NFC West: Josh Pinkard

The following recently released and waived/injured NFC West players are eligible for practice squads if they clear waivers:
Arizona Cardinals

Jared Campbell, Marshay Green, Sean Jeffcoat, Ricky Lumpkin, Jeremy Navarre, Aaron Nichols, Bryant Nnabuife, Kris O'Dowd, Tom Pestock, William Powell, Steve Skelton, Kendall Smith, Thad Turner, Isaiah Williams, D.J. Young.

St. Louis Rams

Damario Ambrose, Tim Atchison, DeMarco Cosby, Tae Evans, Marlon Favorite, Pete Fleps, Cody Habben, John Henderson, Kevin Hughes, Randall Hunt, Thaddeus Lewis, Greg Mathews, Jeremy McGee, Ryan McKee, Jonathan Nelson, Fendi Onobun, Chase Reynolds, Van Stumon.

San Francisco 49ers

Chase Beeler, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Brian Bulcke, Jack Corcoran, Phillip Davis, Derek Hall, Joe Hastings, Chris Hogan, Ronald Johnson, Alex Joseph, Chris Maragos, Cory Nelms, Xavier Omon, Konrad Reuland, Kenny Rowe, Sealver Siliga, Monte Simmons, Curtis Taylor, Kenny Wiggins.

Seattle Seahawks

Pierre Allen, Dorson Boyce, Chris Carter, Paul Fanaika, Maurice Fountain, David Howard, Michael Johnson, Jameson Konz, Mark LeGree, Ricardo Lockette, Michael Morgan, Josh Pinkard, William Robinson, Owen Spencer, Vai Taua, Patrick Williams.

A few younger players are not eligible, including former St. Louis Rams receiver Mardy Gilyard, who spent 11 games on the game-day roster last season. Players with no accrued seasons or fewer than nine appearances on game-day rosters in their only accrued season are among those eligible. Players can spend a third season on a team's practice squad as long as their team keeps its 53-man roster full at all times.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Michael Crabtree's return to the practice field Monday might have violated NFL rules regarding players on the physically unable to perform list. Maiocco: "Crabtree, whom the 49ers have yet to remove from the physically-unable-to-perform list, caught more than 20 passes during warmups from quarterbacks Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh McCown and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Crabtree even caught a pass from coach Jim Harbaugh before general manager Trent Baalke walked onto the practice field, apparently, to inform Harbaugh that Crabtree was not allowed to physically participate in any aspect of practice until he's removed from the PUP list. Crabtree was not in uniform. He wore a red sweatshirt, gray shorts and a backward baseball cap." Harbaugh has created an adversarial relationship with reporters by banning them from the bulk of practices and withholding even the most basic injury-related information. When I visited camp, Harbaugh bristled when asked about injuries and even threatened to curtail access further if the questioning continued. In short, the 49ers have invited harsher scrutiny. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello: "We are looking into it. We appreciate Trent Baalke contacting our office to report what happened. Our understanding is that it occurred during warm-ups and that Michael Crabtree did not participate in practice."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee indicates Crabtree did catch passes during the practice session. Barrows: "Wearing shorts, a red sweatshirt, black cleats and a baseball cap, Crabtree spent about 10 minutes during the warm-up period catching passes from Alex Smith. When practice began, he headed to a middle field with the four quarterbacks and Harbaugh. He lined up wide of the group and took a few quick steps like a receiver would before catching screen passes from each of the quarterbacks. He caught passes from both sides of the formation, but never ran more than five yards. After about five minutes, general manager Trent Baalke walked over to Harbaugh, presumably to tell the coach that Crabtree was not allowed to take part in practice. Crabtree then moved to the team's artificial-surface field where he began his usual rehabilitation work."

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers deserve none of the breaks a rebuilding team would get when fans evaluate the 2011 season.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Frank Gore does not expect a quick resolution to his contract situation.

Also from Inman: The 49ers admitted to an "oversight" regarding Crabtree.

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers received a 2013 seventh-round choice in return for safety Taylor Mays after making it clear Mays was not in their plans.

More from Maiocco: Left tackle Joe Staley makes no excuses for the 49ers' struggles on the offensive line.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says fifth-round draft choice Mark LeGree faces stiff competition for a roster spot despite entering camp amid high expectations from the team. Farnsworth: "He was very productive in college and drafted with the thought that he could play free safety in the nickel and dime packages, allowing Earl Thomas to step up and cover a slot receiver. But Josh Pinkard and even free agent Jeron Johnson have been better in that role during training camp and the preseason. LeGree has the potential to develop into the player the coaches expect him to be. He’s just not there yet."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about the Seahawks trading cornerback Kelly Jennings to Cincinnati: "The trade of Jennings reflects the fact Seattle is so pleased with the performance of Brandon Browner and the development of rookies Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell that the Seahawks didn't foresee a role for Jennings in the secondary this season."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic updates Greg Toler's injury situation with the Cardinals. Somers: "Coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn't say who will move up the depth chart to take over for Toler, although many assume it will be first-round draft pick Patrick Peterson, who has been brought along slowly. Peterson said he and veteran Richard Marshall split time running with the first-team defense during Monday's practice, but he wasn't ready to declare the starting job is his."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says practicing in severe heat Monday took a toll on the Cardinals. The Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers do not have indoor practice facilities. The Cardinals in particular need one. Whisenhunt has affected significant change since arriving as head coach in 2007. Getting an indoor facility built should be a top priority. Larry Fitzgerald: "The first thing to go when you are dehydrated is memory, you forget your routes, things like that, so honestly, it does condition you to push through. You have to find a way to persevere."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates rookie Lance Kendricks' progress with the Rams. Coats: "After three preseason games, Kendricks is the Rams' leading receiver, with eight catches for 82 yards. He's scored two touchdowns, also a team high. ... Kendricks played basketball his freshman and sophomore years at King, and twice placed in the state track meet in the triple jump. He chose Wisconsin over Louisiana State and Arkansas despite the Badgers' run-first approach on offense. At the time, Kendricks was a wide receiver, and he'd observed the success that St. Louisan Brandon Williams and Jonathan Orr were having at wideout for Wisconsin."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com passes along roster-related updates for the Rams. Wagoner: "On Monday, the Rams made a few more moves to get closer to the final 80. Heading the list is veteran LB Na’il Diggs. Diggs signed with the Rams before last season and was solid at strong side linebacker before a pectoral injury ended his season about a month early. But the team signed Brady Poppinga in the offseason and he appears to have won the job. DB John Dempsey and DL Kenneth Charles were also let go."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times weighs Red Bryant's impact on the Seahawks' defense. O'Neil: "There might not be a bigger player on Seattle's defense than Bryant, something as figuratively true as it is literally accurate. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive end's presence made all the difference in the run defense last year." Earlier: What losing Bryant and Colin Cole meant to the Seahawks' run defense last season.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team is excited about Josh Pinkard's prospects at strong safety in the next preseason game. Starter Kam Chancellor will not play. Farnsworth: "With Kam Chancellor sidelined by a sore foot, Pinkard will start at strong safety in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver. If his performance on the practice field this week -- and especially today -- is any indication, the second-year safety is ready for the challenge and the opportunity."

Also from Farnsworth: The Seahawks' tight ends can do pretty much everything.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Pinkard overcame three ACL injuries while at USC. Williams: "Pinkard is part of a fierce battle for a roster spot at safety that includes veteran Atari Bigby, along with fifth-round draft pick Mark LeGree and undrafted free agent Jeron Johnson." It'll be tough to keep Johnson off the roster based on what we've seen to this point.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the Cardinals as the team breaks training camp. On Kevin Kolb: "Kolb has been everything coaches hoped. His physical skills are obvious, but he's also picked up the offensive system quickly, and his teammates like him. Keeping him healthy is paramount."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com updates the team's injury situation heading into the third preseason game. Urban: "Coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn’t rule out anyone for Saturday’s game save for cornerback Michael Adams (knee), although he acknowledged quarterback John Skelton (ankle) was unlikely to go (and Adrian Wilson, of course, won’t be out there.) There are some question marks. Rookie receiver DeMarco Sampson tweaked his hamstring Wednesday and sat out Thursday. Tight end Rob Housler (groin) is getting better but he missed a second straight day."

Also from Urban: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton will spend game days in the booth, not on the sideline. That is the plan for now after Horton tested out both options during preseason. Horton: "When you are up there you can evaluate everything yourself. I just wanted to explore all avenues, and make sure there wasn’t a better way to do something."

More from Urban: wrapping up Cardinals camp. Patrick Peterson: "As a rookie, I don’t think I have had enough of the NFL experience. It’s a business and you have to move on, and (the season) is up on us right now."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch runs through the Rams' roster with an eye toward which players are likely to earn roster spots. He's putting Donnie Avery in the "safe and sound" category, with rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas fighting for roster spots. I'd be mildly surprised if the Rams cut one of their rookie draft choices at the position. I could also see the Rams keeping their eye out for a veteran interior offensive lineman.

Also from Thomas: a look at Pettis and Salas. Thomas: "Normally, a third- and fourth-round pick is bulletproof during the cutdowns as rookies in this age of the salary cap. Unless the player is injured or an outright disaster, teams don't want to swallow the signing bonus by cutting the player. With the new rookie pay system in effect, the signing bonuses are lower this year across the board. But lower enough to make it easier to cut a mid-round draft pick? Probably not."

More from the Post-Dispatch: five things to watch in the Rams' third preseason game, including safety Darian Stewart.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says there's a good chance Ben Leber, Brady Poppinga and Stewart will start the preseason game against Kansas City.

Also from Wagoner: The Rams are seeking greater consistency in their next preseason game.

More yet from Wagoner: keys to the Kansas City game.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com explains why Jim Harbaugh wants the 49ers to get first-team reps for backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh: "Just looking forward to what's going to happen during the season, I'd rather have Colin ready and experience football with the starters, against the starters and National Football League savvy before we have to get to that point."

Also from Maiocco: Braylon Edwards has made an effort to develop a rapport with 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. It's less clear whether Smith and Michael Crabtree have connected well enough. Their lockers are much closer in proximity this season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Brit Miller could beat out Moran Norris as the 49ers' starting fullback. Barrows: "The 49ers have three options. They can keep Norris and not Miller, a seventh-round pick. They can keep both Miller and Norris, or they can keep the rookie and cut the veteran. Miller is faster and more fluid than Norris, 33, and would allow the 49ers to be more versatile on offense. Norris, however, has more experience at what a fullback primarily needs to be good at -- blocking." Norris is the oldest player on one of the NFL's youngest offenses.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Chilo Rachal gave up burgers for salmon in his efforts to improve his conditioning for the 2011 season. Branch: "Rachal has already met one goal: At 304 pounds, he's certainly lighter. He lost about 10 pounds during the course of the 2010 season and dropped about 30 more during the offseason, thanks to a diet loaded with fish and grilled chicken. In an effort to avoid In-N-Out runs, he paid a company to deliver his health-conscious food daily. Rachal says his extreme makeover has relieved his once-aching joints."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says it's pretty clear Ahmad Brooks will win a starting job.

Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Kaepernick's footwork appears to be improving.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Adrian Wilson was back on the Cardinals' practice field in a limited capacity, his first on-field work since suffering an injured biceps tendon. Wilson still hopes to play in the regular-season opener. The injury news at quarterback wasn't so good for Arizona. John Skelton has a high-ankle sprain. Max Hall is out with a shoulder injury and has probably seen any chance of making a run for a roster spot disappear as a result. Wilson's toughness is pretty legendary. I have to think he'll be on the field for Week 1 if it's possible. But what happens when he extends his arms to deflect a pass or make a tackle? As tough as it is to envision Wilson missing the opener, it's just as tough to envision that biceps holding up for a full season.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals have options at inside linebacker. Somers on Stewart Bradley's talent relative to that of former inside linebacker Gerald Hayes: "Bradley's size and athleticism make him versatile. At 6-4, 258 pounds, Bradley gives the Cardinals a physical presence in the middle that they've lacked since Hayes was healthy. At his peak, Bradley is a better player than Hayes at his best. But Bradley can do more than take on offensive linemen. His speed makes him an asset in coverage and a capable blitzer."

More from Somers: O'Brien Schofield took to heart his demotion and criticisms from the Cardinals' coaching staff. Somers: "Schofield, a fourth-round pick in 2010 from Wisconsin, dedicated himself to studying last week. He made flash cards of formations and his responsibilities, and had Sam Acho and fellow linebacker Reggie Walker grilling him constantly. Schofield skipped pre-practice naps to study. He studied as he was receiving medical treatment and before he went to sleep. If other guys were joking during practice, he moved away from them to concentrate."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com links to video from Wilson's return.

Also from Urban: seeking continuity on the Cardinals' offensive line.

More from Urban: on receiver Stephen Williams' progress in Cardinals camp.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Darian Stewart is getting some work with the first-team defense ahead of Craig Dahl at strong safety. Thomas: "Stewart saw most of his action as a rookie on special teams. But late in the season he was worked in on defense, coming in on certain packages in passing situations. Stewart acknowledged that he was a bit overwhelmed at times during his rookie season. He was trying to learn both safety positions as well as his responsibilities on special teams." Dahl has a $1.6 million salary this season. Stewart's salary is $450,000.

Also from Coats: Mike Hoomanawanui could be out for a while, but Danario Alexander is practicing again.

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com says Week 3 of the preseason is when the Rams' offense needs to pick up the pace.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explores football's harsh realities through the eyes of a few Rams players.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers thoughts on the Rams' roster during a recent chat.

Also from Thomas: The Rams are counting on Quintin Mikell. Thomas: "Mikell earned his spurs as a special teams player, twice being named the Eagles' special teams MVP. For most of those early years in Philly, Mikell bided his time at safety, backing up Pro Bowlers Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis. As a young player, Mikell looked up to Dawkins in particular, watching everything he did."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the coaching staff "loves" Stewart's potential at safety.

Also from Wagoner: an appreciation for former snapper Chris Massey. Wagoner: "He was an absolute beast in the weight room, regularly registering lifting records that placed him even with or above the biggest and strongest linemen. He was a diligent student in the classroom as he’d be off the practice field and in the film room watching that day’s practice within minutes of the end of the workout."

More from Wagoner: Alexander's fight for a roster spot.

More yet from Wagoner: Mikell's impact. Wagoner: "Mikell went to the Pro Bowl following the 2009 season after he posted 90 tackles, 13 passes defended and two interceptions. Oddly enough, he did not go last year despite bettering that performance with 111 tackles, 14 passes defended, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. For his career, Mikell has 444 tackles, four sacks, 46 passes defended, 10 interceptions, seven forced fumble and seven fumble recoveries."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com reports from the team's annual closest-to-the-pin competition precipitating the Champions Tour event sponsored in part by the team. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who recently defended his title in the Seahawks' annual home-run derby, defended his title in this event as well. But it wasn't quite good enough to beat professional Jay Don Blake. Farnsworth: "For the record, Blake’s winning shot was 2 feet, 4 inches from the pin, while Whitehurst was second at 8 feet, 4 inches. Mike Goodes, another Senior Tour golfer who’s also in town for the Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge this weekend, was next at 12 feet, 3 inches. Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate’s best effort was 15 feet, 4 inches."

Also from Farnsworth: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledges Whitehurst's progress while recommitting to Tarvaris Jackson as the team's starting quarterback.

More from Farnsworth: The Seahawks see David Vobora as a versatile backup with special-teams value. Farnsworth: "The coaches envision Vobora possibly filling the same role Will Herring did last season, when Herring was the backup at all three linebacker spots but capable of stepping in to start at any of them – and also a big contributor of special teams."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates the Seahawks' injury situation. Kam Chancellor missed practice.

Also from O'Neil: thoughts on Aaron Curry's new contract. O'Neil: "Seattle was not going to cut Curry. Not with the amount of money that was guaranteed under the terms of that contract both in 2011 and 2012. So why did this get done? Well, Curry was willing to give up the provision that his 2012 base salary was guaranteed in order to have the final two seasons of the contract removed. Seattle may have seen that like selling the sleeves off a vest as Curry was unlikely to remain on the team for the final two years of the contract as it was. But this kind of forces the issue with Curry's future and creates a clearer timeline that Curry may be able to find a new role -- likely with a different team -- after this season and certainly after 2012."

More from O'Neil: Brandon Browner and Josh Pinkard are making an impact in the Seahawks' secondary.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers updates from Seahawks practice. On the injury front, Ben Obomanu and Chris Clemons were back on the field.

Also from Williams: Whitehurst appears to have taken Jackson's promotion as a wake-up call.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee revisits Greg Cosell's scouting report on Taylor Mays to help explain why the safety didn't stick with the 49ers. Cosell now: "The NFL game is about lateral movement and change of direction, and he doesn't have that. ... I thought he was overall a big-time stiff, and I thought he was very lucky to be picked in the second round." Mays most likely would still be on the 49ers' roster if Mike Singletary were the team's head coach. But that would not have assured success for Mays over time. The hard feelings Mays expressed toward Carroll when the Seahawks selected Earl Thomas instead of Mays appeared misplaced at the time, and more now.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says injury issues have prevented Shawntae Spencer from tightening his grip on the starting job at right cornerback. Spencer: "There's no use in being frustrated because it's something you can't control. It's out of my control. All I can do is what Fergie [Jeff Ferguson, director of football operations and sports medicine] tells me to do every day and try to get back as soon as I can."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers aren't making any bold proclamations about Alex Smith as their starting quarterback for the regular season. Inman: "Smith has started both exhibition games and is on target to secure the job ahead of rookie Colin Kaepernick and veteran Josh McCown. Smith started the first seven games last season and has a 19-31 record as a starter since being drafted first overall in 2005. Asked when he planned to announce his starting quarterback, Harbaugh replied: 'Before the first game.' That would be Sept. 11 against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park." Smith is the starter whether or not Harbaugh makes an announcement, based simply on the fact that he continues to start preseason games.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says rookie tight end Konrad Reuland is making a strong push for a roster spot. Harbaugh: "He's really having a great camp. I coached him in college and I've always had great respect for Konrad's game and he's elevated here ... He is doing real well, giving himself a great chance to be in the mix and potentially make the team."

Al Sarasevic of the San Francisco Chronicle passes along Carmen Policy's thoughts on recent violence at Candlestick Park.
RENTON, Wash. -- The 6:10 a.m. PT flight from Phoenix to Seattle has its advantages: arriving in time to catch the Seahawks' first fully padded practice of the summer.

A few thoughts and observations:
  • Catching on: This team is catching the ball well throughout the roster. Coach Pete Carroll alluded to at least a half-dozen "circus" catches already from Sidney Rice. Guys fighting for playing time and roster spots are also making the impressive appear routine. Isaiah Stanback, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Pat Williams were among those catching my attention Saturday. Williams stole the ball from safety Josh Pinkard after Pinkard undercut the route. I'm still not sure how Williams caught the ball. Stanback made a leaping grab in the end zone. Tate seized possession of a pass to the flat that cornerback Marcus Trufant contested closely.
  • The more you can do: Stanback, former quarterback at the University of Washington, could have additional value as teams transition to 46-man rosters on game days. Fullback Michael Robinson also would qualify as an emergency quarterback for a team keeping only two on its 53-man roster. Stanback and Robinson are both strong special-teams players.
  • Whitehurst watch: Third-string quarterback Josh Portis stood out Saturday. He's having a strong camp and the team plans to keep him around in some capacity. Carroll heaped praise upon Portis after practice: "He is in command of the offense as much as he could be at this time. He is handling the huddle well and he's very confident. He has a great delivery and a very strong arm and he is very poised. He has just been a real pleasant surprise. We're real excited about him being the third guy right now and knowing that in time he is going to gain knowledge of the offense, get settled in and let that ability come to the front. This is an extremely big get for us in free agency." Carroll offered no specifics when I asked whether Portis could realistically compete for the No. 2 job, which Charlie Whitehurst currently holds. Pushing an undrafted rookie into the No. 2 role sounds ambitious and could be a long shot. The footing beneath Whitehurst has softened since Carroll committed to Tarvaris Jackson as the starter, however.
  • Legging it out: Offensive linemen must run laps around the field immediately after committing false-start penalties. I wasn't sure right tackle James Carpenter was going to make it through practice. He's a huge man built to maul other huge men at the line of scrimmage. He's not a candidate for the cross-country team. Of all the offensive linemen guilty of false starts Saturday, left tackle Russell Okung appeared most comfortable taking his laps. Carpenter is having a strong camp, by the way.
  • Injury watch: Receiver Mike Williams is practicing again after sitting out with an unspecified leg injury. I was watching to see if he opened up and ran full speed. If he did, I missed it.
  • One last note: More than 2,100 fans packed the hill overlooking practice. The Seahawks have limited space for fans at practices because Lake Washington and Interstate 405 frame the facility narrowly. Fans park off-site and then ride buses a short distance to the facility.

I'll be heading to San Francisco 49ers camp beginning Monday, with an extended trip to St. Louis from Rams camp scheduled the following week. It's great having football back.

Post-camp roster analysis: Seahawks

August, 30, 2010
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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.
Pete Carroll isn't the only NFC West inhabitant defending USC's honor following NCAA sanctions against the football program.

Like Carroll, the former USC coach in his first season with the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart has a legacy to uphold. As Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com points out, the 2005 BCS trophy Leinart helped win no longer sits on display at USC's Heritage Hall.

"People can say whatever they want but we still played every game the way we had to, we beat almost every team we played and, to me, no one will ever be able to take that away," Leinart told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I've talked to a lot of people I played with on those teams and we all say the same thing. Everyone who knows football knows we won those games and we won the title."

Leinart said he remains close with former USC teammate Reggie Bush, whose alleged actions brought about the sanctions. Leinart said the two speak to one another "all the time" and Bush recently attended Leinart's bowling event.

Current NFC West players from USC include Leinart, Dominique Byrd and Deuce Lutui of the Cardinals, Chilo Rachal and Taylor Mays of the San Francisco 49ers and eight players from the Seattle Seahawks: Josh Pinkard, Kevin Ellison, Lofa Tatupu, Lawrence Jackson, Jeff Byers, Anthony McCoy, Mike Williams and Ryan Powdrell. The St. Louis Rams are the only team in the division and one of six in the NFL without a player from USC. Byrd and LaJuan Ramsey were the former USC players on the Rams' roster most recently.

Pete Carroll fires back defiantly

June, 10, 2010
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Those interested in seeing Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's response to sanctions against USC can check out the video below.

Carroll maintained his previous position on allegations against the football program.

The sanctions deprived Carroll and USC of one national championship. Those sanctions also affect the USC legacies of several current NFC West players, including prominent players such as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart and Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

Carroll's former USC players currently in the NFC West include: Leinart, Deuce Lutui and Dominique Byrd of the Cardinals; Taylor Mays and Chilo Rachal of the 49ers; and Tatupu, Lawrence Jackson, Anthony McCoy, Jeff Byers, Ryan Powdrell, Josh Pinkard and Mike Williams of the Seahawks.

Carroll hasn't really left the Pac-10

April, 30, 2010
4/30/10
11:19
AM ET
The Seahawks have 26 players from Pac-10 schools on their roster heading into their post-draft minicamp.

The rest of the NFC West has a combined 25 players from the conference.

Seattle had more Pac-10 players than most teams even before the team hired Pete Carroll away from USC as head coach.

The numbers have only grown (and I have added the newly acquired LenDale White to Seattle's list).

Update: The team has re-signed safety Lawyer Milloy, formerly of the University of Washington. That makes the total 26.

A look at Pac-10 players from each NFC West team:

Arizona (7)

Quarterback Derek Anderson (Oregon State), quarterback Matt Leinart (USC), safety Matt Ware (UCLA), safety Hamza Abdullah (Washington State), tight end Jim Dray (Stanford), tight end Dominique Byrd (USC) and unsigned restricted free agent guard Deuce Lutui (USC).

St. Louis (7)

Quarterback A.J. Feeley (Oregon), receiver Brandon Gibson (Washington State), running back Steven Jackson (Oregon State), fullback Mike Karney (Arizona State), guard Mark Lewis (Oregon), receiver Jordan Kent (Oregon) and unsigned restricted free agent safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (Stanford).

San Francisco (11)

Safety Taylor Mays (USC), safety Dashon Goldson (Washington), cornerback Karl Paymah (Washington State), linebacker Keaton Kristick (Oregon State), guard Brian De La Puente (California), guard Chilo Rachal (USC), center Eric Heitmann (Stanford), tackle Adam Snyder (Oregon), receiver Kyle Williams (Arizona State), snapper Brian Jennings (Arizona State) and receiver Jason Hill (Washington State).

Seattle (26)

Linebacker Reggie Carter (UCLA), receiver Mike Williams (USC), cornerback Josh Pinkard (USC), receiver Reggie Williams (Washington), receiver Mike Hass (Oregon State), receiver Michael Jones (Arizona State), running back Justin Forsett (California), cornerback Marcus Trufant (Washington State), cornerback Walter Thurmond (Oregon), cornerback Roy Lewis (Washington), safety Will Harris (USC), running back Louis Rankin (Washington), fullback Ryan Powdrell (USC), linebacker Lofa Tatupu (USC), defensive end Dexter Davis (Arizona State), guard Max Unger (Oregon), center Jeff Byers (USC), guard Mike Gibson (California), receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Oregon State), tight end Anthony McCoy (USC), tight end Cameron Morrah (California), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (California), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (USC), LenDale White (USC), Lawyer Milloy (Washington) and defensive end Nick Reed (Oregon).
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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