NFC West: Ike HIlliard

Seventh pick too much for Kevin Kolb?

February, 17, 2011
2/17/11
4:10
PM ET
As promised, Kevin Kolb's potential trade value has provided a starting point for additional discussion.

"Shades" from Chico, Calif., used the recently concluded NFC West chat to question why NFL teams seem to over-value draft choices, and specifically whether the San Francisco 49ers would be foolish to consider trading the seventh overall choice for Kolb:
These are unproven, college players. Kevin Kolb has been an NFL starting QB, has had success, and has a nice upside. If he were a collegiate player, he would surely go high -- perhaps even with the No. 7 pick if he were as he is today. Can somebody, anybody, please, please give me a triple Oy Vey? I'd be all teeth to see the 49ers land Kolb and it doesn't seem like a No. 7 pick is too much of a reach, given the state of the QB situation. Of course, I'd rather trade a large turkey leg, a Prince Purple Rain CD, a sack of frozen burritos, a case of frozen Otter Pops, a BBQ-slathered porksteak, and a gigantic bowl of corn for Kolb. Smile.

This is a question I'd like to throw open for discussion, then revisit Friday.

First, I'll provide a chart showing the last 20 players drafted seventh overall, with how many seasons they played and how many Pro Bowl seasons they have earned, courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams might be able to get receiver Donnie Avery back from a foot injury in time for the regular season. Here's a quick look at available veteran receivers, with potential concerns listed for each player:

I'd be stunned if the Rams considered any receivers with significant off-field issues. Looking at the list, Hilliard might be the most logical consideration, if healthy.

Travel note: I wrote this item Sunday night and scheduled it to appear Monday while I was traveling to St. Louis for Rams camp. I'll revisit this item at some point Monday if the Rams sign a veteran replacement for Avery.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Joe in the Army (overseas) writes: The blog is great. Keep up the great work. Some of the best 49er and NFC West info around. I was reading the e-mails and see the NFC West fans are getting ready and all seem to feel good about their teams. The 49ers are looking great under Iron Mike. The Cards are coming off a Super Bowl year. The Hawks seem to look strong after a injury-plagued year. The Rams ... well, let's just just say all the NFC West teams have been in that rebuilding state.

So, with at least three teams looking real good, is the NFC West finally going to get some respect? Are we done hearing about the weak west, the soft west or the NFL's worst division? I know I'm tired of hearing that.

NFC West Team 2008 Division Record 2008 Non-Division Record
ARI
6-0 3-7
SF 3-3 4-6
SEA 3-3 1-9
STL 0-6 2-8

Mike Sando: Thanks, Joe. NFC West teams need to enjoy more success against non-division opponents. The Cardinals were 6-0 in the division and 3-7 outside the division last season. Their 3-1 postseason record outside the division deserves recognition, but NFC West teams still have much to prove.

An Arizona victory over the Colts in Week 3 would help. A 49ers victory at Minnesota, also in Week 3, would help. The Seahawks visit Indianapolis in Week 4. The 49ers are home against Atlanta in Week 5. Let's see the NFC West win a few of these games before wondering why the division doesn't command respect.

(Read full post)

Silver linings: Seahawks at Bucs

October, 20, 2008
10/20/08
9:05
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The facts: Seattle lost for the third consecutive time, falling 20-10 at Tampa Bay.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to offer a bright spot or two ...

  • The Seahawks' special teams provided favorable field position. Josh Wilson averaged 36.5 yards on four kick returns. Justin Forsett had a 24-yard punt return. Jon Ryan's net average was 42.8 yards. Lance Laury and Jordan Babineaux had big hits on the coverage teams. Olindo Mare missed a field-goal attempt for the first time this season, but the special teams were strong overall.
  • Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was disruptive at times. Linebacker Leroy Hill made big hits on Ike Hilliard and Jerramy Stevens. He probably would have picked off a pass if teammate Lofa Tatupu hadn't also fought for it.
  • Rookie defensive tackle Red Bryant made a positive impact in his first game action since the regular-season opener.
I watched this game on TV from St. Louis, keeping a notebook to record potential silver linings. There simply weren't many.

Tatupu leaves Seattle game with injury

October, 19, 2008
10/19/08
9:27
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks are struggling on defense after losing Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu to injury in the second quarter. They were having some problems before Tatupu left the game, but this injury could severely limit the defense.

Tatupu was injured during a collision involving teammate Leroy Hill and Bucs receiver Ike Hilliard. Hill faces a possible fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Hilliard. Hill's helmet hit Hilliard's facemask. Tatupu was tackling Hilliard from the other side. Hilliard left the game on a motorized cart. Tatupu has been seated on the Seahawks' bench.

Kurt Warner, then and now

September, 26, 2008
9/26/08
11:57
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

 
 AP
 Kurt Warner fumbled 12 times during his one season as a Giant. He has yet to fumble this year.

Kurt Warner returns to the Meadowlands without many memories from the one season he spent with the Giants in 2004. Warner posted a 5-4 record as a starter despite tossing only six touchdown passes and taking 39 sacks before the Giants turned to Eli Manning at quarterback.

Warner, now in his first full season as the Cardinals' starter, finds himself in a much better situation as he prepares to face the Jets in Week 4.

When Warner was with the Giants, receivers Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard combined for 100 catches without scoring a touchdown. The offense went through Tiki Barber (1,518 yards) and Jeremy Shockey (six touchdowns among 61 receptions).

The Giants finished with a 6-10 record that season. Warner has thrown 50 touchdown passes in 33 games, all with Arizona, since leaving the Giants. He has six touchdown passes, one interception and a 111.7 rating during the Cardinals' 2-1 start this season.

Warner to reporters this week: "I don't think I ever changed. I just was caught in situations where it wasn't conducive to me playing and being aggressive and attacking and being that pass-first type of offense."

Yes, Arizona receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald have combined for 33 catches, 540 yards and six touchdowns in three games. But Warner has changed.

Warner hasn't fumbled this season. He fumbled 31 times, losing 14, in 30 games with Arizona before this season. He fumbled 12 times, losing four, in his one season with the Giants. That's one big difference between Warner then and now. He also averaged one interception per 29.6 attempts before this season. He has one interception in 84 attempts in 2008.

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