NFC West: Jacob Phillips

NFC West practice squad eligibility

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
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NFL teams can begin signing eight or fewer players to their practice squads once the players clear waivers Sunday.

Players on practice squads earn $5,200 per week for the 2010 season. The collective bargaining agreement sets the following parameters for eligibility:
  • Players without an accrued season of NFL experience;
  • Free-agent players who were on the 45-man active list for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season;
  • Players who have not served more than two previous seasons on a practice squad.

According to the CBA, "A player shall be deemed to have served on a practice squad in a season if he has passed the club's physical and been a member of the club's practice squad for at least three regular-season or postseason games during his first two practice squad seasons, and for at least one regular season or postseason game during his third practice squad season."

What about bye weeks? More CBA: "A bye week counts as a game provided that the player is not terminated until after the regular-season or postseason weekend in question."

The first chart shows eligible players released by the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Johnson, Alfonso Smith and Mark Washington were waived/injured. Dean Muhtadi was released from injured reserve.


The second chart shows eligible players released by the Rams.


The third chart shows eligible players released by the 49ers (Brandon Long was released with an injury settlement).


The fourth chart shows eligible players released by the Seahawks (Jonathan Lewis was released with an injury settlement).

Post-camp roster analysis: Seahawks

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
1:26
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NFL teams have until Saturday to reduce their rosters to 53-man limits, with the 75-man deadline passing Tuesday.

I've been putting together roster breakdowns similar to this one for roughly 10 years. They're a quick read and worthwhile exercise because they require thinking through each position. The numbers in parentheses shows how many players the team has on its roster. The average number kept since 2003 reflects Week 1 counts by position.

In some cases I've used the "looking safe" category for players that could qualify as "keepers" (the term "locks" is one I used previously). The Seattle Seahawks remain somewhat unsettled at quite a few positions and they could be active in claiming players off waivers. Some players looking safe one day could become expendable quickly. The same could be said for some keepers.

Here's what I'm thinking Monday:

Quarterbacks (3)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.9

Keepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst

Looking safe: J.P. Losman

Comment: Some teams keep only two quarterbacks when other positions demand special considerations. Seattle could have some interest in Matt Leinart if the Arizona Cardinals released him. I wouldn't expect the Seahawks to invest anything trade-wise, however.

Running backs (6)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Justin Forsett, Leon Washington, Julius Jones, Quinton Ganther

On the bubble: Owen Schmitt

Also: Louis Rankin

Comment: Schmitt isn't a top special-teams player and he isn't versatile enough to carry the ball. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates says he has room for traditional fullbacks on his roster. We'll see if that's enough to spare Schmitt. I don't think the team would release Jones even though Forsett and Washington have sometimes looked better.

Wide receivers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Mike Williams, Golden Tate

Looking safe: Deon Butler

On the bubble: Ben Obomanu, Brandon Jones

Also: Ruvell Martin, Kole Heckendorf

Comment: Jones probably needs to make an impact over the next week, including during the final exhibition game, to prove he's worth a roster spot. Obomanu can play multiple positions, he's good on special teams and he's caught the ball when given chances. Jones has shown more during past regular seasons and he can also provide special-teams value. Butler's strong offseason should be enough. Houshmandzadeh seems to be gaining momentum following an injury-affected offseason.

Tight ends (5)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Keepers: John Carlson, Chris Baker

On the bubble: Anthony McCoy, Cameron Morrah

Also: Nick Tow-Arnett

Comment: McCoy has dropped too many passes, but he's a draft choice and he also scored a touchdown during the preseason. It's possible the Seahawks could keep four tight ends. They'll use more double-tight personnel groupings this season, most likely. Carlson and Baker are clearly the top two. I'm not sure McCoy or Morrah would rank among the 53 best players overall.

Offensive linemen (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.9

Keepers: Russell Okung, Sean Locklear, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Mansfield Wrotto, Mike Gibson, Ray Willis, Chester Pitts

Not sure what to think: Steve Vallos, Ben Hamilton

Also: Mitch Erickson, Jeff Byers, Joe Toledo, Gregg Peat, Jacob Phillips

Comment: This position is difficult to figure. The Seahawks expect Willis back at some point early in the season. If that holds true, the team wouldn't want to place him on injured reserve. Pitts falls into the keeper category if his knee holds up (reserve/PUP is not an option for him after Pitts passed a physical). Spencer and Unger can both play center, and Gibson could start at guard, making me wonder if there's a spot for Vallos. Hamilton entered camp as a starter. Line coach Alex Gibbs values him as a mentor for Okung. But with Gibson overtaking Hamilton recently and with Pitts getting medical clearance, Hamilton appears less valuable. Seattle might want to keep 10 while the injury situation settles out. Expect the Seahawks to check out the waiver wire, too.

Defensive line (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.6

Keepers: Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, Colin Cole, Kevin Vickerson, Nick Reed, Kentwan Balmer, E.J. Wilson, Dexter Davis

Looking safe: Quinn Pitcock

On the bubble: Craig Terrill

Also: Ricky Foley, Rob Rose, Amon Gordon, Jonathan Lewis

Comment: Clemons suddenly rivals Okung as the non-quarterback Seattle could least afford to lose. This reflects Clemons' strong play during preseason and the lack of attractive alternatives. Pitcock's youth and third-round potential could give him an edge over Terrill, at least in my view. Terrill has fought through knee trouble to remain in the mix.

Linebackers (8)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.9

Keepers: Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne

Looking safe: Matt McCoy, Tyjuan Hagler, Will Herring

Also: Joe Pawelek

Comment: Leroy Hill will open the regular season on the reserve/suspended list. He'll join the keepers once eligible. Hill, Curry and Tatupu have never played a full game together during the 2009 regular season or the 2010 exhibition season.

Defensive backs (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 7.9

Keepers: Marcus Trufant, Earl Thomas, Josh Wilson, Lawyer Milloy, Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor

Looking safe: Kelly Jennings, Jordan Babineaux

On the bubble: Kevin Ellison, Jamar Adams, Roy Lewis

Also: Cordelius Parks, Kennard Cox, Josh Pinkard, Marcus Brown

Comment: Trufant's return to form stands out as one of the most welcome developments for Seattle this summer. Thomas upgrades the coverage and playmaking ability of the secondary. The more Milloy plays, the more he looks like an enforcer type. Thurmond's return from knee surgery qualifies as the most pleasant surprise for Seattle in the secondary. Jennings' durability could be a concern. Babineaux's versatility makes him valuable even though it's looking as though the team doesn't have significant long-term plans for him.

Specialists (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Keepers: Olindo Mare, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham

Also: Clint Stitser

Comment: Mare missed from 43 yards against Minnesota on a strange night for kickers in the NFC West. Joe Nedney and Shane Adrus missed for the San Francisco 49ers.

Around the NFC West: Faneca's fit

April, 28, 2010
4/28/10
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Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals have overcrowding at guard after signing Alan Faneca. Teams generally keep nine on their 53-man rosters. The top nine right now would consist of Faneca, Lyle Sendlein, Levi Brown, Reggie Wells, Herman Johnson, Rex Hadnot, Jeremy Bridges, Brandon Keith and unsigned restricted free agent Deuce Lutui. The quality depth could make it easier for the Cardinals to justify keeping only eight on their 53. Seven are active for games.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Faneca or Wells could move to right guard depending on how things shake out.

Also from Somers: Trading one of the Cardinals' guards could make sense.

More from Somers: The Cardinals are going younger on defense and recent history suggests that might be OK.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee projects the 49ers' depth chart to open training camp while noting that Tony Wragge and Dominique Zeigler could have a harder time earning roster spots. Wragge and Zeigler aren't any worse. It's just that the 49ers have upgraded their positions.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says draft analyst Rob Rang thinks Anthony Dixon could make a run at Glen Coffee's job in 2010.

Also from Barber: Rang thinks Taylor Mays is a good fit in San Francisco because the 49ers will have good athleticism around him in the secondary.

More from Barber: Rang says the 49ers' athleticism at tackle could help Mike Iupati succeed at guard.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com profiles new Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, whose coverage ability could give Seattle a strategic advantage. Scout Matt Berry: "To have a safety with his kind of range and his instincts and ability. The flexibility as a defensive staff -- to put him down and line him up on the slot and find the man -- you get to keep personnel packages the same and that is a huge advantage. Playmaking safeties are rare."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times thinks undrafted free agent Jacob Phillips could be an intriguing tackle prospect for the Seahawks.

Also from O'Neil: a look at the Seahawks' offensive tackles.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com puts together a projected Seahawks depth chart. The situation at defensive end looks worse in writing until Lawrence Jackson, Chris Clemons, E.J. Wilson and Dexter Davis prove otherwise.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says a strong draft isn't enough to turn around the Seahawks overnight. Boling: "Although the Cardinals lost quarterback Kurt Warner, which could affect their dominance, it’s possible that San Francisco (which went 5-1 against the division last season) is ready to step up, and maybe had an even better draft than the Seahawks. Already a team that physically overpowered the Seahawks, the Niners got even more physical, and certainly could grow into the division bullies this fall, taking two top offensive linemen and big-bopping safety Taylor Mays."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sizes up the Brian Westbrook situation with the Rams this way during a chat: "The Rams obviously are serious. There was no contract offered during his Rams Park visit, just some generalities, but that could change. There are three issues with Westbrook: 1.) Does he want to play on artificial turf given his knee and ankle issues. 2.) Does he want to play for a team much lower in the standings than what he was used to in Philly. 3.) Will the money be right -- remember, he was due to make over $7 million this year with the Eagles. And will the Rams want some sort of financial 'protection' if the knee and/or ankle acts up."

Alvin Reid of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says rookie Mardy Gilyard could bring style -- and substance -- to the Rams.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks have released a list of free-agent players the team plans to sign following the draft:

  • James Brindley, free safety, Utah State.
  • Marcus Brown, cornerback, Arkansas State.
  • Kyle Burkhart, tackle, Southern Mississippi.
  • Jeff Byers, center/guard, USC.
  • Reggie Carter, outside linebacker, UCLA.
  • Patrick Devenny, tight end, Colorado.
  • Kevin Dixon, inside linebacker, Troy.
  • Demarcus Granger, defensive tackle, Oklahoma.
  • Quintin Hancock, receiver, Tennessee.
  • Will Harris, free safety, USC.
  • Adrian Martinez, center, Colorado State.
  • Joe Pawelek, inside linebacker, Baylor.
  • Jacob Phillips, tackle, Belhaven, Miss.
  • Josh Pinkard, cornerback, USC.
  • Rob Rose, defensive end, Ohio State.

That's 15 undrafted free agents, three from USC. Have you seen these guys play? Please do share your thoughts.

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