NFC West: Michael Ray Garvin

Parrish, Okeafor among UFL choices

June, 3, 2010
There's always the UFL if the Detroit Lions aren't there to embrace NFC West castoffs.

I counted nine former NFC West players among the 60 chosen in the 2010 UFL draft Wednesday (story here).

Tony Parrish's love for the game might be admirable and it's his business how he wants to earn a living. As someone who admired his contributions to the 49ers years ago, though, I had a hard time picturing the former ball-hawking safety, out of the NFL since 2006, playing out his career with the Las Vegas Locomotives at age 34.

Parrish won a UFL championship with Las Vegas last season.

The chart breaks out UFL choices with NFC West ties. Former Cardinals coach Dennis Green is coaching the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Each team was allowed to protect 20 holdovers from last season heading into the 2010 draft.

Bigger names among Cardinals' moves

August, 31, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

It has become cliche for NFL coaches to lament how much tougher roster cuts will be this season given the team's allegedly improved depth. The moves Arizona made in getting to the impending 75-man limit were more significant than usual, largely because injuries played a role.

The team placed second-round choice Cody Brown on injured reserve, as expected, while waiving injured receiver Michael Ray Garvin (knee) and injured linebacker Pago Togafau (foot). Garvin and Togafau would be eligible for injured reserve or injury settlements once they clear waivers. Brown will spend the season recovering from wrist surgery.

The Cardinals also released veteran safety Keith Lewis, formerly of the 49ers, and tackle Brandon Pearce. Lewis seemingly had a shot at earning a roster spot, but the Cardinals got younger at safety through the draft.
Arizona Cardinals Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2 4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 10 3
Average 3.0 5.3 6.0 3.2 8.8 7.7 7.0 8.8 2.8
Currently on roster
4 8 10 5 13 9 11 12 3

The chart compares the Cardinals' current roster counts by position to 0pening-day totals since 2003. The team must reduce to 53 players by Sunday.

Roster counts by position for NFC West
QB 4 4 4 4 3.7
RB 8 8 7 8 7.3
WR 11 12 10 10 10.3
TE 5 4 5 5 4.8
OL 15 14 15 14 13.8
DL 9 9 13 13 12.5
LB 12 12 9 9 10.3
DB 13 14 14 13 13.7
ST 3 4 3 4 3.7
Totals 80 81 80 80 80.0

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals signed former Browns receiver Steve Sanders and waived/injured safety Dennis Keyes, helping them get through practice while receivers Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Michael Ray Garvin recover from injuries.

The chart shows current positional counts in the division, counting 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree and other unsigned draft choices.

The Cardinals' potentially strengthened 3-4 leanings led me to list Bertrand Berry as an outside linebacker for now. That gives the two 3-4 teams in the division matching numbers at defensive line (nine apiece) and linebacker (12 apiece).

Keyes becomes eligible for injured reserve or an injury settlement once he clears waivers.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis welcomes the opportunity to wear the radio headset in his helmet after resisting the technology last season. Willis: "It verifies that this is my show to run."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Willis suffered his ankle injury during a nutcracker drill Aug. 3. Offensive lineman David Baas also suffered an injury during the drill. On another front, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky sounded more optimistic than coach Mike Singletary on the 49ers' pass rush against Denver in the exhibition opener.

Taylor Price of says Brit Miller and Reggie Smith appear to be making successful position changes.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News previews the 49ers' upcoming practices with the Raiders in Napa. Raiders coaches are presumably looking forward to fighting with assistants wearing different uniforms.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn't want to hear whispers about his team running a soft camp. Whisenhunt: "This system has worked pretty good for the last seven, eight years I've been around. We've been to two Super Bowls -- won one, lost one -- been to three or four [conference] championship games." 

Also from Somers: Whisenhunt expects Michael Ray Garvin to miss only a week or two even though the receiver might need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

More from Somers: Jerheme Urban might be the MVP of training camp for the Cardinals.

Darren Urban of checks in with the Cardinals' offensive line. Guard Reggie Wells: "There aren't many offensive lines called upon to do what we do week in and week out, not just from the scheme aspect but also protecting as many times as we do and not have guys mentioned for Pro Bowl and things like that. It underestimates the abilities of guys on that line."

Also from Urban: Antrel Rolle points to an abundance of Cherry Blossom Lotion on his arms as the reason for a fumble. Seriously.

Gregg Bell of the Associated Press describes Walter Jones' latest apparent back trouble this way: "The 35-year-old linchpin to Seattle's offensive line for the past decade was practicing for the third time since training camp began July 31. He took part in one series with the starting offense, then left the field in pain. He stood and kneeled next to a trainer while wincing and holding his back for a few moments. He eventually summoned the trainer to escort him into team headquarters."

Greg Johns of says Seahawks cornerback Kevin Hobbs wasn't to blame for a deep pass he appeared to allow in the exhibition opener. Overall, though, coach Jim Mora wasn't very happy with the secondary.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie Deon Butler wasn't returning punts in practice Monday, likely a reflection of his struggles in that area Saturday.

Also from O'Neil: Mora downplays Jones' exit from practice.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune sizes up Aaron Curry's debut performance for Seattle. Mora might have put it best when he said Curry "didn't stand out negatively."

Also from Williams: None of the Seahawks' young receivers stood out from the others Saturday night.

John Morgan of Field Gulls wonders whether Deion Branch fits in the Seahawks' new offense. Morgan on a play from the Seahawks-Chargers game: "Eric Weddle discarded a blocking Deion Branch on Julius Jones two yard rush. If Branch is traded, it might not be his injuries but his fit within this offense that instigates the move."

Also from Morgan: Brandon Mebane is the key to Seattle's defense. So far, so good.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Kyle Boller, the Rams' starting quarterback while Marc Bulger recovers from a finger injury. Boller: "It's not my first rodeo. I've been a starter. I've been out there. So I'm just going to go out there and be myself. Be a leader, and lead this team to hopefully a lot of scoring drives."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steve Spagnuolo appears to have the "it" factor as the Rams' head coach. Burwell: "On Monday afternoon, as he met with reporters to discuss the news that starting quarterback Marc Bulger would miss at least the next two weeks with a broken finger on his throwing hand, Spags was totally unfazed by the sort of development that might freak out most neophyte NFL coaches."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Adam Goldberg is helping his eventual replacement on the offensive line, Jason Smith. Goldberg: "I take that as part of my role. But I'll tell you what, [Smith] doesn't need too many tips. He's going to be a really good football player."

Turf Show Times' VanRam wonders what happened to Kenneth Darby.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Michael Ray Garvin faced a difficult fight for a roster spot with the Cardinals even before suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee against the Steelers on Thursday night. Garvin faces surgery and his status for the immediate future is obviously in doubt.

No official word on a timetable to this point. But with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet battling injuries, the Cardinals' numbers at receiver are running low. They'll try to get by with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. I'm sure the rest of the league feels for them.

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have gotten dramatically younger at running back this offseason. Edgerrin James and Terrelle Smith are gone, leaving Tim Hightower and Dan Kreider as the only current Cardinals running backs with starting experience.

The team kept three halfbacks and two fullbacks on its Week 1 roster last season. Nine other teams also kept more than one fullback for the opener.

Hightower, Chris Wells, Jason Wright, Kreider and Tim Castille entered camp as the likely choices for those spots, should the team keep five. LaRod Stephens-Howling would have to significantly liven up the return game to earn a spot, most likely.

Arizona Cardinals Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2
4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 10 3
Average 3.0 5.3 6.0 3.2 8.8 7.7 7.0 8.8 2.8
Currently on roster
8 10 5 15 10 11 14 3

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

Here's a quick look at which Cardinals players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:

(Read full post)

Posted by's Mike Sando

Shaefer from San Diego writes: Hey Mike, love your posts. Can't get enough of them. I just moved to San Diego, but I lived in Chandler, Ariz., my whole life and have been a die-hard Cards fan and season-ticket holder since I was born in 1988.

Me and a couple buddies were discussing Larry Fitzgerald's chances when he's in the red zone. I think he's virtually unstoppable on the fade. I was wondering if you have access to the percentages of times he scores a touchdown , catches the pass, actually drops the pass, has the ball deflected, and has the ball intercepted. Any of these stats or extra info on the Cards would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your work in the NFC West.

Mike Sando: You're welcome. Thanks for the support. I do have some pretty cool Cardinals-related data I'll be presenting on the blog soon, hopefully this week. End-zone fade percentage is not something I track. When the Cardinals go to four receivers in the red zone, though, Anquan Boldin tends to score the touchdowns. He's so tough working the inside.

Fitzgerald has improved his technique on the fade routes, though. He has made it a priority to use his body more intelligently down there, shielding the defensive back in a way that gives Kurt Warner a bigger strike zone. Warner has mentioned this specifically.

Pablo from Dallas writes: Huge Niners fan stuck in Cowsheep area of country. So, I was very excited with drafting Crabtree and had high hopes. Is it too early to give up hope? I'm thinking that his first season is pretty much shot.

Do we still give big five-year money for four years (if that) of service? Why don't we trade him now to a contender for first and third-round 2010 picks? We would have three first-rounders next year and could rid ourselves of this headache. I'm asking for two picks because only a contender for the upcoming season would be interested and that would mean a low first-round pick. Your thoughts?

Mike Sando: The deadline for trading draft rights has passed. I do think it's too early to write off Crabtree. Also, there might be a flaw in your logic. If the 49ers should trade Crabtree in part because they are unlikely to get much from him this season, why would a contending team want to add him?

While this situation is frustrating for the 49ers and their fans, the best course of action seems to be for the 49ers to wait out Crabtree, try to get a deal done and then try to get him ready to contribute in some way this season.

Anthony from Georgia writes: Everyone seems to be talking about second chances and how Mike Vick deserved one, but what about Matt Jones? Jones seems to be blacklisted by the NFL because I haven't even heard about him being invited for a tryout. He was on pace to be one of the top WRs in the NFL last season and now he cannot even get a tryout. Why is that?

Mike Sando: Michael Vick was a much better player than Matt Jones ever showed he could be. Vick also plays a much more important position. Those would be the reasons, in my view. Also, people probably worry more about Jones going back to drugs than Vick going back to fighting dogs. I'm guessing dogfighting is less addictive.

(Read full post)

Posted by's Mike Sando

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune saw good things from Seahawks offensive lineman Max Unger against the Chargers. Boling: "First-round pick Aaron Curry, who missed eight days of training camp while holding out, showed that he's not entirely up to speed with his responsibilities when he got lost in coverage on a crossing route in the first period. Second-round pick Max Unger had a much more impressive outing. At right guard in the first half, Unger looked solid enough for a first appearance in both run and pass situations. He seemed to know where to go and was able to get the job done once he got there."

John Morgan of Field Gulls singles out winners and losers from the Seahawks' exhibition opener. That would be Nick Reed among the winners.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers notes and observations from the Seahawks' first exhibition game. Williams: "The pass defense is still in a work in progress. The Seahawks finished last in the league in pass defense last season, and gave up a league-leading 59 plays of 20-yards or more. That disturbing trend continued on Saturday, with the Seahawks giving up four plays of 20-yards or more through the air. Cornerback Kevin Hobbs was twice victimized, and Kelly Jennings also was beat deep, although he did manage an interception."

Clare Farnsworth of says Matt Hasselbeck's scramble against the Chargers suggests the quarterback has moved past a back injury.

Doug Farrar of sees significant changes to the Seahawks' offensive and defensive schemes under new coach Jim Mora.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times profiles Curry, exploring the linebacker's sensitive side.

Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts offers first-half notes from the Seahawks' opener. Cole: "The defensive line, especially the first unit, has looked quite good. I was most impressed by Colin Cole, who I did not expect a whole lot from him."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers coach Mike Singletary singled out right tackle Adam Snyder for playing well against the Broncos. Singletary also liked what he saw from rookie running back Glen Coffee. Singletary: "I'm really excited about what I saw of him. He's really a tough guy. I thought he did a decent job in pass protection. Glen is going to be a good addition to our team."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Singletary lauded Shaun Hill's game management. Singletary: "He's great at managing the game. You know he can manage a game, but he can also throw the ball downfield. ... How consistent, and on what basis? That's something we still have to look at, but we pretty much know what's there." 

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers running back Thomas Clayton suffered "major" ligament damage in his knee against the Broncos. Singletary withheld a formal announcement pending MRI results.

Also from Maiocco: The following players "showed nothing" against the Broncos: "Manny Lawson, Marques Harris, Kentwan Balmer, Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Demetric Evans, Pannel Egboh, Ricky Jean-Francois."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says results from Steve Breaston's MRI remained a mystery. Also from Somers: "QB Brian St. Pierre didn't play well, obviously, but he didn't have much help, as coach Ken Whisenhunt noted. Oliver Ross moved from right tackle to left because of the injury to Elliot Vallejo. Ross was beaten a time or two. There appeared to be some miscommunication in protection on other occasions."

Darren Urban of offers notes from the Cardinals-Steelers game. Urban: "You've got to love the potential as a return guy of Michael Ray Garvin, but it just seems like he's a long shot given his limited abilities beyond the return game (unless he can become a gunner on punt coverage). He seems like more of a practice-squad candidate, although if he sparkles the rest of the preseason, maybe he'll sneak in. We'll see if Antrel Rolle keeps getting a try as a punt returner; he just doesn't look as comfortable as I would have thought."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Samkon Gado's stock with the Rams is rising after his 77-yard touchdown run against the Jets. Thomas: "[Steven] Jackson took note of the fact Gado's big run came after spending most of the first half playing fullback in place of Mike Karney, who dressed but didn't play because of an ankle injury."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates Rams injuries. Coats: "Quarterback Brock Berlin and guard Jacob Bell will be day-to-day this week after being knocked out of the game with injuries. Spagnuolo reported that Berlin suffered a sprained knee and Bell a mild concussion. Also, MRI exams were scheduled for wide receivers Tim Carter (groin) and Brooks Foster (ankle). Defensive end Adam Carriker (ankle) will be out again this week."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo pointed to pass protection as one of the areas needing improvement. 

Turf Show Times' CoachConnors sees room for improvement from Rams cornerback Justin King.

Posted by's Mike Sando

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers are going back to basics at training camp, starting with blocking and tackling. Crumpacker: "[Mike] Singletary said both morning and afternoon practices will be in full pads for the first two weeks, which is sure to elicit groans from the players. Under previous 49er coaches, players usually wore shorts and shoulder pads in the afternoon and contact was minimal." Sounds like players could be at increased risk for injury.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat blames agent Eugene Parker for Michael Crabtree's unsigned status and draft-day slide to No. 10.

John Cote of the San Francisco Chronicle provides details from a 3,000-page impact report for the 49ers' proposed stadium in Santa Clara. Cote: "Noise from a new football stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara would significantly affect nearby neighborhoods, but traffic would only be a real problem on the few occasions NFL games are played on weekdays, according to a draft environmental study."

KNBR radio in San Francisco provides audio from 49ers kicker Joe Nedney's recent interview. Nedney: "This is a really good team right now and we are playing with a purpose."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers tight end Vernon Davis plans to avoid fighting during practice, an issue for him in the past.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation looks at position battles at 49ers camp. Damon Huard isn't part of the equation because Singletary said it's a two-man race between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says rookie Michael Ray Garvin impressed during conditioning tests as the Cardinals reported for camp. Some veterans paced themselves, but all 80 players passed.

Also from Somers: Anquan Boldin isn't complaining at camp this year. Boldin: "How I feel ain't going to change a thing. So, it don't make no sense to sit here and harp on it." 

More from Somers: Cardinals nose tackle Alan Branch is in better shape. If he plays well this season, the team might be able to move Bryan Robinson to end.

Darren Urban of contrasts Boldin's current tack to the one he took last summer. Night and day.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with new Rams defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, no relation. Hollis: "I like beating up on people, that's the only way I can explain it. Take out the frustration. You [media] guys might write something that frustrates me, so I might take it out on the guy that's in front of me next play."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie Chris Ogbonnaya worked overtime Thursday as the only running back available to practice. Also, Craig Dahl picked off Kyle Boller during practice.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says rehabbing receiver Derek Stanley sees special teams as his ticket to a roster spot. 

Clare Farnsworth of says the team has high hopes for training camp and for defensive tackle Brandon Mebane in particular.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks accomplished just about everything they set out to do during free agency, from landing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to drafting Aaron Curry. But a few concerns persist.

John Morgan of Field Gulls singles out 10 storylines for the Seahawks at training camp. Jordan Babineaux's challenge to Brian Russell at free safety makes the top five.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides a transcript from Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell's conversation with reporters Thursday. Backup running back Justin Forsett appears better suited than expected for the new one-cut running game.

QB 4 4 4 4
RB 8 8 7 8
WR 11 11 12 11
TE 6 4 5 5
OL 15 14 15 14
DL 10 9 15 13
LB 11 12 9 9
DB 15 15 14 12
ST 3 5 3 4
Totals 83 82 84 80

Posted by's Mike Sando

NFC West teams will have to remove a combined nine players from their rosters before welcoming 16 as-yet-unsigned draft choices to training camp.

The chart counts each team's players by position, including those unsigned picks.

The Rams are heavy at receiver while Derek Stanley recovers from knee surgery, although their total for running backs and receivers -- 19 -- matches the other NFC West totals. The Cardinals are heavy at tight end.

Carrying extra players at a position sometimes means a team feels unsettled in that area. That is certainly the case for Arizona at tight end. Defensive scheme -- 4-3 or 3-4 -- affects the numbers in the front seven. The Rams have 15 defensive linemen, a high number for a team running a 4-3 scheme.

I might adjust the Cardinals' totals at receiver given that Sean Morey is essentially a specialist. Michael Ray Garvin could count as one also. I've already made Allen Rossum a specialist for the 49ers, reducing by one their numbers in the secondary [expect additional shrinkage there pending a decision on injured corner Walt Harris].

These numbers become more critical as teams reduce roster sizes, players suffer injuries and position battles shake out.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Updated 26-category NFC West rosters are available for the first time in a few weeks. Download them here.

Offseason activity has slowed to the point where the 49ers' decision to claim an undrafted rookie linebacker-turned-fullback off waivers commanded a headline here [for those who asked, and a few did, three fullbacks is more than most teams carry at this time of year, but I count several teams with that many and one team -- Seattle -- with four].

Update: I made a change to the Cardinals' roster after realizing Michael Ray Garvin's listed college position -- cornerback -- no longer applies. He's a receiver.

Posted by staff

Arizona Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers

  • San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Lynch ponders some "ifs" for the upcoming season.
  • The Niners are concentrating on "safety first," according to Matt Maiocco.
  • The Youngstown Vindicator's Tom Williams wants coach Mike Singletary to focus on choosing a quarterback.

Seattle Seahawks

  • The Seattle Times' Danny O'Neill links to an amusing piece by The Onion on what receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh gets when he orders himself at restaurants.

St. Louis Rams

  • Meet Derius Swinton: the second-youngest coach in the league and recently-hired quality control/special teams coach for the Rams.
  • Rams linebacker Chris Draft is serving as a panelist at the rookie symposium, warning rookies about mistakes to avoid. 

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have announced the signings of nine undrafted free agents:

  • Chase Bullock, LB, Maryland
  • Reggie Walker, LB, Kansas State
  • Tony Davis, CB, Penn State
  • Jameel Dowling, CB, Hawaii
  • Michael Ray Garvin, KR/CB, Florida State
I've got some work to do in updating rosters. It's always fun to see how these additions affect rosters and which ones might have a chance to stick, although we won't have a strong idea until training camps, most likely.