexibility at tight end for Cards

March, 23, 2010
The Cardinals have four tight ends under contract now that starter Ben Patrick has signed his one-year tender as a restricted free agent.

All four tight ends -- Patrick, Anthony Becht, Stephen Spach and Dominique Byrd -- were with the team last season. The Cardinals are in position to head into the 2010 season without adding a tight end in the draft, should they choose to go that route.

Receiver Steve Breaston, center Lyle Sendlein, guard Deuce Lutui and nose tackle Gabe Watson are the Cardinals' remaining unsigned RFAs. Breaston was tendered to a first-round choice. The others were tendered to second-round choices.

Ghosts of the 2006 first round

March, 16, 2010
Tye Hill's release from the Falcons makes him the only 2006 first-round draft choice without a job with an NFL team.

The Rams made Hill the cornerstone of an ill-fated 2006 draft class featuring Joe Klopfenstein, Claude Wroten, Jon Alston and Dominique Byrd in the first three rounds. The fate of that class helps explain why the team will be picking first overall in 2010.

Hill, chosen 15th overall, has company among disappointing first-round corners from the 2006 class.

Antonio Cromartie (19th), Johnathan Joseph (24th) and Kelly Jennings (31st) were the other first-round corners that year. Cromartie flashed ability early in his career before fading. Joseph has lived up to expectations. Jennings could be on his way out after a tough run in Seattle, particularly with the team's new leadership valuing bigger corners.

The Rams traded Hill to the Falcons for a 2010 seventh-round choice.
Nick from Phoenix writes: I know it's early, but with the Cardinals all but locking up the division last week, I have a question about their offseason. With Antrel Rolle's cap number soaring, impending free agency for Karlos Dansby, and Darnell Dockett wanting Albert Haynesworth money, who can they keep and how good can their defense be next year? Since they locked up Adrian Wilson, can they afford to give a big contract to another safety? Are Will Davis, Cody Brown or Rashad Johnson progressing towards stepping in as a starter next year if they lose Rolle or Dansby? I can't see the Cardinals keeping more than one of Dansby or Rolle, and with two years left on Dockett's deal, I see him making a lot of noise this offseason and am wondering what your opinion is on the situation?

Mike Sando: Dansby's situation is the most pressing one in the immediate term. The Cardinals do not have adequate young depth at linebacker to feel good about their situation if Dansby leaves. They certainly missed Dansby when the Titans were marching down the field for the winning touchdown a couple weeks ago. I'm not convinced the organization will pay Dansby huge money on a long-term deal, but neither am I convinced the team has a good fallback option if Dansby does not return.

At safety, Johnson will have to prove he can be a hard-nosed player and a consistent one. It's a stretch right now to say he would be ready to fill Rolle's shoes. Brown and Davis look like they have good potential. Brown was quite raw when healthy, and now he is dealing with rehabilitation from a serious wrist injury.

The Cardinals were able to get Calais Campbell ready quickly, mitigating Antonio Smith's loss in free agency. It is possible to plug in young players. But Campbell might be an exception more than the rule.

The situation with Rolle is tough because the team is already paying so much to its other safety. Can a team really justify having two highly paid safeties? Might that money be better spent elsewhere if it's true the team cannot realistically pay everyone?

Chris from Surprise, Ariz., writes: If the Cardinals and the Vikings meet in the playoffs, do you think that the Vikings' loss last week will have a greater effect on the Cardinals or Vikings? I.e. will it give the Cardinals the confidence to know they can beat them, or do you think it will fuel the fire of the Vikings and make them play with greater intensity? Or possibly cause doubts within the Vikings and make them play out of their comfort zone?

Mike Sando: The Cardinals strike me as a team that doesn't really care about what other teams might be thinking. They are an unapologetic team. Flash back to Sunday night. Brett Favre tried to get in Calais Campbell's face after what he thought was unnecessary roughness. Campbell didn't even notice him. Typical Cardinals, and I mean that in a good way. Darnell Dockett already said he was anticipating people coming out of that Sunday night game wondering what was wrong with the Vikings, not what was right with the Cardinals. Arizona seems to find a way to have a chip on its shoulder when it matters.

Klaas from Phoenix writes: Hey Mike, longtime die-hard Seahawk fan here. I have a few questions for you. One, do you think the Seahawks can win out and with a little help make the playoffs? Two, what direction do you think the Seahawks go in the 2010 draft? Three, how strong do you feel about Mike Holmgren coming back as GM and when do you think they will hire and announce him or the new GM? Love reading your articles. Keep it up. Thanks.

Mike Sando: You're welcome. The Seahawks have no realistic shot at winning out and earning a playoff berth this season, based on what I have seen from them and the other NFC contenders. If the draft falls right for Seattle, the team will bolster its pass rush and its offensive line. Those two areas jump out to me. Quarterback could be a consideration as well. On Mike Holmgren, I think the Seahawks will consider him, but initial indications suggest the team will not just hand the job to him.

No one knows what owner Paul Allen is thinking. CEO Tod Leiweke seemed to suggest that the Seahawks would not necessarily be seeking a high-profile candidate. He said the GM would be joining the Seahawks (as opposed to the Seahawks joining the GM). At the very least, that means the next GM will not be immediately shaking up the football operation with sweeping changes.

The Seahawks know Holmgren wants the job. I think they can afford to interview multiple candidates and make sure the person they hire takes the job on their terms, even if it is Holmgren.

(Read full post)

Why the Cardinals added LB, cut TE

November, 24, 2009
The Cardinals' decision to release tight end Dominique Byrd and re-sign linebacker Monty Beisel reflects their injury situation.

Depth at linebacker has suffered while Chike Okeafor has missed time with back trouble. Linebacker Gerald Hayes has also missed time to injury this season. Byrd was no longer needed as insurance at tight end after Stephen Spach recovered from injury.

Arizona had been carrying four tight ends on its roster, one more than a team typically would. Ben Patrick's four-game suspension to open the season bought time for Byrd previously. Beisel was with the Cardinals last season. He spent time with the Chiefs this season, a natural fit with former Arizona coaches Todd Haley and Clancy Pendergast in Kansas City.