NFC West: Patrick Kerney

Our two-day look at NFC West rosters continues with projections for the Seattle Seahawks’ defense and special teams.

Defensive linemen (13)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.8

Safest bets: Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Brandon Mebane, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Alan Branch

Leading contenders: Clinton McDonald, Jaye Howard, Greg Scruggs, Pep Levingston

Longer odds: Pierre Allen, Cordarro Law, Dexter Davis

Comment: The Seahawks finished the 2009 season with Bryant, Mebane, Craig Terrill, Colin Cole, Nick Reed, Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding and Darryl Tapp on their 53-man roster. Pete Carroll has transformed the line since becoming head coach before the 2010 season. The changes have been as much about fit as personnel. The group keeps getting stronger.

Linebackers (12)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.6

Safest bets: K.J. Wright, Leroy Hill, Bobby Wagner, Korey Toomer

Leading contenders: Heath Farwell, Matt McCoy, Malcolm Smith, Barrett Ruud

Longer odds: Michael Morgan, Allen Bradford, Kyle Knox, Jameson Konz

Comment: Toomer's arrival in the fifth round cranks up the pressure on Smith, a 2011 seventh-round choice. Farwell and McCoy could be competing for a spot. Farwell is better on special teams. McCoy offers more at linebacker. Bradford is converting from running back and has a chance to stick in some capacity. Ruud looks like insurance for Wagner, but his health is a concern.

Defensive backs (17)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.2

Safest bets: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman

Leading contenders: Jeron Johnson, Byron Maxwell, Roy Lewis, Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond, Winston Guy

Longer odds: DeShawn Shead, Ron Parker, Coye Francies, Donny Lisowski, Jeremy Lane, Phillip Adams, Chris Maragos

Comment: Three of the four starters went to the Pro Bowl last season; Sherman arguably should have gone. Trufant's conversion to a nickel role has the potential to upgrade Seattle's coverage. Injuries sidelined Trufant and Thurmond last season. Both can contribute at a reasonably high level if healthy. It's tough to bank on either one, however. Don't forget about Maxwell. He impressed in camp as a rookie, only to fade from the picture after suffering an ankle injury. Seattle likes its depth at corner. Johnson should be ready to take a step forward at safety. The Seahawks like what they've seen from Guy as well.

Special teams (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Safest bets: Jon Ryan, Steven Hauschka, Clint Gresham

Leading contenders: none

Longer odds: Carson Wiggs

Comment: Ryan led the NFL with 34 punts downed inside the 20 (against eight touchbacks). Opponents returned two punts for touchdowns, however.

Final Word: NFC West

December, 30, 2011
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:

Draft order disorder. Every NFC West team but San Francisco faces a potential significant shift in draft order based on Week 17 results. The St. Louis Rams will emerge with the No. 1 overall pick if they lose to the 49ers while Indianapolis defeats Jacksonville. The Colts will pick first if they lose, or if the Rams win. The winner between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will finish 8-8 instead of 7-9, producing likely a swing of several spots in the order. The 7-9 team with the easiest strength of schedule will pick ninth. The 8-8 team with the strongest strength of schedule would pick 20th.

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesAlex Smith has had quite a 2011 season, including a passer rating that could eclipse some of Joe Montana's seasons.
Gunning for the record. Two of the NFL's sack leaders will stand on opposite sidelines at the Edward Jones Dome. San Francisco's Aldon Smith has 14 sacks, one more than St. Louis' Chris Long. The NFC West in its current form has never produced two players with as many combined sacks in the same season. Smith needs one more to break the NFL rookie record Jevon Kearse set in 1999 (records kept since 1982). Smith and Long are both close to setting an NFC West single-season record since realignment in 2002. Bertrand Berry had 14.5 sacks for Arizona in 2004. Patrick Kerney had the same total for Seattle in 2007.

Alex Smith's improbable rating. The 49ers must be pleased to know that Smith, with a 90.1 NFL passer rating through 15 games, has a chance to finish with a better single-season mark than Joe Montana posted with the team in 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988 or 1990. Passer rating is but one tool for measuring quarterback performance. No one is saying it's perfect, or even that Smith has played better this season than Montana did during those five seasons. Still pretty tough to believe, though, right?

Battle of the backs. Frank Gore leads NFC West running backs with 1,202 yards even though his production has trailed off late in the season. Marshawn Lynch would have to outgain Gore by 85 yards to overtake him for most rushing yards in the division. That is unlikely, but Lynch has set a furious pace lately. He leads the NFL in rushing since Week 9, gaining 855 yards over that eight-game period. The Rams' Steven Jackson ranks eighth in the league with 620 yards during that time. Arizona's Beanie Wells is 15th (541 yards), one spot ahead of Gore (527). All four primary backs in the division have topped 1,000 yards.

Spagnuolo's last stand? The Rams started the season with an 0-6 record. They're in danger of finishing it with seven consecutive defeats. No team in the NFL has a worse record than the Rams since Steve Spagnuolo became head coach in 2009. St. Louis, shut out by the 49ers earlier this season, needs 10 points to avoid becoming the lowest-scoring Rams team since the franchise left Los Angeles. The 49ers, meanwhile, are allowing a franchise-best 13.46 points per game. The 1946 team, which played in the AAFC, allowed 13.5. The current team can break that record by allowing 13 or fewer points. The 1976 team holds the NFL-era franchise record at 13.57 points per game allowed. The current 49ers could break that record by allowing no more than 15 points to the Rams.

NFC West penalty watch: Refs and roughing

November, 5, 2011
The 2011 Official Playing Rules and Casebook of the National Football League devotes 1,127 words to the section on roughing the passer.

Twenty-two words near the end sum up the spirit:
"If in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactic on the quarterback, the referee should always call roughing the passer."

That sentence pretty much absolves referees from blame for penalizing acts that seem to be borderline infractions.

We discussed one such penalty against the Arizona Cardinals' Calais Campbell earlier.

Campbell leads the NFC West in roughing-the-passer penalties since 2009 with three. Teammate Clark Haggans, the San Francisco 49ers' Ahmad Brooks, the Seattle Seahawks' Raheem Brock and ex-Seahawk Patrick Kerney have two apiece since then.

Instead of focusing on players, I've put together a chart showing how many roughing calls each of the 17 current referees has called since 2009. Note that Clete Blakeman was not a referee until 2010. Officiating crews change members from time to time, but the referees are the ones responsible for most roughing calls, so these numbers hold up better.

Some referees call more penalties than others overall. Some have surely encountered more instances of roughing than others. But if you're a defensive end eager to mete out some old-school punishment on the opposing quarterback, it wouldn't hurt to know which referee was working the game that day.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers will not be "major players" in free agency following the lockout, according to general manager Trent Baalke. Baalke: "Just because somebody goes out, makes a lot of acquisitions, doesn't mean all those acquisitions are going to pan out the way the media thinks they're going to pan out." The media has indeed played up some free-agent signings -- think Albert Haynesworth -- but NFL teams are the ones that have made the mistakes. Not so much lately, however. The 49ers and other teams have done a better job re-signing their own players and showing restraint in free agency. There simply haven't been many excellent players available. This offseason could be different. The pool of available players will likely be larger.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers rookie Aldon Branch isn't worried about a rookie wage scale.

Bob Padecky of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers hope Joe Montana's name can help them get a stadium built.

Also from Padecky: Count former 49ers lineman Bob St. Clair among retired players upset with labor negotiations. He wants more protections for former players. St. Clair: "I am really lucky, luckier than most of the guys. The helmets when I played didn’t provide any protection at all. Concussions? We’d get concussions every game. I know I am having trouble with my memory. But I go to golf tournaments and I see guys I played with and against in wheelchairs, unable to walk. Dementia, crippled bodies, there’s no question it’s caused by the sport. No question."

Matt Maiocco of expects Chilo Rachal to face competition for the starting job at right guard. Maiocco: "Assuming center David Baas re-signs, Rachal is the 2010 starter whose position for the upcoming season is the most tenuous. Adam Snyder, the backup at right guard a year ago, helped Joe Staley organize all the work for the offensive linemen during the player-led workouts. Snyder knows the terminology and line calls as well as anyone right now."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says talk of high salary floor as part of a new collective bargaining agreement could affect how the 49ers spend money. Could the team have an easier time paying more to nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, for instance? Barrows: "Why not spend it on players you know and trust and who allow your best defensive player, Patrick Willis, to make plays? One of the issues is Willis, who signed a contract extension last year. Would re-signing Franklin mean that Franklin is making more than Willis? And if so, would that cause problems? (My guess is that Willis would have no problem with that as long as the difference is within reason. But money issues inside the locker room can be tricky)."

Clare Farnsworth of revisits the team's final season under coach Mike Holmgren. Farnsworth: "By the time the season ended, 26 players had missed a combined 163 games -- and the 14-player injured reserve list included Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones, Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney, wide receivers Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu and starting offensive linemen Chris Gray, Chris Spencer, Rob Sims, Mike Wahle and Sean Locklear. Matt Hasselbeck missed nine games, wide receiver Deion Branch eight and linebacker Leroy Hill four. So a better question might be: How did the Seahawks manage to win four games?"

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at the Seahawks' struggles in pass coverage last season. Williams: "Pete Carroll wants to play more press coverage because it takes away the quick, rhythm passing game and forces the offense to make tougher throws down the field and outside the numbers. It’s one of the reasons Seattle drafted big corners in Stanford’s Richard Sherman and Clemson’s Byron Maxwell, along with bringing in Oregon State product and CFL Star Brandon Browner with a futures contract. And it’s why the Seahawks chose to trade 5-9 defensive back Josh Wilson and likely will not bring back Kelly Jennings in free agency. Carroll wants bigger, more physical corners on the perimeter that can force opposing quarterbacks to make more precise throws on the perimeter of the defense."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle offers thoughts on Sal Paolantonio's suggestion that the Redskins could have interest in Hasselbeck. Huard thinks Hasselbeck's value is rising as the lockout continues because teams will want veterans capable of running their offense on short notice. Also, the Redskins' offense is similar to the one Seattle ran last season, so Hasselbeck could step in pretty quickly. Unlike some of the other teams needing quarterbacks, the Redskins did not use a high 2011 draft choice for one. Would they commit to Hasselbeck beyond the 2011 season, and would that be enough for Hasselbeck to sign with them?

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, who has continued to pursue interests in comedy writing. Young: "Campbell said he has been working out several hours a day to be ready to roll when a labor settlement is reached and training camp opens, but he also spent time in Los Angeles visiting the set of Will Ferrell's web-based show 'Funny or Die' and meeting with the writers of 'Family Guy.'"

Darren Urban of took notice when safety Adrian Wilson provided footage from a recent workout. Urban: "Wilson tweeted out a video from today’s workout. Narrated by wide receiver Stephen Williams (and with a cameo from Beanie Wells), Wilson shows his ability to rep four big plates on each side of the bar on the incline bench press. Crazy. Say the bar is 45 pounds and the plates 45 pounds each, that’s 405 pounds. Yikes. Not that it’s a shock, really. Wilson lives for the weight room. As an aside, safety Rashad Johnson, who is spotting for Wilson, looks like he’s put on significant muscle."

Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly lists Ben Leber, Barry Cofield and Quintin Mikell as players who could make sense for the Rams in free agency. Arkush: "Mikell played under Steve Spagnuolo in Philly when the head coach was an assistant with the Eagles, Cofield played under Spagnuolo in New York along with Fred Robbins and Leber has a history worth noting with Rams linebackers coach Paul Ferraro, who previously coached Minnesota's special teams. All three players could figure as potential instant starters at positions widely considered to be in dire need of more depth."

Clemons joins exclusive NFC West list

December, 15, 2010
A scorekeeper's change from Week 14 has made Chris Clemons the 11th player in Seattle Seahawks history to reach at least 10 sacks in a single NFL season.

The change turned Aaron Curry's sack on the San Francisco 49ers' Alex Smith into a half-sack for Curry and Clemons. I watched replays and also thought Clemons deserved at least some credit for the sack.

Clemons now has 10 sacks in 13 games with Seattle. He becomes the first Seahawks player since Patrick Kerney in 2007 to have at least 10 in a season. Kerney had 14.5.

Clemons becomes the eighth player from a current NFC West team to record at least 10 sacks in a season since 2000. The list:
The Rams' James Hall ranks second to Clemons in sacks among NFC West players this season. He has 8.5. Teammate Chris Long is next with 6.5, followed by the 49ers' Justin Smith (5.5) and four players with five sacks (Travis LaBoy, Patrick Willis, Raheem Brock and Joey Porter).

Clemons joins a Seattle double-digit sacks list featuring Jacob Green (five times), Michael Sinclair (three), Rufus Porter (two), Jeff Bryant (two), Cortez Kennedy (one), Michael McCrary (one), John Randle (one), Randy Edwards (one), Kerney (one) and Peterson (one).

Tough to recognize Seahawks, Cardinals

November, 14, 2010
Counting ways the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have changed since their most recent meeting at University of Phoenix Stadium one year ago (Nov. 15, 2009):
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin had 100-yard receiving games that day. They are now teammates in Baltimore.
  • Jim Mora's role as Seahawks coach last season required him to meet with Dick Stockton, Charles Davis and the rest of the Fox broadcast team assigned to the Seahawks-Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mora now works in the same Fox booth featuring Stockton and Davis.
  • Patrick Kerney, Lawrence Jackson, Leroy Hill, Josh Wilson, Deon Grant, Colin Cole and Jordan Babineaux started on defense for the Seahawks that day. None will start Sunday. Cole and Hill are the only injury scratches, although it's not clear whether Hill would have remained a starter if healthy.
  • The Cardinals and Seahawks each amassed more than 460 yards last time. Neither has exceeded 396 in a game this season. They have combined for 11 games with no more than 271 yards.
  • Kurt Warner passed for 340 yards with a 120.5 rating last time. Arizona has failed to finish with 340 net yards -- overall, not just through the air -- in six of its eight games since Warner retired.
  • Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby and Bryant McFadden were the Cardinals' leading tacklers last time. All play elsewhere.

Not that the NFL landscape changes much in a calendar year.

Mike Sando's MVP Watch

September, 22, 2010
Six sacks in two games should be enough for the Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews to earn a spot on the MVP Watch list.

It was, but only if I removed someone with better long-term prospects for the award. Matthews’ teammate, Aaron Rodgers, became the odd man out.

Matthews is the first Packers player with 3.0 sacks in consecutive games -- and the NFL's first since Patrick Kerney did it in 2007 -- but the three-sack game isn’t particularly special by itself. Lots of players have had more. But if Matthews averages even 1.0 sack per game from here on out, he would join an exclusive short list of players with at least 20 in a season since sacks became an official stat.

Michael Strahan, Mark Gastineau, Chris Doleman, Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas and DeMarcus Ware. Of the seven, only Taylor won MVP honors.

A few more thoughts on Vernon Davis' deal

September, 11, 2010
CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on Vernon Davis during a layover and after the San Francisco 49ers extended the tight end's contract through the 2015 season:

  • Davis can do it all. He went to the Pro Bowl last season mainly because he caught 13 touchdown passes. Davis has caught passes thrown over the wrong shoulder. He has out muscled Pro Bowl-caliber players for the football, including the Arizona Cardinals' Adrian Wilson. He has used his speed to outrun defenders -- especially down the middle. I've also appreciated Davis' approach to blocking. In going through my notes over the past two seasons, I found examples of Davis containing or taking out Mathias Kiwanuka, Patrick Kerney, Chike Okeafor, Charles Grant, Will Smith, James Hall, Calvin Pace, Jacob Ford, David Harris and others. I recall him blocking the Chicago Bears' Nick Roach aggressively enough last season to injure the 250-pound inside linebacker. Those are the plays that can make Davis a dynamic all-around player.
  • Davis doesn't always do it all. He seems to have lapses in awareness at times. My notes over the past couple seasons also include dropped passes, costly penalties, an instance when he failed to get out of bounds to stop the clock, missed blocks and potential failures to recognize blitzing defenders (resulting in pressure or incomplete passes when Davis failed to look back at the quarterback). Davis can become more consistent.
  • Davis has good intentions. This is what makes the 49ers feel good about rewarding Davis. They can be confident he'll continue working at his craft. Naming Davis a team captain seemed to help Davis act more like one. The 49ers should expect this contract extension to promote more consistent play from Davis. He's been great at times, but not all the time. It's fair to hold him to a higher standard after this extension.

The laptop battery is about to expire. Catching a connecting flight to St. Louis here shortly. Enjoy your Saturday night.

Definitive look at NFC West turnover

September, 8, 2010
Roster turnover is a leading topic for discussion in Seattle following the release of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in particular.

I've addressed the subject in depth across the division -- first May 26 and again July 30 -- and it's worth another look now that teams have reduced to 53 players for the regular season.

This time, I'm going to break down the changes by position, listing players no longer on the active roster at each main position group (with new players in parenthesis). Departures outnumber replacements because some players finished last season on injured reserve, meaning they were not part of the 53-man roster.

Some players no longer on the active roster remain with the team (they could be suspended, deemed physically unable to perform or part of the practice squad).

St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)

Defensive back: Eric Bassey, Quincy Butler, Danny Gorrer, Clinton Hart, Cordelius Parks, David Roach, Jonathan Wade (added Kevin Dockery, Jerome Murphy, Darian Stewart)

Defensive line: Victor Adeyanju, Adam Carriker, Leger Douzable, Leonard Little, LaJuan Ramsey, James Wyche (added Jermelle Cudjo, Fred Robbins, George Selvie, Eugene Sims)

Linebacker: K.C. Asiodu, Paris Lenon (added Na'il Diggs, Josh Hull)

Offensive line: Roger Allen, Alex Barron, Ryan McKee, Mark Setterstrom, Phillip Trautwein, Eric Young (added Renardo Foster, Hank Fraley, Rodger Saffold)

Quarterback: Kyle Boller, Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Mike Reilly (added Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Thaddeus Lewis)

Running back: Samkon Gado, Chris Ogbonnaya (added Keith Toston)

Special teams: Ryan Neill

Tight end: Randy McMichael (added Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun)

Wide receiver: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brooks Foster, Jordan Kent, Ruvell Martin (added Mark Clayton, Dominique Curry, Mardy Gilyard)

Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)

Defensive back: Jamar Adams, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson (added Kam Chancellor, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond)

Defensive line: Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Nick Reed, Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill (added Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, Junior Siavii, E.J. Wilson)

Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Lance Laury, D.D. Lewis (added Matt McCoy; note that Hill is suspended for the first regular-season game)

Offensive line: Trevor Canfield, Brandon Frye, Walter Jones, Damion McIntosh, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto (added Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ben Hamilton, Russell Okung, Chester Pitts, Tyler Polumbus)

Quarterback: Mike Teel, Seneca Wallace (added Charlie Whitehurst)

Running back: Justin Griffith, Louis Rankin, Tyler Roehl, Owen Schmitt (added Quinton Ganther, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington)

Special teams: Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson (added Clint Gresham)

Tight end: John Owens (added Chris Baker, Anthony McCoy)

Wide receiver: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (added Golden Tate, Mike Williams)

Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Ralph Brown, Bryant McFadden, Antrel Rolle (added A.J. Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Brandon McDonald, Kerry Rhodes)

Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)

Linebacker: Monty Beisel, Bertrand Berry, Cody Brown, Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor, Pago Togafau (added Paris Lenon, Cyril Obiozor, Joey Porter, Daryl Washington; Hayes can return from the physically unable to perform list after six games)

Offensive line: Mike Gandy, Herman Johnson, Reggie Wells (added Alan Faneca, Rex Hadnot)

Quarterback: Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Kurt Warner (added Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton)

Running back: Justin Green, Dan Kreider (added Jerome Johnson)

Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)

Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)

Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban (added Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams)

San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Dre' Bly, Walt Harris, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman (added Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock, William James, Taylor Mays)

Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker

Linebacker: Scott McKillop, Jeff Ulbrich, Matt Wilhelm (added NaVorro Bowman, Travis LaBoy)

Offensive line: Tony Pashos, Chris Patrick, Cody Wallace (added Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati)

Quarterback: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill (added David Carr, Troy Smith)

Running back: Thomas Clayton, Glen Coffee, Brit Miller, Michael Robinson (added Anthony Dixon, Brian Westbrook)

Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt

Wide receiver: Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones (added Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler)

The first chart shows how many players are back -- at least for now -- from Week 17 rosters and injured reserve lists. Seattle has the fewest number back with 26.

The second chart shows how many players each team has shed since Week 17 last season. This counts players who were on injured reserve. Teams with lots of players on injured reserve had more players to lose.

San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Leonard Little, Jerheme Urban, Isaac bruce, Owen Schmitt, Josh Wilson, Justin Green, Derek Anderson, Walt Harris, Tony Pashos, Brian St.Pierre, Darryl Tapp, Sam Bradford, Mark Roman, Dan Kreider, Steve Vallos, David Carr, Randy McMIchael, Ralph Brown, Lawrence Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Shaun HIll, Leroy HIll, Chris Patrick, Matt Leinart, Chike Okeafor, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Brian Westbrook, Bertrand Berry, Dominique Zeigler, Ricky Schmitt, Eric Bassey, Eric Young, D.D. Lewis, Nate Burleson, Alex Barron, Samkon Gado, Kyle Boller, Brit Miller, Patrick Kerney, Quincy Butler, Michael Robinson, Arnaz Battle, Ray Willis, Jerome Johnson, Derek Walker, Glen Coffee, Brooks Foster, Monty Beisel, Renardo Foster, Mansfield Wrotto, Seneca Wallace, Donnie Avery, Karlos Dansby, Alex Boone, Marcus Hudson, Adam Carriker, Cody Brown, Kurt Warner, Cordelius Parks, Jeff Ulbrich, Chris Ogbonnaya, Neil Rackers, Pago Togafau, Scott McKillop, Kentwan Balmer, Lance Laury, Sean Morey, Mike Gandy, Mike Reilly, Anquan Boldin, Trevor Canfield, Marc Bulger, Nate Davis, Cory Redding, Antrel Rolle, Matt McCoy, Brandon Jones, Alan Faneca, Anthony Davis, Keenan Burton, Jason HIll, Joey Porter, David Roach, Phillip Trautwein, Tyler Roehl, Taylor Mays, Mark Setterstrom, Travis LaBoy, A.J. Feeley, Craig Terrill, Keith Null, Cody Wallace, K.C. Asiodu, Jordan Kent, Kyle Williams, Stacy Andrews, James Wyche, Reggie Wells, Victor Adeyanju, Jonathan Wade, Thomas Clayton, Deon Grant, LaJuan Ramsey, John Owens, Bryant McFadden, Matt Wilhelm, Gerald Hayes, Jeff Robinson, Herman Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Williams, Justin Griffith, Jason Banks, Jamar Adams, Kevin Houser, Anthony Becht, Damion McIntosh, Louis Rankin, Brandon Frye, Ruvell Martin, Paris Lenon, Leger Douzable, Ryan Neill, Danny Gorrer, Russell Okung, Anthony McCoy, Clinton Hart, Earl Thomas, Leon Washington, Andre Roberts, Chester Pitts, Dan Williams, Mike Iupati, Ben Hamilton, Ryan McKee, Kennard Cox, Kerry Rhodes, Fred Robbins, Chris Baker, William James, Rex Hadnot, Hank Fraley, Mark Clayton, Quinton Ganther, Na'il Diggs, Chris Clemons, John Skelton, Mardy Gilyard, Rodger Saffold, Daryl Washington, Golden Tate, Jerome Murphy, Navorro Bowman, Walter Thurmond, E.J. Wilson, Mike Hoomanawanui, Nate Byham, Fendi Onobun, George Selvie, Thaddeus Lewis, Stephen Williams, A.J. Jefferson, Anthony Dixon, Eugene Sims, Kam Chancellor, Dexter Davis, Jermelle Cudjo, Darian Stewart, Keith Toston, Tramaine Brock, Dominique Curry, Phillip Adams, Trumaine McBride, Kevin Dockery, Shane Andrus, Tyler Polumbus, Clint Gresham, Roger III Allen, Cyril Obiozor, Brandon McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Junior Siavii, Troy Smith, Ted Jr. Ginn, Raheem Brock

Ethan from Chicago writes: Mike, I am a Rams fan living in Chicago and I am craving good football this year, but I just don't see it for the Lambs. This regime is clueless and will be out of a job after another disaster this year. Last year, Billy Devaney confessed in an interview that even his family members were questioning why there wasn't a viable backup to Steven Jackson. Well, he had all offseason to correct that problem and did NOTHING. Jason Smith may end up being a serviceable tackle, but the No. 2 pick in the draft? BUST! Finally, Ike Bruce coaching the Bears? One of the classiest Rams of all time (and a Hall of Famer) was cast aside by Devaney, Steve Spagnuolo, etc. And where are the playmakers and pass-rushers on this team? Thinking about this upcoming season already has me sick to my stomach.

Mike Sando: Whoa, Ethan, did you move to Chicago with Mike Martz? Are you guys roommates or something? Let's separate fair criticism from understandable (but possibly unfair) ranting. Devaney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before training camp that the Rams still might add a veteran backup runner before the regular-season opener. They could add a player released from another team, or they could ramp up their pursuit of Brian Westbrook. Also, Steven Jackson is holding up very well so far in training camp, it appears, so the backup position might not be quite as urgent of a concern. Still, if the Rams fail to act and running back becomes a serious problem, your criticism will be fair.

On the Jason Smith front, let's not declare him a bust after one injury-affected season. Let's also evaluate his selection in the context of which other players the Rams could have drafted. Tyson Jackson and Aaron Curry were the next two players selected. Mark Sanchez was taken fifth, but the Rams already had millions in guaranteed money committed to Marc Bulger, so the timing was not ideal. And they wound up getting Sam Bradford the next year. Smith, Jackson, Curry ... they're all promising players still finding their way. None turned around the fortunes of his franchise in one year.

On the Isaac Bruce front, I think he's a better fit for Chicago because the Bears are running the offense he ran during his prime years (and even with the 49ers later). The Rams have reached out to Dick Vermeil. They've showed a willingness to hire prominent former players for the coaching staff when the fit was right (Nolan Cromwell, who has vast experience in West Coast offenses). They've even saluted past Rams teams by hanging banners throughout their facility. I'm not going to trash the Rams for not hiring Bruce as a coaching intern. They did re-sign him and let him retire as a Ram, after all.

You're justified in feeling queasy about the upcoming Rams season. I think it's going to be a rough one. But if Bradford looks the part and some of the younger players around him show meaningful progress, you can at least feel better about the future.

Colton from Friendsville, Pa., writes: Hey Mike, I've been hearing buzz about undrafted rookie Stephen Williams. Before camp, I had never heard his name. Can you tell me something about him?

Mike Sando: Yes, I noticed Williams at Cardinals camp. He's quite tall (6-foot-5) and very rangy (208 pounds). The Cardinals do like what he offers. I think Williams would be an ideal candidate for the practice squad unless he plays well enough as a receiver during the exhibition season to command a roster spot, or unless he shows outstanding talent on special teams.

Levin from parts unknown writes: Sando, I appreciate the great coverage of the NFC West and 49ers in particular. If I may make one request, it would be for some coverage on how the 49ers are doing in the running game. Obviously, Frank Gore is a great back, but what did the blocking look like? Was it much improved and holes actually created, unlike much of last season? Also how are Glen Coffee and Anthony Dixon looking? All the write-ups I see from you and everyone else who gets access to practices tend to concentrate solely on the passing game. That is understandable, since that is the unknown part of the offense and the key to the 49ers' season, but the run game should get some coverage (especially the blocking of the OL). Thanks.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Levin. Mike Iupati jumps out right away. He will upgrade their run blocking. Center Eric Heitmann has been missing practice after suffering a stinger injury. Right guard Chilo Rachal missed some time after suffering from dehydration. Anthony Davis is finding his way at right tackle. The running game is very much a work in progress in terms of that line coming together. I appreciate the reminder to focus on it and will take a longer look at Coffee and Dixon over the next couple days (I'll be at 49ers practices Friday and Saturday).

Julian from Oak Harbor, Wash., writes: Hey Mike, love what you've done so far for the Cards' posts over the course of training camp. I know Matt Leinart has question marks, but one thing I didn't see in your articles was anything definitively positive or negative. So I ask, is there anything specific that you noticed that had improved in Matt? Arm strength, accuracy, footwork, timing, field vision, etc.? Anything at all that grabbed your attention? As always Mike, thanks for the hard work and dedication you put into you posts.

Mike Sando: Astute observation, Julian. I came away from my time in Arizona thinking the same thing. Isn't there something more definitive to say about this guy. There was no "wow" factor to the way he ran the offense. Neither was there a feeling he couldn't handle the job. That's what I mean when I say there comes a time when Leinart must play well enough for people to take notice and say, "That's a guy the Cardinals need to lead their offense." We have not seen it yet.

Scott from Germantown, Md., writes: Hi Mike, lifelong Seahawks fan out on the East Coast. Any chance the Seahawks will jump to sign Aaron Schobel now that he's released? It would seem to me that he could work in Pete Carroll's hybrid defensive front as either defensive end, outside linebacker or the Leo position. Any chance of this happening? We're going to need some kind of pass-rush if we're going to win any games.

Mike Sando: The fit does appear perfect. He had 10 sacks for a really bad team last season. He would probably give the Seahawks what they wish they could still be getting from Patrick Kerney. The feeling early, though, is that Schobel might be more likely to land with the Houston Texans. He has a farm near Houston and his family is there. It's still early in the process. Stay tuned.
After the obligatory questions about his book and the one the NCAA threw at USC, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll answered 710ESPN Seattle's questions about the football stuff we care most about around here.

There was his revelation about Seattle deciding against pursuing Terrell Owens, and also these nuggets (taken from the final minutes of this audio block):
  • Defensive lineman Red Bryant was Carroll's biggest surprise of the offseason. Carroll thinks Bryant can be a 335-pound presence at defensive end, noting that Bryant "looks like a different player" since the conversion from defensive tackle.
  • Carroll thinks Kevin Vickerson, the defensive tackle acquired from the Tennessee Titans, further changes the dynamics of the defensive line. Vickerson is roughly 350 pounds.
  • Chris Clemons and Aaron Curry will rush from the outside in nickel situations, as expected.
  • The team isn't sure whether linebacker Leroy Hill will face NFL discipline beyond the recently levied one-game suspension.

Bryant and Vickerson might indeed help the defensive line. They give it more size and power against the run. But the Seahawks, despite rough games against the run on occasion, had bigger concerns last season. The pass rush has been weak ever since Patrick Kerney's body gave out. The team hasn't done much to solve that problem and it's clear Carroll remains concerned.

Carroll said he hopes the Seahawks' home crowd can help Clemons and Curry maximize their speed off the edge. The team plays half its games on the road, of course.

"We still are really working hard to figure out how we are going to rush the passer," Carroll said.

Expect that to remain a theme for Seattle this season.

Revisiting NFC West weaknesses

July, 8, 2010
Kenny from New Jersey asked through the mailbag which position I thought was weakest on the St. Louis Rams. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. addressed the subject for each NFC West team while I was away late last month. I'll link to his thoughts and offer my own. Thanks to Kenny for the idea.

St. Louis Rams

Matt Williamson: Playmakers. "Just how far away are the Rams? I consider the NFC West the weakest division in the league, but the cream of the division -- San Francisco and Arizona -- is far better off in the playmakers department than St. Louis. Remember, when classifying the Rams’ playmakers, I reached a little with (Chris) Long and maybe (James) Laurinaitis."

My take: I'll single out tight end as an area for concern even though Daniel Fells can be effective in a support role and Bajema is a solid backup. They could use a tight end with the versatility to hold up in pass protection or threaten defenses downfield or simply to serve as an outlet for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams used later-round picks on the position. Fells, Billy Bajema, Darcy Johnson, Eric Butler, Fendi Onobun and Michael Hoomanawanui won't scare opponents in 2010.

San Francisco 49ers

Matt Williamson: cornerback. "Overall, this certainly isn’t an awe-inspiring group of cornerbacks, but if this is the worst facet of your team, you are doing OK."

My take: I'll agree with Williamson to the extent that he says the 49ers lack obvious weaknesses. Quarterback is one obvious potential issue until Alex Smith shows consistency over the course of a season. Williamson thinks Smith is in position to enjoy a breakout season. I agree, but am not sure the 49ers can know whether they've effectively addressed their issues in the return game by adding Ted Ginn Jr. It's fair to say the 49ers do not have a dominant pass rusher, but they've generally been effective rushing the passer as a team.

Seattle Seahawks

Matt Williamson: Defensive end. "The uninspiring supporting cast at defensive end puts a lot of stress on (Lawrence) Jackson. He has the most ability of the group and Pete Carroll is very familiar with him from their time together at USC, but Jackson has been underwhelming since entering the league as a high draft choice. In the last 14 games of the 2009 season, Jackson registered a meager 1.5 sacks. That isn’t going to cut it."

My take: I'd single out the pass rush as the Seahawks' greatest weakness, whether it's at defensive end or in the front seven overall. Perhaps the Seahawks' can scheme their way to a better rush. Perhaps Aaron Curry develops into more of a threat. It's just tough to find a proven pass rusher on the roster now that injuries have forced Patrick Kerney into retirement.

Arizona Cardinals

Matt Williamson: Quarterback. "(Matt) Leinart is a good touch passer and surely an offseason of being the lead dog at the game’s most important position will help his development. Plus, this is a strong coaching staff that should do a nice job of taking some weight off this young quarterback’s shoulders. Still, there is no way around it right now. The quarterback position is a weakness for the Cardinals as Leinart still is shoddy with his footwork, hasn’t shown high-end arm strength and is a sitting duck in the pocket."

My take: The coaching aspect will be key as the Cardinals adjust their offense following Kurt Warner's retirement. Arizona has the offensive line, running backs and wide receivers to give Leinart a chance to exceed expectations. There's still enough uncertainty, though, to single out quarterback as the most significant weakness on the roster. Linebacker also came to mind, but the Cardinals have some promising prospects at the position and their defensive line could be strong enough to cover in some cases.
Revisiting top NFC West storylines this offseason:

Mass retirements

Walter Jones, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Patrick Kerney and Bertrand Berry combined for 20 Pro Bowls during their NFL careers. Each retired this offseason.

[+] EnlargeWarner
John David Mercer/US PresswireKurt Warner's retirement may tip the competitive balance heading into the 2010 season.
Warner's departure from the Arizona Cardinals was by far the most significant based on how well he probably would have played had he returned in 2010. No other move this offseason will affect the 2010 standings as much. The San Francisco 49ers' chances improved significantly when Warner walked away.

Quarterback turnover

Every team in the division changed its No. 2 quarterback. Sam Bradford, Charlie Whitehurst, Derek Anderson, A.J. Feeley, David Carr and J.P. Losman are new to the NFC West this season. Predicting the division is tougher with so many changes and potential changes at the position. The door is open for Matt Hasselbeck to re-emerge as the top quarterback in the division. The big question, I think, is whether we're underestimating Matt Leinart in Arizona. He's not getting much credit at all.

49ers stadium vote

The team moved closer to having a new stadium in Santa Clara for the 2014 season. Getting Measure J passed doesn't guarantee anything, but the 49ers' ability to clear this hurdle suggests the team's ownership and front office have made progress. That's a welcome development for 49ers fans -- even those not wanting to see game days relocated from San Francisco.

Ownership uncertainty

The St. Louis Rams appeared less flexible than they would have liked this offseason during an ownership change that remains in progress. All signs point to Stan Kroenke finding a way to become full owner of the team. Rams fans should welcome the development because Kroenke has resources and an established record as an effective sports franchise owner.

In Seattle, meanwhile, the Seahawks continued to operate as usual while owner Paul Allen underwent cancer treatments. The long-term prognosis for Allen remains unclear.

Stability in Arizona

The Cardinals endured lots of changes this offseason, but they signed coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves to contract extensions through the 2013 season. They also re-signed strength-and-conditioning coach John Lott, whose addition and retention Whisenhunt had made a priority.

Failing to re-sign Whisenhunt and/or Lott in particular would have raised questions about the Cardinals' direction and stability. Those are non-issues at this point.

[+] EnlargeCarroll
Juliann Tallin/US PresswirePete Carroll took over as the Seahawks' head coach.
Drama, intrigue in Seattle

The Seahawks' strange and ultimately futile dance with Mike Holmgren -- followed by Jim Mora's abrupt firing and Pete Carroll's quick hiring -- marked the most dramatic offseason in Seattle since Holmgren stepped down as general manager in late 2002.

This was an organization in turmoil for a while. The Seahawks regained their footing and put together a unified front office.

Surviving change atop 49ers

Losing general manager Scot McCloughan five weeks before the draft qualified as a potentially ominous development.

The 49ers held together their front office and smartly promoted from within. Adding a GM from the outside might have undercut coach Mike Singletary, quarterback Alex Smith and others just as the 49ers finally appeared in position to make a serious run at a playoff spot.

This offseason was about continuity for the 49ers and they managed to achieve it even though McCloughan left them. Re-signing Patrick Willis, sticking with Smith when Donovan McNabb was available and getting the stadium measure passed added to the sense of stability and direction for the franchise.

Line dances

The 49ers lucked into offensive line coach Mike Solari when the Seahawks decided to hire Alex Gibbs to coach their offensive line.

The team of Solari and assistant line coach Ray Brown looks like a significant upgrade at a critical time for the 49ers. Solari's familiarity with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye -- they worked together in Kansas City -- was a bonus.

Gibbs is the right hire for Seattle as the team more fully adopts the blocking scheme for which Gibbs is best known. Hiring him at Solari's expense strengthened a division rival, however.

Cardinals exodus

Warner, Berry, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby, Bryant McFadden, Mike Gandy and Chike Okeafor combined to start 107 games for the Cardinals last season. All are gone -- some by design, some against the Cardinals' wishes.

Arizona fans should be excited to see how the Cardinals develop some of their younger players. The organization has done a good job plugging holes with youth in the recent past. This roster has turned over to a degree generally not seen among playoff teams, however.

At least the Cardinals recovered to some degree. Adding Kerry Rhodes, Alan Faneca, Joey Porter, Paris Lenon, Rex Hadnot and Jay Feely helped.

Steven Jackson
Jeff Curry/US PresswireKeeping running back Steven Jackson healthy will be very important for the Rams.
Back surgery for Steven Jackson

The Rams' best player and only Pro Bowl representative wore down last season. Surgery to repair a herniated disk should give him a chance to bounce back in time for training camp and the regular season.

Still, it's fair to wonder if the Rams overused Jackson following his injury last season, and whether they've done enough to shore up their depth in case Jackson wears down again in 2010.

RFA unrest

This was a league-wide phenomenon with special application in the NFC West stemming from Oshiomogho Atogwe's unusual transition from franchise player to minimally tendered restricted free agent to street free agent.

Atogwe might wind up re-signing with the Rams anyway. If that happens, the RFA storyline becomes much ado about not so much -- particularly with the Cardinals' unhappy RFA, Deuce Lutui, re-signing this week.

Fellow NFC West RFAs Rob Sims, Darryl Tapp and Alex Barron found new addresses via trade.

Divisional smack talk

The jaw-jacking between Arizona's Darnell Dockett and San Francisco's Vernon Davis provided cheap entertainment for a while this offseason.

At one point, Dockett asked Davis how he spent Week 18 last season.

"Oh, that's right," Dockett tweeted. "He was home watching the cardinals in tha playoffs!"

[+] EnlargeVernon Davis
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireWe'll see if the verbal sparring between Vernon Davis (pictured) and Darnell Dockett carries over into the regular season.
To be continued.

Brandon Marshall non-acquisition

For a while, the Seahawks were the only team showing serious interest in the Denver Broncos' most productive receiver.

Marshall wound up landing in Miami, a relief to the rest of the NFC West.

The Seahawks might have a cheap alternative in Mike Williams, the surprise of the offseason for Seattle. The next trade-related question for the Seahawks is whether they'll add Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills.

Jerry Rice, Russ Grimm to the Hall

Four recent Hall of Fame enshrinees played at least briefly with NFC West teams. Another, Grimm, coaches in the division.

Rice's election headlined the 2010 class.

Another former NFC West star, Cortez Kennedy, made the list of 10 finalists.

Farewell to a legend

Merlin Olsen's death from cancer saddened those who knew him and those who appreciated the warmth and dignity he projected.

Even opponents liked him.

Not even Rice could match Olsen's career total of 14 Pro Bowls.

Farewell to a non-legend

LenDale White's sudden and quick release from the Seahawks came as an unexpected jolt.

Carroll proved he wouldn't give a free pass to his former players at USC.

Your turn: Any major issues we're missing here? Fire away.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' best option at quarterback is to fully support Matt Leinart and hope for the best. Somers: "(Ken) Whisenhunt always has practiced tough love with Leinart. The coach wants a quarterback who arrives at the team facility early, stays late and is passionate about the game. In the months after arriving in Arizona in 2007, Whisenhunt made it clear that Leinart didn't fit the job description. He challenged the quarterback to work harder at both football and staying off the gossip sites. By all accounts, Leinart has met the challenge. No one faults his work ethic or lifestyle choices any longer. But can he play? Who knows?"

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals pass-rush hopeful Stevie Baggs, formerly of the CFL. Baggs: "I've been the sacks leader at every level, from high school to college to pro and I don't intend to stop now. Now I'm here and I feel like I belong. I know I can play this game at the highest level. Once I get in between those lines, I'm going to do what I have to do. That's never been a problem. The problem for me has always been opportunity."

Darren Urban of says the situation with Deuce Lutui shows how labor unrest is affecting the Cardinals.

Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald thinks Cardinals assistant Russ Grimm will become an NFL head coach, particularly if Arizona continues to enjoy success.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coach Mike Singletary would like to see more progress from third-string quarterback Nate Davis. Singletary: "You know he's coming -- not as fast as you would like. And not as fast as the coaches would like. But he's coming. I think the biggest thing with Nate is that we have to figure out how he learns and get that burning desire to, just whatever it takes to be out here and to get it done. I know he can do it, it's just a matter of him doing it. So, time will tell." The play I recalled Davis making Monday saw him trying to outrun the defense on a scramble. Quarterbacks have to beat defenses with their arms.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Patrick Willis, coming off knee surgery this offseason, participated in individual drills Monday.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider compares the 49ers to the Eagles in their approach to hiring football people with less experience. Lynch: "However, most successful teams follow the more conventional path of hiring proven, experienced coaches and administrators and that includes the 49ers. The team became a league standard bearer under the guidance of Bill Walsh and John McVay. Cracks began to form in the dynasty when the team began to forsake experience for friendship."

Matt Maiocco of says the 49ers and Raiders will not hold joint practices this summer. Singletary: "I just think this year we're going to stay among ourselves and continue to get better. Everything we need to do, just do it amongst ourselves."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune expects the Seahawks to force more turnovers after using a first-round draft choice for safety Earl Thomas. Williams: "Just three years ago in 2007, Seattle was one of the best in the league defending the pass, finishing tied for fourth in the league with 20 interceptions and only giving up a league-best 15 touchdowns through the air that season. But things have gone downhill since then. Part of the reason was the team’s inability to sustain a consistent pass rush, with players like Patrick Kerney banged up and at the end of their careers. Cornerback Marcus Trufant, the team’s best cover corner, also has been banged up the past, two seasons, resulting in less reliable play in the back end of the defense. The result of Seattle’s two, main defenders involved in the passing game not playing to their potential was the Seahawks ranking last overall in pass defense in 2008 and 30th last season."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams great Isaac Bruce plans to announce his retirement Wednesday. Coats: "Bruce will retire as one of only six players in NFL history to top 1,000 catches; he ranks fifth with 1,024. He is second in receiving yards, with 15,208, and ninth in TD catches with 91."

Also from the Post-Dispatch: a 1999 column about Bruce by Bernie Miklasz. Bruce: "People misinterpret me. They say I don't smile. I smile a lot. They say I always look mean, and that I'm hard to approach. But how would you know unless you approach me? You don't know a book until you open and see what's in there, on the pages. The reason that I'm quiet is, I like to get to know a person first. I like to see what a person is about before I start opening up to them. I withhold. And I watch. The least said is the best said."

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat expects the Rams to retire Bruce's No. 80 jersey. Balzer: "Several reports claiming there is no compensation in the deal are inaccurate. There is a conditional draft pick based on him playing for the Rams, which, of course, won’t happen. NFL rules require that trades have something in them from both teams."
The earlier item quantifying NFL roster turnover since last season ranks the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals among the three teams with the most changes.

Some of the research used for that project shows up in the latest version of the anabolically enhanced rosters found here periodically. Specifically, the 26th and final column shows which players were starters, backups or on injured reserve for NFC West teams in Week 17 last season.

Download the rosters here.

The column showing player ages makes it easy to see how roster attrition affects older players. I'll list below the players currently 30 or older who have been released, traded, announced their retirements or were not re-signed as unrestricted free agents since last season:

Seattle Seahawks (9)

Patrick Kerney, Walter Jones, John Owens, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson, D.D. Lewis, Damion McIntosh

Note: The team added 30-plus vets Sean Morey, Ben Hamilton and Chris Baker.

Arizona Cardinals (9)

Kurt Warner, Chike Okeafor, Mike Gandy, Bertrand Berry, Neil Rackers, Morey, Brian St. Pierre, Ralph Brown, Dan Kreider,

Note: The team added 30-plus vets Jay Feely, Paris Lenon, Joey Porter and Alan Faneca.

San Francisco 49ers (6)

Shaun Hill, Arnaz Battle, Mark Roman, Walt Harris, Dre' Bly, Jeff Ulbrich

Note: The team added 30-plus vets David Carr and William James. In looking at the chart, note that receiver Isaac Bruce, 37, is still on the 49ers' roster for the time being.

St. Louis Rams (5)

Leonard Little, Marc Bulger, Lenon, Clinton Hart, Randy McMichael

Note: The team added 30-plus vets A.J. Feeley, Na'il Diggs, Hank Fraley and Fred Robbins.