NFC West: Jamaal Westerman

Outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield might still be healthy and playing for the Arizona Cardinals if his Week 9 opponent hadn't suffered a hip injury Sunday.

The man assigned to block Schofield, Green Bay tackle Bryan Bulaga, was out of the game when Schofield rushed upfield on a second-and-6 play early in the third quarter.

Schofield had beaten Bulaga's replacement up the field on the play that would end Schofield's season. Defensive end Darnell Dockett, working against a replacement guard after Green Bay moved its regular one to tackle in response to Bulaga's injury, also got good push on the play.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sensed their pressure and broke from the pocket to his right. The chase was on.

Dockett launched his 290-pound body into the air and was horizontal to the ground as Schofield turned back to the quarterback and accelerated right into Dockett's path. The athletic Rodgers pulled into the clear as Dockett's body, now spinning like a helicopter blade, chopped down Schofield from behind in the lower left leg.

The force of the impact dropped Schofield to the ground instantly, contorting his body. Dockett's weight briefly pinned Schofield's leg to the ground as both players slid across the grass. It was clear right away Schofield would not be OK.

The Cardinals did not reveal specifics on Schofield's injury. Coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters the injury would be season-ending, however.

The Cardinals were betting on Schofield and another young outside linebacker, Sam Acho, heading into this season.

They released veteran Clark Haggans and did not address the position in the 2012 NFL draft. Arizona was the only NFL team to emerge from the 2012 draft without selecting a player for its defensive front seven.

So, when Schofield suffered his ankle injury at Lambeau Field, the Cardinals didn't have a rising prospect to plug into the role. They had Quentin Groves, a former starter and backup in Jacksonville and Oakland. Groves, who has 22 NFL starts and 4.5 career sacks, has played roughly one-fifth of the Cardinals' defensive snaps this season. He projects as the starter with Schofield no longer available.

Jamaal Westerman and Zack Nash are the other backup outside linebackers.

Arizona signed Groves in May to a one-year deal worth $700,000. The Cardinals claimed Westerman off waivers from Miami. Nash is an undrafted rookie free agent. Tim Fugger, a seventh-round pick of Indianapolis this year, is an outside linebacker on the practice squad.

Schofield had four sacks in nine starts while playing better than 80 percent of the defensive snaps. He lasted until the fourth round of the 2010 draft because he faced an arduous rehabilitation from knee surgery. Knee trouble had occasionally limited him this season.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two of the running backs the San Francisco 49ers named inactive Monday night would be starting if available to the opposition.

Such is the injury imbalance for the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.

Running backs Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are both inactive for the 49ers. Arizona is without its top two backs, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.

Also inactive for the 49ers: quarterback Scott Tolzien, receiver A.J. Jenkins, safety Trenton Robinson, guard Joe Looney and nose tackle Ian Williams.

The Cardinals' list features quarterback Kevin Kolb, receiver LaRon Byrd, cornerback Greg Toler, linebacker Jamaal Westerman, guard Senio Kelemete, guard Adam Snyder and tight end Todd Heap.

Rich Ohrnberger will start ahead of Snyder at right guard. LaRod Stephens-Howling starts at running back for Arizona. Wells can return from injured reserve Nov. 25. Williams is out for the season.
A periodic look at which players are playing and when, continuing with the Arizona Cardinals' defense:

Marshawn Lynch active for Seahawks

September, 9, 2012
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Seattle Seahawks will have running back Marshawn Lynch for their regular-season opener despite back spasms that limited him in practice recently.

Lynch is active for the game. Seattle named the following players inactive: Kregg Lumpkin, Byron Maxwell, John Moffitt, James Carpenter, Golden Tate, Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs.

Moffitt was the starting right guard early in camp, but rookie J.R. Sweezy took over the job. Lemuel Jeanpierre is the primary backup at the interior offensive line spots. He started some last season.

Arizona named cornerback Greg Toler inactive. Others: Ryan Lindley, LaRon Byrd, William Powell, Jamaal Westerman, Senio Kelemete and Pat McQuistan.

On the 49ers' injury feel minus Haralson

September, 3, 2012
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Injuries have cost NFC West teams two veteran backups with starting experience.

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Parys Haralson, projected to back up Aldon Smith after starting every game last season, went on injured reserve Monday, the team announced. Haralson joined Arizona Cardinals guard Jeremy Bridges among key NFC West backups ruled out for the full 2012 NFL season.

Haralson, 28, played 49.8 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps last season.

Smith collected a 49ers rookie record 14 sacks while replacing Haralson on passing downs. Smith, who has not played since suffering a bruised hip Aug. 10, replaced Haralson in the lineup this offseason. The 49ers expect to have Smith in the lineup against Green Bay in the season opener Sunday.

Depth at outside linebacker is a potential concern, however.

Seeking reinforcements

The 49ers addressed the issue by reaching a one-year deal with former Cardinals outside linebacker Clark Haggans.

Haggans, 35, had three sacks while playing 75 percent of the Cardinals' defensive snaps last season. He also played nearly 20 percent of the snaps on special teams, slightly more than Haralson played for the 49ers. The Cardinals released Haggans in favor of free-agent addition Quentin Groves.

Trend in the works?

The 49ers were unusually healthy on defense last season. Arizona was unusually healthy several years ago when winning the NFC West in consecutive seasons. This season has a different feel so far.

San Francisco has lost Smith and Brandon Jacobs for stretches. Now, Haralson is out for the season. Arizona has lost Bridges and fellow offensive tackle Levi Brown.

Veteran seasoning

Haggans' addition gives the 49ers' 11 players in their 30s, tied for seventh-most in the NFL.

San Francisco's 53-man roster now ranks as the fifth-oldest on average. The team sought a younger replacement for Haralson when submitting a waiver claim for former Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jamaal Westeramn. Arizona also claimed Westerman, however, and the Cardinals had the higher waiver priority.

The chart lists the 49ers' 12 oldest players. Three are specialists. One, Justin Smith, is arguably the 49ers' best player. Haggans, Leonard Davis and Brandon Jacobs project as veteran backups. Davis, Justin Smith and Isaac Sopoaga have birthdays this month.

Suspension looming?

Haggans, meanwhile, could face an NFL suspension stemming from a 2011 DUI conviction.

Matt Barrows has the details.

Cardinals, 49ers and the OLB shuffle

September, 2, 2012
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The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals opened the 2006 through 2009 seasons against one another.

Their first 2012 matchup isn't until Week 8, but already these NFC West rivals are competing.

Arizona recently prevailed over San Francisco in a waiver claim for Jamaal Westerman, an outside linebacker released by the Miami Dolphins on the reduction to 53-man roster limits. Westerman, 27, gives the Cardinals a fourth outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense.

The 49ers are turning to the Cardinals' cut list for help at the position. Clark Haggans, released by Arizona at the 53-man deadline, plans to sign with the 49ers, Matt Barrows reports. Haggans, 35, will serve as the fourth outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.

Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson are the 49ers' other outside linebackers. Arizona has Acho, Schofield, Quentin Groves and Westerman.

Haggans' sack total fell to three last season as the Cardinals gave more playing time to the younger O'Brien Schofield. Schofield is now the starter opposite Sam Acho.

Haggans has one sack in eight career games against the 49ers. He has 46.5 career sacks, including a career-high nine with Pittsburgh in 2005. Haggans started all 16 games with Arizona in 2011.

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