NFC West: Kevin Walter

The target percentages posted earlier are open to interpretation. Drop percentages are a little more straightforward.

Six current or former NFC West players ranked among the NFL's top 20 qualifying wide receivers and tight ends last season in lowest drop percentage, defined as drops divided by targets.

Percy Harvin and Mario Manningham went without a drop. Neither played a full season, but each had enough targets to qualify for inclusion in the chart below.

You might recall some of these players suffering more drops than we've listed in the chart. ESPN's standard for drops could be stricter than the ones our uncles apply when deciding which objects to throw at the television following frustrating plays. Our game charters count drops as "incomplete passes where the receiver SHOULD have caught the pass with ORDINARY effort" and only when the receiver is "100 percent at fault" for the incompletion.

The first chart shows where NFC West teams' wide receivers and tight ends ranked in the league in drop rate. The Seattle Seahawks ranked third. However, their running backs ranked only 29th in drop rate (9.3 percent), one spot ahead of running backs for the San Francisco 49ers (9.4 percent). The Arizona Cardinals' backs were fourth at 2.7 percent. The totals for running backs affected the overall team percentages, which we can check out separately another time.

I've singled out wide receivers and tight ends because we've been looking at players from those positions while discussing potential changes to the 49ers following Michael Crabtree's recent injury. Getting Manningham back to health could help the 49ers.

Three things revisited: 49ers-Texans

August, 18, 2012
Looking back on three things discussed here before San Francisco’s 20-9 preseason road defeat Saturday night against Houston:

1. Receiver mix. A crisp week of practices for the 49ers’ offense didn’t translate into the game. Quarterback Alex Smith too frequently faced pressure and/or couldn’t find open receivers. Tight end Vernon Davis dropped a short pass when Randy Moss appeared open down the field. The Texans nearly picked off a deeper pass for Mario Manningham on a pass Smith likely threw only because there appeared to be pass interference on the play. Officials didn’t throw a flag. It was that kind of night for the first-team offense. Later, Moss got open deep, showing good speed, but he couldn't snare a pass from backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Rookie first-round pick A.J. Jenkins made a positive impact with the backups. A well-run route gave him room to make an overhead catch for a 32-yard reception from Josh Johnson.

2. Backup QB race. Kaepernick completed 4 of 8 passes for 19 yards. He also gained 12 yards on a scramble. Johnson was next off the bench, completing 4 of 6 attempts for 64 yards. His connection with Jenkins was a highlight for the 49ers’ passing game. The quarterback competitions became a footnote as the 49ers dealt with attrition at running back. Brandon Jacobs left the game on a cart with an apparent knee injury. Rookie second-round choice LaMichael James left on a cart with what appeared to be an injury to his ankle or foot. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are the running backs most important to the 49ers, but Jacobs and James are supposed to provide depth. No word yet on the severity of those injuries.

3. Perrish's push. This was one of the all-time worst notes I’ve ever included in a preview package. Perrish Cox, battling Chris Culliver for the nickel corner role, didn’t even make the trip to Houston. That made it pretty tough for him to make a “push” of any kind. Worse, I previously looked forward to Cox facing his former team, but the 49ers do not play Denver until next week. Culliver did play, at least. I noticed him ceding a reception to Keshawn Martin over the middle. Culliver also missed what would have been a tough open-field tackle in run support. He was covering Kevin Walter closely on an incomplete pass from Matt Schaub over the middle. To be continued.

Mailbag: Thoughts on acquiring QBs

February, 12, 2010
Tim from Springfield, Mo., writes: The Rams need a quarterback. What are the chances of them making a move for Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn? Is that an option and, if so, is that the right move?

Mike Sando: It is possible the Rams will trade or release one or more of their current quarterbacks. It's not like either is the franchise in Cleveland. But if Mike Holmgren were willing to part with one of those players, that might tell us about how that quarterback might fit with the Rams. The Browns under Holmgren will be installing an offense similar to the one the Rams are running.

Chris from North Hollywood, Calif., writes: I am expecting Matt Leinart to find some success this year and I think in an odd way Pete Carroll now coaching in the division will motivate him even more. My concern is the defense. Do the Cardinals have enough talent ready to play now and by that I mean, can we be a top ten defense in 2010?

Mike Sando: No, I don't think the Cardinals are going to have a defense ranked that high. Their offense will not be as good, putting more pressure on the defense unless Arizona's running game allows the Cardinals to control the clock a little more. The talent on defense figures to erode. Bertrand Berry has retired, Chike Okeafor appears near the end, Karlos Dansby could be leaving and Antrel Rolle's future with the team is in question. And it's not like the Cardinals can count on Bryan Robinson to play the nose forever.

Jay from Livermore, Calif., writes: Mike, thanks for the great blog. I've read some rumors that the 49ers might go after free agent Kevin Walter or another top receiver. Do you think there is any truth to this and do you think the 49ers are close enough to make a play for a big name free agent.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Jay. The 49ers seem to already have a pretty solid group of receivers when we factor for what tight end Vernon Davis provides in the passing game. I just don't see receiver as a huge need unless we're talking about a quick, shifty, situational guy with ability as a return specialist. Walter would not fit that mold. Sure, the 49ers could always sign him or another receiver. It just doesn't seem like it should be a priority.

Scott from Washington, D.C., writes: Mike, with Barry Sims' surprisingly stalwart play this season following Staley's injury, should the Niners look to see if he can be the solution at right tackle?

Mike Sando: I think the 49ers want more in the running game than what Sims provides. Sims looks like a valuable backup and swing tackle, but not a guy you plug in as the starter for the long term.

Chris from Seattle writes: Hey, Mike, love the work you do. I just wanted to know what you think the Seahawks are going to do in free angency this offseason. I hear that Reggie Bush is an option if he does become available. What do you think of this possibility? Also, I just want to know what you think they should do in the draft? They have a lot of holes and I don't know where they should start. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Mike Sando: Thanks for the support, Chris. Seems to me the Seahawks need to upgrade their offensive line, get bigger at cornerback, help their pass rush, plan for life after Matt Hasselbeck and find people to score touchdowns. They have many needs, in other words, and only so many draft choices to fill them. I think offensive tackle has to be a consideration early in the draft.

Bush would be a situational player. Generally this is where I would say the price would need to be right, but life changes in an uncapped season. Would the Seahawks, backed by a billionaire owner, spend more freely to help arm Pete Carroll with the talent he wants? Probably, but by how much? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know the Seahawks were OK paying more than $10 million to Jim Mora for not coaching.

This team has new leadership. The league has new rules. Good luck guessing how things will play out, particularly this early in the game.