NFC West: Maurice Price

Catching up with the 49ers' cut list

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
10:55
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


49ers Player Released on Cutdown Pos. Current Team Capacity
Brit Miller
RB 49ers Practice Squad
Kory Sheets
RB 49ers Practice Squad
Alex Boone
OL 49ers Practice Squad
J.J. Finley
TE 49ers Practice Squad
Dobson Collins
WR 49ers Practice Squad
Dominique Zeigler
WR 49ers Practice Squad
Terrail Lambert
DB -- --
Matt Spanos
OL -- --
Pannel Egboh
DL -- --
Khalif Mitchell
DL -- --
Bill Rentmeester
RB -- --
Jacob Bender
OL -- --
Kyle Howard
OL -- --
Jay Moore
LB -- --
Justin Roland
LB -- --
Mark Washington
LB -- --
Joe Toledo
OL -- --
Bear Pascoe
TE -- --
Maurice Price
WR -- --
Eric Green
DB -- --
The tough decisions teams face in reducing their rosters to 53 players sometimes aren't so tough.

"The 49ers released Kory Sheets!" loses some of its drama when Sheets quietly re-signs to the 49ers' practice squad after none of the other 31 NFL teams submit a waiver claim for him.

I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.

The chart shows results for San Francisco.

The 49ers' initial cut list featured only one vested veteran, cornerback Eric Green. The other 19 players had practice-squad eligibility and the 49ers brought back six of them in that capacity.

The remaining 14 players are unsigned.

Offensive lineman Jacob Bender had a tryout with the Seahawks. The Jets showed interest in tight end Bear Pascoe, only to receive another tight end via waivers.

Sheets impressed during the preseason, but the 49ers were stacked at running back with Frank Gore and Glen Coffee. They valued the versatile Michael Robinson far too much to carry a rookie runner on their 53-man roster in his place.

Ex-49ers with practice-squad eligibility

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
11:12
AM ET
Ex-49ers eligible for
practice squad
Pos.
Jacob Bender
OL
Alex Boone
OL
Dobson Collins
WR
Pannel Egboh
DL
J.J. Finley
TE
Kyle Howard
OL
Terrail Lambert
DB
Brit Miller
FB
Khalif Mitchell
DL
Jay Moore
LB
Bear Pascoe
TE
Maurice Price
WR
Bill Rentmeester
FB
Justin Roland
LB
Kory Sheets
RB
Matt Spanos
OL
Joe Toledo
OL
Mark Washington
LB
Dominique Zeigler
WR

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


NFL teams can begin forming eight-man practice squads once released players clear waivers this afternoon.

Every player the 49ers released on the reduction to 53 players -- minus cornerback Eric Green -- possesses eligibility for the practice squad. Tackle Alex Boone, guard Matt Spanos, fullback Brit Miller, defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell and running back Kory Sheets could make sense as options. The team will presumably keep one of the tight ends it released, Bear Pascoe or J.J. Finley. Cornerback Terrail Lambert could provide another option.

Some 49ers fans have expressed to me surprise over Sheets' release in particular. The depth San Francisco enjoys at that position made Sheets' release likely.

We likewise should not be surprised if backup running back Glen Coffee plays sparingly as a rookie. Like Sheets, Coffee showed promise during the exhibition games. But with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye having already committed to Frank Gore as the workhorse back, there won't be many carries left over.

As long as Gore is healthy and his usually productive self, I think Coffee would have to break long runs when given opportunities to siphon significant carries in the No. 2 role.

49ers: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
5:40
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Biggest surprise: The 49ers kept only four running backs, two tight ends and eight offensive linemen on the initial cutdown to 53 players, suggesting the team will consider adding players at those positions. This is a power running team, after all. The decision to release both Bear Pascoe and J.J. Finley was a bit of surprise. One of them was expected to serve as the third tight end. Undrafted free agent Diyral Briggs earned a spot at linebacker, edging out Jay Moore. Fullback Brit Miller, running back Kory Sheets and receiver Dominique Zeigler had made positive impressions with fans, but none enjoyed strong roster security. Their releases were not surprising in that context. Coach Mike Singletary had said the 49ers faced few significant roster decisions heading into the final exhibition game. The team did not cut any big-name players.

No-brainers: The 49ers' cut list ran 20 deep and also featured tackle Jacob Bender, tackle Alex Boone, receiver Dobson Collins, defensive end Pannel Egboh, cornerback Eric Green, guard Kyle Howard, cornerback Terrail Lambert, defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell, receiver Maurice Price, fullback Bill Rentmeester, linebacker Justin Roland, offensive lineman Matt Spanos, tackle Joe Toledo and linebacker Mark Washington.

What's next: The 49ers could use a veteran offensive tackle after Marvel Smith retired. They will presumably scan the waiver wire for a fullback. The team will also likely want to add a third tight end.

Practice-squad report: 49ers

August, 21, 2009
8/21/09
11:29
AM ET
49ers eligible for
practice squad
Pos. Perceived Status
Terrail Lambert
DB
Likely cut
Reggie Smith
DB
Keeper
Curtis Taylor
DB
Likely cut
Carlos Thomas
DB
Likely cut
Jahi Word-Daniels
DB
Likely cut
Pannel Egboh
DL
Likely cut
Ricky Jean-Francois
DL
Bubble
Khalif Mitchell
DL
Bubble
Diyral Briggs
LB
Likely cut
Scott McKillop
LB
Keeper
Jay Moore
LB
Bubble
Justin Roland
LB
Likely cut
Mark Washington
LB
Likely cut
Brit Miller
FB
Bubble
Matt Spanos
OL
Likely cut
Cody Wallace
OL
Keeper
Jacob Bender
OL
Likely cut
Kyle Howard
OL
Likely cut
Alex Boone
OL
Bubble
Joe Toledo
OL
Likely cut
Nate Davis
QB
Bubble
Glen Coffee
RB
Keeper
Bill Rentmeester
RB
Bubble
Kory Sheets
RB
Likely cut
Alex Romero
ST
Likely cut
J.J. Finley
TE
Likely cut
Bear Pascoe
TE
Keeper
Mark Bradford
WR
Likely cut
Dobson Collins
WR
Likely cut
Maurice Price
WR
Likely cut
Dominique Zeigler
WR
Bubble

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The quarterback race between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith commands much 49ers-related attention.

The race for the No. 3 job behind them deserves some attention. Veteran Damon Huard has a 15-12 record as an NFL starter. He provides value as an experienced backup. The team also wants to develop fifth-round rookie quarterback Nate Davis.

What to do?

Davis is a project. He will not help the 49ers this season. The question becomes whether another team would sign him to its 53-man roster if the 49ers waived Davis and tried to sign him to their practice squad.

As noted, NFL teams selected 19 quarterbacks in the fifth round from the 2000 through 2008 drafts. Eighteen earned opening-day spots on 53-man rosters as rookies. The Steelers' Omar Jacobs was an exception in 2006, the year Ben Roethlisberger opened on the bench following a motorcycle accident.

The factors that pushed down Davis in the draft -- notably a learning disability that the 49ers see as overstated -- still exist. If teams fear Davis might struggle to learn their system -- and for the sake of this discussion, it doesn't matter if such fears are justified -- the 49ers might have an easier time getting
Davis onto their practice squad.

What would you do?

The chart shows all 31 current 49ers players with eligibility, arranged by position. I left first-round choice Michael Crabtree off the chart because he has not signed with the team.

NFL teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 75 players Sept. 1. They must reduce to 53 players Sept. 5. They can begin forming eight-man practice squads Sept. 6 at noon ET.

As the NFL puts it:

After 12 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free-agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s). A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.

The 49ers also face dilemmas at other positions, including what to do at receiver while Crabtree and Brandon Jones are not available, but that third quarterback race stands out.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers' roster appears most interesting at running back and receiver.

The more I think about how much the 49ers want to pound the ball on offense, the more I see them keeping two fullbacks on the Week 1 roster.

Zak Keasey's broken forearm prevents him from becoming part of the equation early, and it's tough to see a team waiting two months for a backup fullback to get healthy. Enter Bill Rentmeester. Formerly of the Chargers, Rentmeester offers what preseason touchdown machine Brit Miller does not: experience at fullback. For the sake of this roster exercise, I'll pencil in Rentmeester for Week 1.

The numbers at receiver figure to swell while the team waits for Brandon Jones to heal and Michael Crabtree to sign and get ready to contribute.

San Francisco 49ers Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 3 4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 11 4
Average 3.2 5.2 5.8 3.2 8.8 7.2 7.3 9.3 3.0
Currently on roster
4
8 12 4 14 9 12 14 4

The chart provides a framework for how many players the 49ers might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Cardinals.

Here's a quick look at which 49ers players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players (I made one change, moving Cody Wallace into the group of offensive linemen at Joe Toledo's expense):

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com recaps Steve Spagnuolo's emotionally draining day, which included attending Jim Johnson's funeral. Spagnuolo: "It was very soothing for me to see all of the people that showed up. I can't tell you the overwhelming display of love for Jim Johnson in Philadelphia today. There were more people coming back there that hadn't been there in a long time. It was one of those days where everybody gets together and you mourn a friend and a family member."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wasn't surprised when Rams tackle Alex Barron opened the scrimmage with a false-start penalty. Thomas: "First-round draft pick Jason Smith is still having trouble blocking Leonard Little on the pass rush. But working with the starting offense, Smith made a nice block on what would've been a touchdown by Steven Jackson."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Leonard Little, Chris Long and James Hill consistently got pressure during 2-minute drill.

Also from Korte: a refresher on NFL rules changes as officials visit Rams camp.

Turf Show Times' Hetfield72 files a detailed report from the Rams' scrimmage. He thought the interior offensive line appeared strong.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Brandon Jones' injury and Michael Crabtree's absence opens the door for 49ers receiver Dominique Zeigler. Teams tend to need their depth at receiver as injuries prevail throughout the course of camp. 

49ers guard David Baas blogs about his foot injury. Baas: "It's just a minor setback and it won't take that long. I've been through this before so I always come out ahead in the end. It's no big deal and I've been going to all of the meetings and so I'm still around my teammates."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers practiced in shorts for the first time since camp opened. Also, coach Mike Singletary says he "hates" to see Jones injured after a strong start to camp.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee charted receiver snaps during 11-on-11 drills to see which ones were getting the most reps without Jones or Crabtree. The results: Josh Morgan 15, Arnaz Battle 14, Michael Spurlock 14, Jason Hill 12, Dominique Zeigler 10, Maurice Price 3, Mark Bradford 3 and Dobson Collins 2. Isaac Bruce had the afternoon off.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com sizes up the most exciting part of any training camp practice, at least to me: one-on-one pass-rush rills. The accompanying photo of Bryan Robinson apparently attempting to decapitate Lyle Sendlein says it all. Also, injured fullback Dan Kreider returned to practice.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew 602 predicts a fast start for the Cardinals despite a projected home loss against the Colts early in the season. 

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers added a 3-second clock to help quarterbacks get a feel for when the ball should be thrown. Maiocco: "Neither quarterback is separating himself in the QB competition. Hill was much better in the morning session, and Smith won the afternoon. Smith completed 12 of 15 passes in the recently completed practice. Hill was 7 of 11 with an interception by Parys Haralson off a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage."

Also from Maiocco: an assessment of the situation at receiver. Maiocco: "Jones and Crabtree represent the 49ers' biggest offseason investments. And now there are legitimate concerns about when either will be available to make contributions."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says he thinks the Cardinals are deeper on the offensive line than any team Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have coached since 2001, according to Whisenhunt. Somers lists five backups Whisenhunt likes. Teams generally keep no more than four backup offensive linemen, however.

Also from Somers: Beanie Wells did some light running Friday. He could be back from a sprained ankle early next week.

More from Somers: High winds in Flagstaff prompted Whisenhunt to hold for kicker Neil Rackers.

More still from Somers: Kurt Warner revisits a theme he touches upon from time to time, assessing how the pressure to succeed can become draining.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says basketball great Bill Russell addressed the team at Jim Mora's request. Russell was sitting in the lobby at Seahawks headquarters when I left following practice Thursday night. He looked good.

Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts provides an in-depth report from the Seahawks' practice Friday night. Sullivan: "Ben Obamanu is doing a fantastic job of reminding everyone why he was the favorite to get real playing time in 2008 before he broke his shoulder. He looks very good in every aspect of the game. Great hands, good feet, a decent block or two, and crisp routes."

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Deion Branch was back at practice for the Seahawks on Friday night, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh scored the most points -- thanks to an extended autograph session with fans.

Tim Booth of the Associated Press says a few thousand people sat through rainy conditions to watch the Seahawks practice at
Husky Stadium. Houshmandzadeh made an impression on Huskies defensive back Quinton Richardson.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times visits with Seahawks rookie Nick Reed as part of an overview from camp. Reed says he's a fan of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says injuries raise concerns for the Seahawks, again. Boling: "The vision of a sore-backed Walter Jones walking gingerly onto the field, and the absence of Marcus Trufant and top draft pick Aaron Curry, added to sundry infirmities and potential manpower shortages, are enough to give pause to even those watching through the rosiest of glasses."

WR Count
ARI SF STL SEA
Current
11 11 12 11
2008 Opener
6 5 6 6
2007 Opener
6 6 6 6
2006 Opener
5 5 5 4
2005 Opener
7 7 5 7
2004 Opener
6 6 6 5
2003 Opener
6 6 5 4

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks and 49ers appear dramatically improved at receiver this season. The Cardinals might also improve at the position if 2008 third-round choice Early Doucet emerges following an injury-affected rookie season.

Uncertainty at the position in St. Louis could lead the Rams to keep an eye on the NFC West discard pile when roster limits tighten.

The chart shows how many receivers each NFC West team has carried for its past six regular-season openers. The top row shows current counts. A look at how they stack up:

Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Jerheme Urban are back. Sean Morey, listed as a receiver, has been a Pro Bowl player on special teams. Lance Long is reportedly looking good again this offseason. Also: Shane Morales, Justin Brown, Ed Gant and Onrea Jones.

San Francisco: Isaac Bruce, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Brandon Jones, Jason Hill and probably Arnaz Battle stick around. Dominique Zeigler isn't a significant contributor on special teams, hurting his chances if the others stay healthy. Also: Maurice Price, Mark Bradford, and Dobson Collins. Note: I have listed Michael Spurlock as a kick returner. That's why his name didn't show up on this list initially. I changed the 49ers' count to 11 given that Morey is counting at the position for Arizona. Thanks to redng0ld for pointing it out.

St. Louis: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Laurent Robinson and Tim Carter comprise the likely top four based on what we know so far. Derek Stanley is recovering from knee surgery. Brooks Foster is a rookie fifth-round choice. Also: Travis Brown, Nate Jones, Horace Gant, Chad Lucas, Sean Walker and Jarrett Byers.

Seattle: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and Deon Butler comprise the likely top four. Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu could be favorites for the final two spots if Seattle keeps six. Also: Billy McMullen, Michael Bumpus, Mike Hass, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent.

Pass rusher Green inactive for 49ers

October, 5, 2008
10/05/08
2:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers have named pass rusher Roderick Green inactive for their game against the Patriots. Cornerback Reggie Smith, cornerback Shawntae Spencer, linebacker Ahmad Brooks, offensive lineman Cody Wallace, tackle Jonas Jennings and linebacker Manny Lawson are also inactive. Jamie Martin is again the third quarterback.

Green had two sacks through the 49ers' first four games this season. I did not seem him mentioned among injured players.

The Patriots' inactive players: receiver Kelley Washington, receiver Maurice Price, cornerback Lewis Sanders, linebacker Eric Alexander, offensive lineman Dan Connolly, offensive lineman Wesley Britt and linebacker Shawn Crable. Matt Gutierrez is the third quarterback.

Mailbag: Never too early for draft talk

September, 28, 2008
9/28/08
10:49
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kyle from Austin, Texas, writes: I know it's a long way off and a lot can happen between now and the draft. But, for the sake of argument, if you're Mike Nolan and the rest of the 49ers brass, where do you try go with your number one pick next year? QB? WR?

Mike Sando: I would seek pass-rush help or a dominating nose tackle, with the offensive line as a fallback. First-round quarterbacks and receivers fail at a high rate. Rarely do they produce good things as rookies. Offensive linemen tend to become at least serviceable starters. Ideally, the 49ers would improve their pass rush or find the anchor they need to run the 3-4 and still hold up against the run. Imagine how good Patrick Willis might become with a dominant nose tackle in front of him. Scary.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES