NFC West: Greg Scruggs

RENTON, Wash. -- Here are a few observations on the defense from the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) this week for the Seattle Seahawks, along with some comments from coach Pete Carroll.

The media’s only access was Tuesday, but a few things stood out:

Whoa Mayowa: I think those 15 pounds guard James Carpenter lost were transferred over to defensive end Benson Mayowa, and that’s a good thing. Bigger and stronger (possibly 265 now) is just what was needed for Mayowa to step up and make an impact as a Seahawks pass-rusher.

He was really active in the Tuesday practice and looks up to the challenge he will face from rookies Cassius Marsh and Jackson Jeffcoat, along with Greg Scruggs, who is healthy again after missing last season with a torn ACL.

Scruggs gets praise from Carroll: Speaking of Scruggs, he had an interception on Tuesday and played with a lot of intensity.

“He’s really determined,” Carroll said. “He’s worked so hard through this offseason. He’s ready to go physically. It’s been a long haul for him. I feel really good about him being back out with us.

“It seems like he’s been a part from this for so long. I think he’s ready to max it out and he’s going to get a great chance to be a big part of it. Our expectation is he will be a factor right there in the rotation.”

Toomer the boomer: Linebacker Korey Toomer stood out in the rookie minicamp and kept it up on Tuesday in the first OTA. He had a stop in the backfield and another at the line of scrimmage on a run up the middle. Toomer was playing inside and outside, and looked good in both spots. After spending his first two years on injured reserve, it’s obvious why the Seahawks kept him around.

A battle at defensive tackle: Brandon Mebane has one defensive tackle spot locked down, but Carroll mentioned three players who are in the mix for the DT spot -- returning starter Tony McDaniel and 2013 rookies Jesse Williams (who missed last year with a knee injury) and Jordan Hill.

“I’m excited to get Tony re-signed and get him back here,” Carroll said. “He had a very good year for us in doing the stuff that we wanted him to do. I think he comes in here trying to own that 3-technique spot. That’s what he came here to do. I was really proud that he was able to accomplish that, but guys are nipping at his heels here.

“Jesse Williams will be back out in the next couple of days and working with Jordan Hill. Those guys are battling for that spot. It’s going to be really competitive and it’s going to take a long time to figure that out. There’s no rush. We’ll have to get into pads and through the preseason before we really know what’s going on with that.”

Injuries a small concern: Two of these three are on defense, so I’m listing them here as a group. Not having strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip surgery), right tackle Russell Okung (toe surgery) and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle surgery) on the field was noticeable to everyone.

All of them are expected back for training camp, but no one knows for sure until it gets here. All three men are key players for the Seahawks.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks reached the 75-man roster limit Tuesday by placing receiver Percy Harvin, defensive end Greg Scruggs and cornerback Tharold Simon on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Seattle also placed linebacker Korey Toomer on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Players on the reserve PUP list can return to the active roster in Week 6 of the regular season, however, this doesn't mean the Seahawks expect Harvin back sooner than late November from his hip surgery. This simply is the move at the moment to get to 75.

Starting defensive end Chris Clemons remains on the active PUP list, which gives the Seahawks the option of placing him on the active roster at any time. Clemons is recovering from offseason ACL surgery.

Starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who suffered a groin injury in Monday’s practice, did not work out with the team Tuesday. There was no announcement on his condition.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks announced two additional roster reductions Tuesday morning when wide receiver Donavon Kemp was released and veteran cornerback Will Blackmon's contact was terminated.

Both players were free agents who were signed in the offseason. Kemp is a second-year player from Texas-El Paso and Blackmon is in his seventh season from Boston College.

The Seahawks still are four players over the 75-man limit, but they have four players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list -- defensive lineman Chris Clemons and Greg Scruggs, receiver Percy Harvin and cornerback Tharold Simon. Linebacker Korey Toomer remains on the non-football injury list.
Two of the NFC West's top receivers, Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin, headline a list of players declared physically unable to perform (PUP) as training camps gain momentum.

PUP designations carry different meanings at different times of the year. With that in mind, now is a good time to freshen up on the implications.

Players on PUP lists entering camp continue counting against the 90-man roster limit. They cannot practice while on the list. However, their teams can activate them from the list at any time before the mandatory roster reduction to 53 players, provided the players pass a physical exam.

This year, teams must reduce to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 31.

Players remaining on PUP lists at the reduction to 53 players must remain on the list for their teams' first six games. They do not count against the 53-man roster limit during that time. After six games have passed, players on PUP have a three-week window to resume practicing. Once a player begins practicing within that window, the team has another three weeks to activate the player from the PUP list onto the 53-man roster.

In effect, a player on the PUP list at the reduction to 53 players could return after his team's sixth game or as long as six weeks after that. The NFL had discussed expanding the three-week window for practicing by two weeks. I'm checking on the status of that proposal, which would have required collaboration with the NFL Players Association.

Update: The window has indeed been extended from three weeks to five weeks, according to the NFL.

Thirteen players from the NFC West are on PUP lists. Five others are on non-football injury (NFI) lists. The rules for NFI mirror those for PUP, the difference being that players on NFI lists suffered injuries unrelated to football. For example, the San Francisco 49ers recently activated defensive lineman Lamar Divens from the NFI list. They did not disclose the source of his injury, but teammate Ahmad Brooks had struck him in the head with a bottle in June, according to authorities.

Separately, the 49ers have also activated linebacker Darius Fleming and receiver Kyle Williams from their PUP list.

NFL rosters are mostly set until training camp, making this a good time to revisit a subject we hit pretty hard after the draft: how much raw playing time from last season each NFC West team will have to replace in 2013.

A few highlights and notes:
  • Most turnover: The Arizona Cardinals return 28.9 percent of their 2012 snaps at quarterback, the lowest percentage for any team at any position group. The St. Louis Rams are at 29.6 percent returning at running back. The Cardinals' secondary is at 30.8 percent returning, followed by the Cardinals' running backs at 36.9 percent. Those are the only four positions with less than 40 percent of 2012 snaps remaining on the roster. Arizona has the lowest percentage returning overall (60.9 percent).
  • Least turnover: The Rams have 100 percent of their quarterback snaps from 2012 still on the roster. The 49ers' running backs (99.4 percent) were next. Nine of the teams' position groups return at least 90 percent.
  • Injury factor: The percentages would be lower at some positions if we removed from consideration players who might not be available because of injuries. Those players include receiver Michael Crabtree, running back Kendall Hunter, receiver Kyle Williams and receiver Mario Manningham of the 49ers and defensive ends Chris Clemons and Greg Scruggs of the Seahawks. Tight end Anthony McCoy remains with Seattle, but he is on injured reserve, so I did not count his snaps as returning.
  • Suspension factor: Several NFC West players are facings suspensions to open the 2013 season. I did not remove their 2012 snap totals from consideration because all of the players are expected to factor for their teams this season.
Bruce Irvin's suspension from the Seattle Seahawks for the first four games of the 2013 NFL season will force additional shuffling early in the season.

The team was already expected to be without starting defensive end Chris Clemons, who is recovering from knee surgery and could miss part of the season. Backup defensive end Greg Scruggs could miss the full season after suffering a knee injury more recently.

Seattle was already expected to alter its rotation after adding Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel through free agency, plus defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams through the draft.

Veteran linemen on the Seahawks' roster combined for 43.5 sacks last season. Clemons (11.5), Irvin (8.5) and Scruggs (2.0) combined for 21.5 of them, or 49.4 percent. At least two and probably all three won't play early in the season.

Seattle's veteran defensive linemen combined to play 4,767 snaps for their teams last season. Players responsible for playing 3,317 of those snaps -- 69.6 percent -- remain available.

The picture changes if we consider only the three players best suited to fill the "Leo" defensive end position in coach Pete Carroll's defense. Avril, Clemons and Irvin are those three players. Clemons and Irvin combined to play about two-thirds of those snaps. The team doesn't necessarily have to play defense exactly the way it played defense last season. At this rate, that might not be an option, anyway.

Seattle's current defensive linemen combined for 16 sacks on third down last season. The currently unavailable Irvin (5.5), Clemons (4.5) and Scruggs (1.0) combined for 11 of them. Bennett (3.0) and Avril (2.0) had the other five.
NFC West teams are filling out their rosters toward the 90-player limit as rookie minicamps approach Friday.

The chart shows where teams stand at various position groups.

The St. Louis Rams announced the signing of 22 undrafted rookie free agents. The team still has nine roster spots open by my count, but the Rams are far from short-handed. They have 29 players scheduled to participate in their rookie camp on a tryout basis, the assumption being that several will earn roster spots.

Some of the numbers in the defensive front sevens can shift based on how outside linebackers and defensive ends are classified. We'll tweak those as roles become clearer.

I'm still in the process of collecting dates of birth and other vitals for the hundreds of draft choices and undrafted rookies joining rosters over the past few weeks. Once those are verified, we'll make sense of the information.

Note that the Seahawks could consider making a roster move involving Greg Scruggs. The defensive lineman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament before the draft. He's undergoing surgery this week and could miss the 2013 season.

The 49ers appear to be carrying a high number of running backs, but there is some explanation in order.

Fourth-round rookie Marcus Lattimore counts among the nine players listed at running back, but he's unlikely to play before 2014 while recovering from knee surgery. San Francisco is heavy on fullbacks with Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon and Alex Debniak. Defensive lineman Will Tukuafu also plays fullback at times. MarQueis Gray, a former quarterback at Minnesota, projects as a tight end/H-back.
Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh Ric Tapia/Icon SMIPete Carroll's Seahawks and Jim Harbaugh's 49ers have continued their rivalry into the offseason.
The 2012 battle for NFC West supremacy between the San Francisco 49ers' and Seattle Seahawks' has turned into a perceived battle this offseason.

"It just feels like the Seahawks make a move, then the Niners make a move," former NFL quarterback Damon Huard said Wednesday during our conversation on 710 ESPN Seattle. "The Seahawks sign Percy Harvin, then the Niners go get Anquan Boldin. The Niners just signed Nnamdi Asomugha, they signed Colt McCoy, and now it's the Seahawks' turn to sign a quarterback. It really feels like this competition that was so fun to watch last fall has carried over into the offseason between the Niners and the Seahawks."

That's what it feels like from this angle, too. So, when ESPN's Bill Polian listed 49ers general manager Trent Baalke among his top six executives Insider without a mention of Seattle counterpart John Schneider, I knew some Seahawks fans would take offense.

"Schneider should be on there," SamW9801 wrote in commenting on the Polian piece.

I'm going to ratchet up the discussion with an assist from Tony Villiotti of Tony identified ranges of picks by how frequently teams have found five-year starters within those ranges.

Using those general ranges, displayed at right, I've put together a chart at the bottom of this item comparing the 49ers' and Seahawks' draft choices since 2010.

Baalke took over the 49ers' draft room roughly a month before the 2010 draft. Schneider became the Seahawks' GM that offseason. The 49ers then underwent a coaching change after the 2010 season, at which point Baalke assumed the GM title officially. We might cut Baalke some slack for selecting Taylor Mays, a player then-coach Mike Singletary valued. There were surely other times when both GMs followed their coaches' input, for better or worse.

Seattle has drafted 28 players during this period, three more than San Francisco has drafted. The Seahawks had more to work with from a qualitative point as well. Their median choice was No. 130 overall, compared to No. 165 for the 49ers.

It's pretty clear both teams know what they are doing in the draft.

Aldon Smith, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati and NaVorro Bowman have earned Pro Bowl and/or All-Pro honors for the 49ers. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman have done so for the Seahawks.

Both teams have found franchise quarterbacks after the first round. Colin Kaepernick was chosen 36th overall in 2011. Wilson went to Seattle at No. 75 last year.

Neither team has missed in that first category, which includes players taken among the top 13 overall picks. Smith and Okung are elite players at premium positions.

Both teams have unanswered questions in that 14-40 range. The 49ers are waiting on receiver A.J. Jenkins to produce. The Seahawks haven't gotten much from guard James Carpenter. But in Iupati and Thomas, the 49ers and Seahawks, respectively, found players among the very best at their positions. Kaepernick's selection puts this group over the top for San Francisco. Seattle got eight sacks from Bruce Irvin as a rookie in 2012, so the Seahawks aren't far behind. It's just impossible to overlook the value a franchise quarterback provides.

Seattle has the edge in the 41-66 range. Mays is long gone from the 49ers. That leaves LaMichael James for the 49ers against Bobby Wagner and Golden Tate for Seattle. Wagner was an instant starter at middle linebacker and a three-down player who commanded consideration for defensive rookie of the year. Tate blossomed with Wilson at quarterback.

The Seahawks also have an edge in that 67-86 range, having selected Wilson.

Seattle holds a 7-3 lead in number of picks used between the 87th and 149th choices, a range producing five-year starters 16 percent of the time, according to Villiotti.

Both teams used picks in that range for players whose injury situations dragged down their draft status: Joe Looney in San Francisco, Walter Thurmond in Seattle. Both teams found starting linebackers in this range: Bowman to the 49ers, K.J. Wright to the Seahawks. Both teams found developmental running backs in that range: Kendall Hunter to the 49ers, Robert Turbin to the Seahawks. Both teams found Pro Bowl players: Bowman in San Francisco, Chancellor in Seattle.

Sherman, arguably the NFL's best cornerback, gives Seattle an edge in the 150 through 189 range of picks. Both teams found backup tight ends there. Anthony Dixon (49ers) and Jeremy Lane (Seahawks) have the potential to expand their roles.

The 49ers found starting fullback Bruce Miller in the final pick range, which runs from 190 to the end of the draft. Seattle found a projected starting guard there in J.R. Sweezy. Malcolm Smith is a candidate to start at linebacker for Seattle. Miller and Sweezy both played defense in college. Miller already has successfully transitioned to offense. Seattle believes Sweezy will do the same.

Summing it up: Both teams can feel good about their draft performance in the past three seasons. I doubt either team would trade its picks for the other team's. That makes sense. Teams draft the players they like best. The 49ers have six projected 2013 starters to show for their choices. The number is eight for the Seahawks, not counting Irvin or Tate. Seattle has had more choices and higher choices, and more openings in the lineup to accommodate those players. I think that shows in the results.

Recent pieces from Adam Schefter and Mel Kiper Jr. Insider have focused attention on some of the strongest decisions NFC West teams made during the 2012 NFL draft.

With Kiper's 2012 draft re-grade in mind, I've put together a list showing the NFC West rookie draft choices providing the most value relative to draft status, at least in my view.

I've ruled out players drafted in the first two rounds, figuring those players should produce relatively early in their careers. I've ruled out special-teams players, figuring teams can find those throughout the draft. And I've ruled out mid-round picks contributing as backups, figuring those players should contribute as backups.

We're left with eight players, four of them drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, three by the St. Louis Rams and two by the Arizona Cardinals. The San Francisco 49ers did not need their rookies as much this season.

St. Louis' Trumaine Johnson arguably should be on the list. He made three starts and picked off two passes as a third-round choice. In the end, that seemed reasonable for a player drafted 65th overall. Johnson's teammate, kicker Greg Zuerlein, would lead any list of special-teams draft choices in the division.

I left off the Cardinals' Ryan Lindley even though he became Arizona's starting quarterback as a sixth-round choice. Lindley exceeded expectations in becoming a starter. However, he had zero touchdown passes and seven interceptions while ranking last in Total QBR (9.8) among the 43 quarterbacks with at least 50 pass attempts during the regular season.

2013 Kiper mock: Seahawks thoughts

January, 16, 2013
Mel Kiper Jr. has released his initial 2013 NFL mock draft Insider for the first round. We discussed his St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals projections previously. Now, I'll do the same for Kiper's Seattle Seahawks projection. The Seahawks hold the 25th overall choice.

25. Seattle Seahawks: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Kiper's give: "John Schneider and Pete Carroll showed great instincts in the 2012 draft, adding players they felt could help them immediately, even as analysts (myself included) questioned slot value. The defense was very good this past season, but I think an interior defender who can occupy blockers, occasionally penetrate and even wreck the pocket from the inside is a need."

Sando's take: The Seahawks have recently given big contracts to defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons. They used the 15th choice in the 2012 draft for pass-rushing defensive end Bruce Irvin. Seattle has also gotten mostly good play from defensive tackle Alan Branch. Despite all the investments in the defensive line, I do think the Seahawks would be wise to address the position early in the draft if value warrants the pick. Adding Jenkins' 358-pound body to the line might help shore up a run defense that ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed from Week 7 through the end of the season. Improving the pass rush should stand as Seattle's No. 1 offseason priority, however. Clemons is 31 years old and suffered a torn ACL during the Seahawks' playoff victory at Washington. His status for the 2013 season is in question. Irvin's longer-term future was at Clemons' position. Perhaps Clemons' injury accelerates the transition. Pass-rushing defensive tackle Jason Jones, a free agent in 2013, also finished the season on injured reserve. Seattle could have used a stronger pass rush late in games against Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. Addressing that deficiency in the draft seems like a must even though Irvin and fellow rookie Greg Scruggs showed promise.
NFC West teams signed two defensive linemen from the Tennessee Titans during free agency this year.

Only one of them remains a factor after the Seattle Seahawks placed Jason Jones on injured reserve Thursday. Jones was signed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract as the team sought to upgrade its interior rush on passing downs. The move paid off at times, but knee trouble limited Jones as the season progressed.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Rams are getting good value from defensive end William Hayes, the former Titan they signed to a one-year deal worth $900,000.

Jones and Hayes have each played about one-third of their teams' defensive snaps this season. Jones has three sacks. Hayes has four. Hayes scored high marks from Pro Football Focus for his play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. Jones stood out previously.

The Rams also visited with Jones during the offseason. Their decision to sign Hayes was unrelated.

Jones had played increased snaps over the past two weeks, including about two-thirds of them against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15. The Bills run their offense primarily from pass-oriented personnel groupings, inviting defenses to use sub packages favoring pass-rush players such as Jones.

Rookie Greg Scruggs could see additional playing time now that Jones is on injured reserve. The team will presumably address the position in the offseason. Seattle can expect to spend more time in its base defense against San Francisco in Week 16. The 49ers favor heavier personnel groupings on early downs.

Silver linings: Seahawks at 49ers

October, 23, 2012
Looks like I forgot to run one of the customary post-defeat "Silver linings" files. Thanks for the heads up on my Facebook page, Pete.

The facts: The Seattle Seahawks fell to 4-3 with a 13-6 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • Officials assessed only three penalties against the Seahawks, the third time in four games Seattle had five or fewer in a game. The team had 32 over its first three games.
  • Marshawn Lynch reached 100 yards rushing for the second time in his past two games against the 49ers.
  • Seattle allowed 27 percent conversions on third down.
  • The Seahawks allowed one touchdown in four red zone possessions, picking off 49ers quarterback Alex Smith on one of those possessions.
  • Jason Jones and Greg Scruggs recorded sacks.
  • Seattle allowed zero receptions to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who had caught at least one pass in 58 consecutive games.
  • Center Max Unger received high marks for his work against 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga as Seattle averaged 4.7 yards per carry.
  • Russell Wilson threw accurately on deep passes for tight end Evan Moore and running back Robert Turbin.
  • The Seahawks allowed only one offensive touchdown for the fifth time in seven games.
  • Seattle limited an opponent to three or fewer points in the first quarter for the sixth time in seven games. The team has allowed 16 points in seven first quarters.
  • Seattle is finished with its divisional road schedule.
Looking ahead: The Seahawks visit Detroit in Week 8.
San Francisco 49ers fans periodically ask when the team's 2012 draft class might begin contributing on the field.

Like other top teams, the 49ers drafted late in the order. Their roster was already quite strong. That combination has made it tougher for the 49ers' rookies to earn playing time. It doesn't necessarily mean their draft choices are falling short. It just means they're not playing yet.

With an assist from Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information, I've put together charts showing games played, games started and offensive/defensive snap counts for every 2012 NFC West draft choice through Week 6.

The 49ers are the only team in the league with zero snaps from their 2012 class. The 6-0 Atlanta Falcons' draft choices have played 25 snaps, the second-lowest total. The 30 remaining teams have gotten at least 215 snaps and an average of more than 700.

Seattle ranks fifth with 1,092 snaps from 2012 draft choices, followed immediately by St. Louis at 988. Arizona ranks 14th with 806. Right tackle Bobby Massie has played 424 of those, more than any team has gotten from its fourth-round choices. Seattle leads the league in snaps from seventh-rounders while ranking second in snaps from third-rounders. The Rams are second in snaps from second- and seventh-rounders.

Arizona Cardinals

Quick notes: Michael Floyd is getting work as the fourth receiver. He had a 24-yard reception Sunday. He has seven catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. ... Massie is getting valuable experience. He's been a liability in pass protection against some opponents. That was to be expected. ... Cornerback Jamell Fleming's playing time has fluctuated based on Greg Toler's availability. ... Ryan Lindley becomes the No. 2 quarterback behind John Skelton now that Kevin Kolb is injured. The team could conceivably re-sign Rich Bartel in the future. The Cardinals do like Lindlely's potential, however.

Seattle Seahawks

Quick notes: Bruce Irvin has 4.5 sacks, including one to help preserve a victory at Carolina. ... Second-round choice Bobby Wagner has provided a significant upgrade at middle linebacker. He opened the season as a starter and member of the base defense. His has become an every-down player over the past two weeks, with positive results, including when he ran down Cam Newton for a loss. ... Russell Wilson owns two fourth-quarter comeback victories in his first six starts, two more than Seattle managed last season. He is the first rookie since the 1970 merger to throw winning touchdown passes in the final two minutes of two games. ... Robert Turbin's speed and power have impressed. ... J.R. Sweezy impressed in camp and started the opener, but he wasn't ready. ... Greg Scruggs is healthy again and figuring into the pass-rush rotation.

San Francisco 49ers

Quick notes: Trenton Robinson has played on special teams, but he has been inactive recently. A.J. Jenkins has been active without playing. The 49ers have established players ahead of him at wide receiver. They also use two backs and/or two tight ends frequently, diminishing opportunities for wideouts to get on the field. Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Randy Moss are competing for those limited snaps. ... LaMichael James' arrival provided incentive for Kendall Hunter, who has met the challenge. Might there be a role for James later in the season? So far, the 49ers haven't even activated veteran Brandon Jacobs. ... Joe Looney projects as a potential future starter at guard, but there might not be an opening if Alex Boone continues playing well. Boone seized the job while Looney was recovering from foot surgery. ... Darius Fleming suffered a knee injury and remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. ... The team released sixth-rounder Jason Slowey. ... Seventh-rounder Cam Johnson is on the practice squad.

St. Louis Rams

Quick notes: First-round defensive tackle Michael Brockers has recovered from an ankle injury well enough to become a big part of the Rams improving run defense. ... Brian Quick made a key reception over the middle to help the Rams beat the Seahawks, but fourth-rounder Chris Givens has made a bigger impact among the Rams' rookie wideouts. Givens has a reception of at least 50 yards in each of the Rams' last three games. That is a first for any NFL rookie since Willie Gault in 1983. ... Janoris Jenkins has been a playmaker at cornerback all season. He suffered a significant lapse in coverage at Miami, but overall, Jenkins has shined. ... Fifth-rounder Rokevious Watkins reported out of shape and landed on injured reserve. ... Sixth-rounder Greg Zuerlein has transformed the Rams' offense with his extended field-goal range, although he struggled some in Week 6. ... Seventh-rounder Daryl Richardson has a 5.2-yard average per carry and 246 yards rushing. He has won playing time from second-rounder Isaiah Pead, who has not been a factor.

2012 Seahawks defensive snaps: Weeks 1-5

October, 13, 2012
A periodic look at which players are playing and when, continuing with the Seattle Seahawks' defense:

NFC West: Injury situations that matter

September, 26, 2012
Arizona: Beanie Wells' turf-toe injury will sideline him until at least Nov. 25, putting pressure on second-year pro Ryan Williams to remain healthy. The team re-signed Alfonso Smith for depth, but Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell are ahead of him. Powell looked good while carrying 42 times for 249 yards (5.9-yard average) and three touchdowns during the preseason. Quarterback John Skelton practiced on his injured ankle, an indication he'll be available against Miami. Kevin Kolb presumably remains the starter. Defensive end Darnell Dockett (hamstring), tight end Todd Heap (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (hamstring) and Stephens-Howling (groin). Dockett's injury will be one to watch. He's been playing at a high level. Heap appeared close to playing last week. Safety Adrian Wilson (groin) was among those limited in practice after sitting out last week.

St. Louis: Defensive tackle Michael Brockers returned to practice after missing the first three games with a high-ankle sprain. That's a good sign for the Rams as they prepare for Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. Brockers was limited in practice. Steven Jackson (groin) did not practice. The team remains without center Scott Wells and left tackle Rodger Saffold. A knee injury continues to limit Wayne Hunter, Saffold's replacement. Saffold could miss a few more weeks. Overall, though, the Rams are healthier than they were last season. One question is whether Jackson's groin injury will linger. He faces a Seattle run defense that has allowed 2.9 yards per carry on rushes excluding quarterback scrambles.

San Francisco: Linebacker Patrick Willis practiced despite the ankle injury he suffered against Minnesota. That's a welcome indication for Willis and the 49ers. Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga (knee) missed practice. His status affects the 49ers' base defense heading into a Week 4 game against the New York Jets. The Jets have faced base or short-yardage defenses more than 60 percent of the time this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 49ers continue to ease running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) and returner Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) without any pressure to rush them. Both were limited participants. That marked progress for Jacobs, who was injured Aug. 18.

Seattle: Left tackle Russell Okung appeared to make it through the Green Bay game without suffering an injury setback to his knee. Former starting right tackle James Carpenter could be available for the first time this season. He projects at left guard, but it's not clear how much he'll play, or how soon. Seattle has not been afraid to rotate players at the other guard spot. Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011, has been rehabbing from the knee surgery he underwent last season. Receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) was a last-minute scratch from the lineup against the Packers. He could return this week. Baldwin and cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) practiced fully. Right tackle Breno Giacomini (pectoral), guard John Moffitt (knee) and defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (wrist) did not practice.