NFC West: Dorson Boyce

Gregg Williams isn't getting much sympathy these days.

That isn't going to change following the release of an audio tape featuring the former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator imploring his players to injure specific San Francisco 49ers -- with cash from Williams as the reward in at least one instance.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides balance to the criticism by challenging the Saints' suggestion that Williams, now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, acted as a "rogue" coach during his days with New Orleans. Burwell: "How can this tape be the thing that forces Roger Goodell to heap a lifetime ban on Williams? Unless I'm missing something, didn't the tape simply confirm every crime that Goodell already said he already knew Williams had perpetrated? The tape adds no new revelations, only additional confirmation. The only thing the tape does is conveniently provide the Saints coaches and general manager with an excuse to throw Williams under the bus as they attempt to receive some leniency from Goodell in their appeals hearing." Noted: The audio tape provides emphatic confirmation. It amplifies and corroborates in a manner that further damages/cements Williams' reputation. Also, the NFL's bounty announcement referred to other games and other opponents, but not this game against the 49ers. It also demonstrated that the Saints continued the bounty program shortly after learning that the NFL had reopened its investigation.

Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com says the NFL never would have punished the Saints to this degree had New Orleans defeated San Francisco and won the Super Bowl. Ratto: "Sean Payton would have skated again, because the league would never tolerate a two-time Super Bowl winner and supergenius being publicly rebuked for something they were trying to keep on the down-low. In short, the 49ers did the league a huge favor. Alex Smith is owed a huge solid, and here’s hoping now that he’s been given the back of the business’ hand in his latest contract that someone sees fit to take care of him. Those two late scores took out New Orleans, freeing Roger Goodell to muster enough owner support to drop a bag of hammers on Tom Benson and his perpetually defiant football staff."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News thinks Williams is finished as an NFL coach, but he offers this: "I understand the public outrage over this tape, but folks, did you think Williams (or any intense defensive coordinator) regularly tells his players to be nice out there? No, this is an incredibly violent sport. And usually the more violent team, if it stays within the rules, is the one that wins. By the way, the 49ers were the more violent team on the field in the playoff game. THEY WON THE GAME."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News passes along comments from 49ers safety Donte Whitner describing Williams' pregame directives as "really disgusting."

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' next draft class faces an uphill fight in some cases.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says James Sanders' signing to a one-year contract gives the Cardinals depth at safety behind starters Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. Somers: "Sean Considine left for the Ravens, and Hamza Abdullah is not under contract. Rashad Johnson, a restricted free agent, has not yet signed his tender offer of $1.26 million."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has this to say about Sanders: "This is a veteran who should serve well in the locker room. A scouting report from someone who covered Sanders acknowledged his age -- he doesn’t run as well as he used to -- but that the veteran is a good person, good with teammates and is intelligent, the kind of player who makes sure everyone is on the same page defensively. In some ways, it sure sounds a lot like Richard Marshall (and like Marshall, Stewart is from Fresno State. He’s actually a one-time college teammate of Marshall’s.)"

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team held its annual workout for locally produced college talent. Farnsworth: "At best, the Seahawks can find a player or two from the group -- as was the case last year with Jesse Hoffman, a defensive back from Eastern Washington University and Shorecrest High School; and Dorson Boyce, a fullback from the University of Washington. Each was invited to training camp and Hoffman was signed to a future contract for this year in January. Last year’s group also included two players who were drafted by other teams –- UW quarterback Jake Locker, the eighth pick overall by the Titans; and Shiloh Keo, a defensive back from the University of Idaho and Woodinville High School who went to the Texans in the fifth round."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along Evan Silva's contention that John Carlson, formerly of the Seahawks, was the most overpaid player in free agency this offseason.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle dismisses the notion of Kam Chancellor moving to outside linebacker for the Seahawks.
The following recently released and waived/injured NFC West players are eligible for practice squads if they clear waivers:
Arizona Cardinals

Jared Campbell, Marshay Green, Sean Jeffcoat, Ricky Lumpkin, Jeremy Navarre, Aaron Nichols, Bryant Nnabuife, Kris O'Dowd, Tom Pestock, William Powell, Steve Skelton, Kendall Smith, Thad Turner, Isaiah Williams, D.J. Young.

St. Louis Rams

Damario Ambrose, Tim Atchison, DeMarco Cosby, Tae Evans, Marlon Favorite, Pete Fleps, Cody Habben, John Henderson, Kevin Hughes, Randall Hunt, Thaddeus Lewis, Greg Mathews, Jeremy McGee, Ryan McKee, Jonathan Nelson, Fendi Onobun, Chase Reynolds, Van Stumon.

San Francisco 49ers

Chase Beeler, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Brian Bulcke, Jack Corcoran, Phillip Davis, Derek Hall, Joe Hastings, Chris Hogan, Ronald Johnson, Alex Joseph, Chris Maragos, Cory Nelms, Xavier Omon, Konrad Reuland, Kenny Rowe, Sealver Siliga, Monte Simmons, Curtis Taylor, Kenny Wiggins.

Seattle Seahawks

Pierre Allen, Dorson Boyce, Chris Carter, Paul Fanaika, Maurice Fountain, David Howard, Michael Johnson, Jameson Konz, Mark LeGree, Ricardo Lockette, Michael Morgan, Josh Pinkard, William Robinson, Owen Spencer, Vai Taua, Patrick Williams.

A few younger players are not eligible, including former St. Louis Rams receiver Mardy Gilyard, who spent 11 games on the game-day roster last season. Players with no accrued seasons or fewer than nine appearances on game-day rosters in their only accrued season are among those eligible. Players can spend a third season on a team's practice squad as long as their team keeps its 53-man roster full at all times.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com expects Ahmad Brooks to earn a starting job this season. Maiocco: "Brooks, who recorded 11 sacks in the past two seasons combined, has been lining up on the left side with the first-team defense. With his job apparently secure, that leaves competition on the right side between incumbent Parys Haralson and rookie Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft." Claiming Brooks off waivers from Cincinnati in 2008 stands as one of the better recent waiver claims I can recall in the NFC West. Reports at the time suggested Brooks might back up Patrick Willis at inside linebacker. Brooks has instead become an effective outside pass-rusher. The 49ers were strongly considering taking Brooks in the 2006 supplemental draft, but the Bengals beat them to it.

Also from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' quarterback situation has evolved.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee quotes 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh as pointing to the following players as having strong camps: Brooks, Willis, Justin Smith, Donte Whitner, Andy Lee, David Akers, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Joe Staley and Chilo Rachal.

Also from Barrows: Tramaine Brock has been the 49ers' most durable cornerback this summer.

Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat updates the rising and falling stock of various 49ers players.

Also from Cohn: The 49ers' starters will play about as much in the second week of preseason as they did in the first.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News updates Harbaugh's plans for the 49ers' wide receivers. Inman: "There remains an obvious emphasis on downfield blocks that could help spring mainstay running back Frank Gore. But the receivers are learning a new array of routes, including a bevy of slant patterns, once a trademark during the 49ers' days as a Super Bowl-winning dynasty."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the newly signed Josh McCown could get playing time for the 49ers against Oakland.

Also from Crumpacker: Rookie cornerback Chris Culliver has caught the 49ers' attention. Harbaugh: "He really showed good things right from the beginning. I thought he played well the first week [of training camp]. The third week, he has to push through some things to keep that upward trajectory going. The jumps don't get to be as big as they were the first week."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals first-round draft choice Patrick Peterson faces a tough transition to the NFL as a cornerback, noting that Charles Woodson is the only defensive rookie of the year from the secondary over the past 18 seasons. Boivin: "It's been difficult to evaluate Peterson in this limited time at training camp, but he's certainly caught the team's eye as a returner. He was a standout punt and kick returner in college and showed flashes in the Cardinals' preseason victory against the Oakland Raiders. He returned a kick 29 yards." I expected Peterson to stand out more as a cornerback early in camp.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic contrasts the Cardinals and Packers heading into their preseason game Friday night. Somers: "Unlike the Packers, the Cardinals' two-deep is really a flow chart of the unknown. Their starting two outside linebackers, Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, are 34. Starting nose tackle Dan Williams reported to camp in poor condition. The two starting cornerbacks, A.J. Jefferson and Greg Toler, are young and unproven. There is no premier pass rusher and strong safety Adrian Wilson is out with a torn biceps tendon."

Also from Somers: Five things to watch when the Cardinals and Packers play.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com won't be surprised if Jeff King gets a few starts over Todd Heap in single tight end groupings thanks to King's superior blocking.

Also from Urban: advancing the Cardinals-Packers game.

Jim Trotter of SI.com offers thoughts from Cardinals training camp. He expects Larry Fitzgerald to sign a contract extension by Sept. 4

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the Seahawks' secondary came up big on the final day of training camp. Farnsworth: "Wednesday, the defensive line set the tempo in practice. Today, it was the defensive backs. They got their hands on dozen passes -- including interceptions by strong safety Kam Chancellor, rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell and rookie safety Jeron Johnson. But the defensive play of practice was turned in rookie linebacker Malcolm Smith, who bowled over fullback Dorson Boyce on his way to plowing into running back Justin Forsett behind the line of scrimmage."

Also from Farnsworth: The Seahawks felt rushed during camp thanks to the lockout.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Tyler Polumbus will start at left tackle for Seattle while Russell Okung continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Also from O'Neil: Zach Miller's prospects at tight end for the Seahawks. Miller has racked up receptions in recent seasons, but blocking duties prevent anyone from saying his hands are soft. Miller: "You have the lineman hands. "The swollen knuckles and the bloody fingers, peeled back nails."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers an injury update for Seattle: "Defensive back Walter Thurmond (ankle), defensive tackle Ryan Sims (knee), defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle), cornerback Kelly Jennings (head), defensive end Pierre Allen (unspecified) and tight end John Carlson (shoulder) did not practice Thursday and likely will not play."

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Red Bryant excelled at practice Thursday.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams coach Dick Vermeil for thoughts on the team. Also: "After resting his sore hip for a couple of days, running back Steven Jackson returned to practice today, albeit on a somewhat limited basis."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Donnie Avery made the most of his recent return to practice, leading some teammates to joke that he was back from the dead. Thomas: "Hey, teammates will be teammates. But Avery turned the jeers into cheers later in Wednesday's practice at Rams Park. After diving to the turf to corral a low throw, several teammates shouted encouragement."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com passes along a few Rams-related injury updates. Mike Sims-Walker has a shot at playing Saturday.

Also from Wagoner: a look at increased expectations on defense for the Rams. Wagoner: "From the moment coach Steve Spagnuolo took over in 2009 and promptly named Ken Flajole defensive coordinator, the defense has enjoyed a stability that has included a grand total of zero coaching changes on that side of the staff and minimal turnover in terms of the starters. Now, entering the third year in the aggressive, attacking scheme that Flajole and Spagnuolo have cooked up, the sky would seem to be the limit for a group that made big strides in 2010 and is expecting even more in 2011."
The Seattle Seahawks announced contract agreements with 19 undrafted rookies Tuesday.

I've sorted them by position group for quick scanning.

As noted, Seattle needed multiple quarterbacks in the short term to get through practices before the league year begins Aug. 4. Rookies can practice immediately. Veterans with contracts that expired following the 2010 season must wait until Aug. 4 before practicing under terms of their new contracts.

Josh Portis and Zac Lee give Seattle two young arms for camp.

Portis comes to Seattle with NFL roots. His cousin, Clinton Portis, has rushed for 9,923 yards in nine NFL seasons. Lee played for Nebraska and bounced back from arm surgery to address an injury suffered during his junior season. He worked out for NFL teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, but was not drafted.

Portis and Lee are both on the shorter side for NFL quarterbacks, measuring under 6-foot-3. Both ran the 40-yard dash in about 4.6 seconds.

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