NFC West: Mike Balogun

NFC West practice squad eligibility

September, 5, 2010
NFL teams can begin signing eight or fewer players to their practice squads once the players clear waivers Sunday.

Players on practice squads earn $5,200 per week for the 2010 season. The collective bargaining agreement sets the following parameters for eligibility:
  • Players without an accrued season of NFL experience;
  • Free-agent players who were on the 45-man active list for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season;
  • Players who have not served more than two previous seasons on a practice squad.

According to the CBA, "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."

What about bye weeks? More CBA: "A bye week counts as a game provided that the player is not terminated until after the regular-season or postseason weekend in question."

The first chart shows eligible players released by the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Johnson, Alfonso Smith and Mark Washington were waived/injured. Dean Muhtadi was released from injured reserve.

The second chart shows eligible players released by the Rams.

The third chart shows eligible players released by the 49ers (Brandon Long was released with an injury settlement).

The fourth chart shows eligible players released by the Seahawks (Jonathan Lewis was released with an injury settlement).

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Having a few thousand fans watching practice seemed to push the San Francisco 49ers to perform more consistently Saturday, particularly when it came to catching the ball. Other observations:
  • Rookie third-round choice NaVorro Bowman repeatedly made running backs look bad in blitz-pickup drills. Anthony Dixon was a repeat victim. Bowman also beat Michael Robinson and Glen Coffee. Bowman's path to playing time might be less congested now that Scott McKillop has suffered a season-ending knee injury.
  • Rookie Kyle Williams impressed with his quickness and catching ability. He beat defenders to the edge.
  • Ted Ginn Jr. caught the ball well, including when he slipped behind linebacker Patrick Willis for a touchdown catch up the middle. Ginn dropped a couple passes Friday, but the 49ers are impressed overall.
  • Josh Morgan's double move against rookie cornerback Tramaine Brock produced a touchdown and instant reaction from the crowd. It might have been the best move of the day.
  • Linebacker Mike Balogun, a rookie free agent from Oklahoma, caught my attention with a big hit. I've noticed coaches spending time with him over the past couple days. Sometimes that can indicate a staff thinks a player has potential. Balogun would probably be a candidate for the practice squad, not the 53-man roster.
  • Vernon Davis continues to make acrobatic catches. He made one leaping grab off the shoulder pad of strong safety Michael Lewis, who was preoccupied with tracking Davis and did not appear to see the ball in time.
  • Fans dogged Chilo Rachal after the right guard incurred a false-start penalty. Later, Ray McDonald shoved Rachal into the quarterback.

The 49ers have another practice at 4 p.m. PT. I'll also be chatting during Jerry Rice's Hall of Fame induction.

Note: I initially estimated 1,000 fans in attendance, but the number was close to 3,000, according to the 49ers. Stands were packed and the atmosphere was alive. One fan joked that Rachal jumped early because of crowd noise. It wasn't that loud, of course, but the fans were engaged.