NFC West: Jose Valdez

2012 NFC West practice squad eligibility

September, 1, 2012
NFL teams can begin forming practice squads once eligible players clear waivers Saturday.

A look at which players released by NFC West teams have eligibility:

Arizona Cardinals

Eligible: Crezdon Butler, Antonio Coleman, Blake Gideon, Ricky Lumpkin, Colin Parker, Larry Parker, Steve Skelton, Quan Sturdivant, Everrette Thompson, Martell Webb, Scott Wedige, Brandon Williams, Isaiah Williams, D.J. Williams.

Not eligible: DeMarco Sampson, Alfonso Smith, Ronald Talley, Stephen Williams, Clark Haggans, Russ Hochstein

St. Louis Rams

Eligible: Cornell Banks, Tim Barnes, Tom Brandstater, Mason Brodine, Aaron Brown, Sammy Brown, Kendric Burney, Ben Guidugli, Cory Harkey, T-Bob Hebert, Jamaar Jarrett, Nick Johnson, Joe Long, Deangelo Peterson, Chase Reynolds, Scott Smith

Not eligible: Vernon Gholston, Bryan Mattison, Jose Valdez, Kellen Clemens, Ovie Mughelli

San Francisco 49ers

Eligible: Derek Hall, Joe Holland, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Cam Johnson, Matthew Masifilo, Anthony Mosley, Kyle Nelson, Al Netter, Chris Owusu, Nathan Palmer, Mike Person, Konrad Reuland, Kenny Rowe, Michael Thomas, Kenny Wiggins, Michael Wilhoite

Not eligible: Eric Bakhtiari, Ikaika Alama-Francis, Rock Cartwright, Josh Johnson, Brett Swain

Seattle Seahawks

Eligible: Pierre Allen, Allen Bradford, Kris Durham, Cooper Helfet, Rishaw Johnson, Jermaine Kearse, Kyle Knox, Cordarro Law, Pep Levingston, Ricardo Lockette, Sean McGrath, Kris O'Dowd, Josh Portis, DeShawn Shead, Vai Taua, Korey Toomer, Lavasier Tuinei

Not eligible: Phillip Adams, Deon Butler, Paul Fanaika

Note on eligibility

Straight from the collective bargaining agreement:
"The Practice Squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad:
  • "players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience;
  • "free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Accrued Season(s).

"An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.

"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.

"(For purposes of this Section, a bye week counts as a game provided that the player is not terminated until after the regular season or postseason weekend in question.)"

St. Louis Rams cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
Click here for the complete list of St. Louis Rams roster moves.

Most significant move: The Rams released No. 2 quarterback Kellen Clemens even though Clemens knew the offense better than any player on the roster. Clemens, who spent time with the New York Jets when Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer held the same job there, lost out to impressive undrafted free-agent quarterback Austin Davis.

Davis, drafted by the Boston Red Sox this year, stood out during preseason for his poise. Some players appear as though they belong. Davis did, at least initially. The preliminary assumption here is that Davis fared well enough to win the No. 2 role, although rosters remain fluid and the Rams will consider veterans at every position as they become available. The Rams also released Tom Brandstater, who was initially thought to be competing with Davis for the third-string role.

Onward and upward: Clemens could catch on with another team. Overall, however, the Rams had more holes than front-line talent to fill those holes. The players they released will not be coveted elsewhere. That was partly because the suspension Austin Pettis faces for the first two games bought the Rams time at wide receiver, where the team has quite a few mid-level prospects. With Pettis on the reserve/suspended list and not counting against the 53-man limit, the Rams kept the six receivers considered most likely to stick, including veteran Steve Smith and second-year pro Greg Salas.

Veteran fullback Ovie Mughelli received his release and could appeal to the dwindling number of teams valuing a traditional blocking fullback. The Rams kept only four running backs on this initial 53-man roster. They parted with Chase Reynolds after coach Jeff Fisher lauded the 24-year-old back as someone with the ability to close out a game.

The Rams also cut Aaron Brown, Cornell Banks, Cory Harkey, Jamaar Jarrett, Jose Valdez, Scott Smith, Mason Brodine, Nick Johnson, Ben Guidugli, Kendric Burney, Deangelo Peterson, Sammy Brown, T. Bob Hebert, Tim Barnes, Bryan Mattison, Vernon Gholston and Joe Long. Gholston could be running out of chances.

What's next: The Rams need help throughout their roster. They have the No. 2 priority in waiver claims. Expect them to put that privilege to use. The Rams should be active in pursuing help at defensive tackle after losing first-round pick Michael Brockers for a month (estimated) with a high-ankle sprain. Trevor Laws is already on injured reserve.

The Rams have only eight offensive linemen, one fewer than teams generally prefer to keep. They could use another one. They kept six linebackers, on the low side. The team is carrying 11 defensive backs at present. I wouldn't be surprised if they shopped former starting corner Bradley Fletcher, who was playing deep into games in preseason.
First-round draft choices from the NFC West are cruising through the exhibition season without much fanfare.

Arizona's Michael Floyd has three catches. St. Louis' Michael Brockers has a few tackles, but it's easy to avoid detection as a defensive tackle. Seattle's Bruce Irvin has no tackles or sacks. San Francisco's A.J. Jenkins has four catches.

The excitement from draft day has dissipated. The final exhibition games, scheduled for Thursday night, will be anticlimactic.

Time to reset expectations. Brockers and Irvin figure to get the most playing time.

Clare Farnsworth of notes that Peter King has projected Irvin to emerge as defensive rookie of the year. Effort has outpaced production to this point. Farnsworth: "(Pete) Carroll said Irvin was close to getting four sacks against the Chiefs on Friday night, and that he graded out as the most active of the D-linemen during training camp."

Also from Farnsworth: Tom Cable has gotten positive results in the running game.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates various injury situations regarding the Seahawks. Coach Pete Carroll on Jason Jones resting a surgically repaired knee for an extended period: "As he had to endure the rigors of camp, we needed to slow him down. It has just been a maintenance thing. He's in good shape. He'll be ready for the opener."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle runs through three things he wants to see in the Seahawks' final exhibition game. Braylon Edwards' name comes up.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic thinks the Cardinals are giving third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley the start Thursday night at least in part because they might need him this season. Young: "Kevin Kolb could have gone easy on him and followed up his strong finish in the first half against the Tennessee Titans by moving the chains a couple of times to start the second half. He almost certainly would have won the competition with John Skelton right then and there. Instead, Kolb inexplicably threw his first pass of the second half directly at Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy, who promptly returned it for a touchdown." Noted: McCarthy made an impressive pick against Seattle's Matt Flynn as well. Overall, pass protection might be as big a concern as the quarterback situation. That could be one reason the team isn't expected to play its top two quarterbacks.

Darren Urban of projects the Cardinals' initial 53-man roster. He has the team keeping four tight ends, eight offensive linemen and eight linebackers, including Brandon Williams. Mike Adams isn't among the cornerbacks.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists five things to watch for the Rams against Baltimore in their final exhibition game. Thomas: "Right guard Harvey Dahl will miss tonight's game with an infection. And that means the Rams will have gone through the entire preseason without their starting offensive line on the field together for one snap. Robert Turner is expected to start at right guard, but Jose Valdez and Rokevious Watkins could get some work there with the starters as well."

Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are still working to determine Steven Jackson's top backup. Isaiah Pead was the presumed favorite, but Daryl Richardson has been more productive.

Nick Wagoner of says coach Jeff Fisher plans to play starters into the third quarter, unusual for a fourth preseason game. Fisher: "There's still several (spots) that are close. If you look at the secondary, we’ve got some decisions to make. Which guy can play nickel or potentially will develop into this and that? And how do you get them the right reps? But at the same time how do you get them ready for the season? So there’s some different scenarios we’re looking at. But I think by Friday things will have cleared up for us and we’ll be able to make the right decisions."

Matt Maiocco of offers thoughts on which 49ers players will stick on the initial 53-man roster, and how they might factor. On Jenkins: "He was the 49ers' first-round draft pick, and he has gotten better and better since coming to the team. But it's still difficult to try to figure out a way for him to contribute as a rookie. Jenkins is behind Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams on the depth chart. And the 49ers are not going to suit up six receivers for regular-season games."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee lists 47 players as "locks" to make the 49ers' initial 53.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News catches up with 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox. Inman: "Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are entrenched as the starting cornerbacks. The 49ers also return their top two reserves from last season, Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock, whose exhibition-season struggles could vault Cox into the No. 4 role. The 49ers open the regular season Sept. 9 in Green Bay against reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers. Cox said he is up for that challenge, tracing his on-field confidence to his first career start that came against Manning, then with the Indianapolis Colts."

2012 pre-camp analysis: Rams 'O'

July, 2, 2012
Our two-day look at NFC West rosters continues with projections for the St. Louis Rams' offense.

Quarterbacks (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.8

Safest bets: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens

Leading contenders: none

Longer odds: Tom Brandstater, Austin Davis

Comment: The Rams could seemingly justify keeping just two quarterbacks in the absence of any pressing need to develop a third-stringer. Bradford is the franchise quarterback. Clemens knows the offense from his New York Jets days with new Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Clemens' familiarity should provide some comfort even though the Rams remained in the market for other quarterbacks through much of free agency. Depth will be a concern if Bradford suffers through another injury-shortened season. But with an offense recommitted to the run, the Rams think they can improve the odds for their quarterback.

Running backs (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.0

Safest bets: Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead

Leading contenders: Brit Miller, Daryl Richardson

Longer odds: Todd Anderson, Chase Reynolds, Calvin Middleton, Nick Schwieger, Ben Guidugli

Comment: The Rams got younger and more diverse behind Jackson, breathing life into the position. The team has kept only four running backs on its Week 1 roster over the previous four seasons, but the team had different leadership then. New coach Jeff Fisher could load up on tight ends. He already moved Guidugli from tight end to fullback. There will be overlap between the positions, affecting numbers. Pead projects as a change-of-pace back, as does Richardson, who impressed the team this offseason.

Wide receivers (10)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.6

Safest bets: Brian Quick, Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, Steve Smith, Greg Salas

Leading contenders: Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander, Austin Pettis

Longer odds: Nick Johnson, Michael Campbell

Comment: The Rams have lots of second-tier options at the position. They need one or more receiver to emerge as a more dynamic option. Quick, chosen in the second round, reminded Rams coaches of Terrell Owens (physically, that is). Smith caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns with the New York Giants in 2009. He's been fighting his way back from microfracture knee surgery. The Rams saw signs this offseason that Smith could be close to recapturing past form. Can Smith make it all the way back? Gibson has been a starter, but it's unclear where he fits after the team used draft choices for Quick and the speedy Givens.

Tight ends (8)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.2

Safest bets: Lance Kendricks

Leading contenders: Mike Hoomanawanui

Longer odds: Matthew Mulligan, Brody Eldridge, Mike McNeill, Jamie Childers, Cory Harkey, Deangelo Peterson

Comment: The position appears wide open after Kendricks. Fisher's teams have generally leaned heavily on tight ends. Kendricks is a willing blocker, but he projects more as a receiving type. Hoomanawanui hasn't been able to stay healthy. That will need to change this season or the Rams will have reason to consider moving on. I've got no idea where Mulligan, Eldridge, McNeill, Childers, Harkey or Peterson fits into the Rams' plans. This position will have to shake out at training camp. Again, the fullbacks and tight ends will be interchangeable in some cases. Fisher said so when discussing the positions recently.

Offensive linemen (16)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.0

Safest bets: Rodger Saffold, Scott Wells, Harvey Dahl, Jason Smith, Rokevious Watkins

Leading contenders: Bryan Mattison, Barry Richardson, Quinn Ojinnaka, Kevin Hughes

Longer odds: Robert Turner, Michael Hay, Jose Valdez, T-Bob Hebert, Tim Barnes, Joe Long, Ryan McKee

Comment: It's unclear how the team will proceed at left guard. Watkins and Mattison could be considerations. Ojinnaka and Richardson have been tackles primarily, but they could conceivably project at guard in a pinch. Smith is back at right tackle after reworking his contract. The team hopes Smith can benefit from better luck with injuries and fresh coaching from assistant Paul Boudreau. Well's addition in free agency gives the line needed leadership. But with both tackles (Smith, Saffold) coming off rough seasons marked by serious injuries, questions persist. Dahl was the best and most consistent offensive lineman on the team last season.