NFC West: Reggie Williams

RENTON, Wash. -- Doug Baldwin, the Seattle Seahawks' leading receiver as a rookie in 2011, was among those present for Terrell Owens' workout with the team Monday.

What did the 23-year-old Baldwin see?

"4.45 40," Baldwin said Tuesday. "That is faster than my pro day and he's 38 years old."

Owens, scheduled to make his Seahawks practice debut Wednesday after signing a one-year contract, was already the talk of camp, thanks in part to that workout.

"He had crisp routes, came out of his breaks unbelievably for 38 years old," Baldwin said. "I mean, even if he was 24 years old, he would still look good. He caught everything that was thrown to him. He absorbed everything the coaches were saying to him. He is hungry to be back on the field."

Owens' pending arrival has put the Seahawks' other receivers on notice. They realize Owens' credentials dwarf their own. Though Owens did not play in 2011, his stats from 2010 -- 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns -- exceed what any current Seattle player has contributed to the Seahawks over the past two seasons combined.

What no one can know yet is whether Owens will live up to his reputation as a high-maintenance player and potential locker room malcontent.

"We are just going to try to control it the best we can," starting receiver Sidney Rice said. "We're not here to critique anybody. We're welcoming the guy here. We're not going to talk bad about him or anything like that. We're going to try to keep him comfortable in the locker room and get out here on the field as much as possible and make plays for us."

There is little risk for now. The team can release Owens at any point before the first week of the season without salary-cap ramifications. There's enough time before the regular-season opener for Seattle to figure out where Owens fits -- if he fits -- without compromising game plans or receiving rotations.

"He's going to come in and we're going to welcome him with open arms and he is going to see how we treat our players here, how we treat our teammates," Baldwin said. "I don't think it's going to be an issue at all."

Seattle needs a big body at wide receiver.

Mike Williams filled that role until injuries sidelined him and weight concerns resurfaced. Braylon Edwards, signed last week, fits that mold. Owens would have to be the favorite, however, based on the speed he showed Monday. The time he ran was faster than the one Owens posted coming out of college to San Francisco in 1996, when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was finishing a three-year run as the 49ers' defensive coordinator.

"I saw him at the start when it was just raw bones, a young man trying to make the club," Carroll said. "It is interesting how he is. He is extremely hungry, and he is humbled. He is determined to finish his career on a good note."

Also interesting: how Carroll phrased things. He sounded as if he already knew Owens would factor for his team.

"He is famous for his work ethic," Carroll said of Owens. "Adding that to our football team and letting our guys see what he is like will help everybody this season."

Owens hadn't even stepped on the practice field and already Carroll was referring to how Owens would impact the team beyond these next few weeks of camp. That's the kind of confidence a 4.45-second time can inspire.

"I put a lot of pressure on him," Carroll said. "He'd better cook when he gets here, which he will. I know he will because we worked him out the other day and his workout was phenomenal. You would not be able to imagine a guy could work out that well."

Carroll and general manager John Schneider have eagerly collected former first-round picks from other teams. They've added Owens, Edwards, tight end Kellen Winslow and running back Marshawn Lynch to the offense. Robert Gallery, since released and now retired, was another highly drafted offensive player Seattle employed under the Carroll-Schneider tenure. Williams was another one.

A few others, notably Reggie Williams and LenDale White, failed to stick around long enough to factor. Their experiences show Carroll and Schneider will quickly move on from a talented player when the fit isn't right.

"I think it just becomes a matter of, as long as everyone is on the same page, which is winning for the Seahawks and all else is out the window, this could be a heckuva move for everyone involved," Edwards said.

Owens is different from White, Mike Williams and some of the other attempted reclamation projects, however. Owens has always produced on the field. He's always competed hard. He's played through injuries. He's also gotten into locker room fights. He has undermined quarterbacks, including Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. This time, Owens has to know he's about out of second chances. He has to make this one work, or he's likely done.

Carroll was asked whether one player could wreck a locker room.

"That’s not even a topic around here," Carroll said. "Our team is so strong and our guys are so together and our message and what we stand for and all of that. There’s no one guy that’s going to do that to this football team, not even close.

"We're a bunch of young guys growing, and if some older guys want to fit into it, they’re going to have to do it our way. That was a really clear statement to Terrell and he knows what he’s getting into."

Thoughts on Seahawks, Terrell Owens

August, 6, 2012
What comes to mind after the Seattle Seahawks confirmed Dave Mahler's report that the team would visit with free-agent receiver Terrell Owens:
  • The Seahawks don't have the quarterbacks to handle a player with Owens' reputation. For that reason, I'd be skeptical of any move to add Owens at this time. The three quarterbacks on the roster are having a tough enough time establishing themselves without adding a wild card such as Owens to the equation. Coach Pete Carroll's handling of quarterbacks has already come under question.
  • Any contract with Owens would be for the short term, with no guaranteed money. Owens would have to perform at an agreeable level for the team to stick with him. So, there would be little risk in that regard.
  • The Seahawks have consistently shown they've got an open mind when it comes to upgrading their roster. They signed Reggie Williams and Mike Williams during Pete Carroll's first offseason as head coach. They built their defensive line around Red Bryant, a nearly forgotten player they inherited from the team's previous leadership. They gave the wrongly imprisoned Brian Banks a tryout. They signed (and recently released) Antonio Bryant, who had been out of the league since 2009. From a philosophical standpoint, there's no harm in checking out every potential avenue for upgrading a team.
  • Seattle keeps looking at long-shot receivers. That suggests the team isn't entirely comfortable with its situation at the position.

All for now. I'll be leaving Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, shortly and, after a couple hours, heading to the airport in Cleveland to catch a flight back to Seattle. Stadium officials just told me they're closing down the stadium in the next 10 minutes. Now, I've really gotta get out of here!
Veteran receiver Antonio Bryant stared defiantly into the camera and issued a warning from the Seattle Seahawks' locker room following a three-day minicamp tryout last month.

"Remember this day, because if I’m back, I’m going to be back and better than ever," Bryant told Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson for the 'Real Rob Report' show. "Right now, I’m broke down. But a lot of people can’t come off the sofa and go through three days of this. I did it, so that means something."

That's when Bryant, out of the NFL since 2009, turned deadly serious.

"If I come back, a lot of you are going to be sad," he said, "and I’m going to send they ass home. And that’s all I’m going to say."

The full context of Bryant's remarks wasn't clear, but he's back, at least for now. The Seahawks announced Bryant's signing Thursday night after running Bryant and Braylon Edwards through tryouts. Bryant, 31, still must prove he can return from chronic knee troubles that drove him from the game.

But the Seahawks, having improbably revived Mike Williams' career in 2010, have experience giving long-forgotten wideouts a look (Reggie Williams was another one the team checked out two years ago). Bryant finished the 2008 season with 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns for Tampa Bay. Those were career-best numbers across the board.

Bryant's conditioning wasn't up to NFL standards a month ago. He has presumably improved in that area. His progress will be another storyline to follow when Seattle opens camp Saturday.

Todd McShay set off alarms as he considered if NFL teams drafting sixth (St. Louis Rams) and 10th (Buffalo Bills) might consider selecting wide receivers with those choices.

The alarms grew louder as McShay, speaking in the video above, noted that Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, widely rated as the top receiver in the 2012 NFL draft, did not possess prototypical size.

Blackmon, though obviously talented, doesn't fit the physical mold for receivers drafted among the top three overall choices over the past 25-plus years. We discussed the reasons back at the combine, when the Rams held the second overall choice and Blackmon was a consideration for them.

The Rams subsequently traded the second overall choice to Washington. They now hold the sixth overall choice. Blackmon would be a more logical value there than at No. 2, except for those alarms going off.

Consider recent draft history.

First, take a look at receivers drafted among the top five overall choices since 2000, listed in the first chart below.

Three of the seven are superstars: Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Another, A.J. Green, is coming off an impressive rookie season. Braylon Edwards has enjoyed sporadic success. The other two, Charles Rogers and Peter Warrick, fell far short of expectations.

Those seven players have combined for 12 Pro Bowl appearances (Fitzgerald 5, Johnson 5, Johnson 1, Edwards 1).

The next set of receivers, listed below, were drafted sixth to 15th overall. I selected that range because three NFC West teams -- the Rams, Seattle Seahawks (12th) and Arizona Cardinals (13th) -- hold picks in that area.

The 16 players listed in the second chart have combined for two Pro Bowls, one by Roy Williams and the other by Koren Robinson as a return specialist in Minnesota, long after Robinson had bombed as a receiver.

Receivers talented enough to command selection among the top few overall choices have fared better than the ones with enough question marks to push them down into the next tier.

That is something to consider when weighing how the Rams, Seahawks and Cardinals should use their first-round selections, even if the Rams did land Torry Holt with the sixth overall choice in 1999.
A few thoughts on Plaxico Burress' availability as NFC West teams consider potential options at wide receiver:

  • By my count, six current NFL receivers are older than Burress, who turns 34 in August: Terrell Owens (37), Derrick Mason (37), Donald Driver (36), Brian Finneran (35), Hines Ward (35) and Brandon Stokley (35 in June);
  • Thirty players have caught at least 50 passes in a season at age 34 or older, according to Pro Football Reference; Jerry Rice, Isaac Bruce and Bobby Engram accomplished the feat for current NFC West teams;
  • [+] EnlargePlaxico Burress
    Al Bello/Getty ImagesPlaxico Burress seems unlikely to end up in the NFC West.
  • Burress caught 35 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns over 10 games for the New York Giants in 2008, his last season before serving a jail term on a weapons charge; St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator that year, giving the NFC West one solid connection to Burress;
  • Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm and Ray Horton are among the Arizona Cardinals coaches who were with the Pittsburgh Steelers before Burress signed with the Giants in 2005, giving the NFC West another connection;
  • These types of connections can sometimes explain why teams do not pursue players; they know the bad as well as the good;
  • My initial feel is that Burress probably will not land in this division; Burress has played his entire career, from high school to the NFL, for teams in the East; I doubt he'll seek out a team in the West after spending two years away from his family;
  • Burress wore a Philadephia Phillies hat upon his release Monday, and the Eagles were the team considered most likely to sign him in a survey of bloggers;
  • The Rams' situation at receiver remains unsettled; bringing in Burress for a visit could make sense; the Cardinals' situation at receiver is more defined, and at least one Arizona-based reporter is saying there's no chance the Cardinals will sign him; I tend to agree and do not see the need, either;
  • Burress is five years older than any receiver on the Rams' roster and nine years older than the team's receivers on average, a potential consideration as the team decides how Burress would fit into the equation;
  • The Rams have previously resisted adding older receivers, passing on Owens and Moss over the last couple of seasons; Mark Clayton, who turns 29 in July, is the oldest receiver on the roster;
  • Seattle has been aggressive in considering unlikely options, making low-risk bets on Mike Williams, Reggie Williams, LenDale White and others; the team would ideally like to go with younger players at this stage;
  • Please let me know if you've seen anything, anywhere, suggesting the San Francisco 49ers would have interest; I do not see a great fit as the team establishes a new program under a first-year coach.

Would you want Burress on your favorite team?

Seattle releases Williams, sign 3 picks

June, 18, 2010
The Seahawks have released wide receiver Reggie Williams, a former top-10 overall draft pick.

The team also announced Friday it had released receiver Victor James.

The moves make roster room for the signings of rookie fourth-round choices Walter Thurmond and E.J. Wilson, plus fifth-round pick Kam Chancellor.

Seattle now has signed six of its nine draft picks.
The Seattle Seahawks have taken fliers on Reggie Williams, Mike Williams and LenDale White.

For a while, they were the only team publicly expressing interest in former Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall. They scooped up J.P. Losman as if to say, "Hey, why not?"

However, news that Atogwe has interest in Seattle doesn't mean the Seahawks have interest in him. The team has no plans to bring him in for a visit.

The fit in Seattle would seem questionable because the Seahawks have already invested heavily in rookie safety Earl Thomas, the 14th player chosen in the NFL draft. Atogwe, like Thomas, projects as a coverage safety. It's tough to envision the Seahawks investing significantly in two players at the same position.

Safeties can be somewhat interchangeable depending on scheme and Thomas has the ability to play cornerback if needed, but that hasn't been the plan so far this offseason.
Clare Farnsworth of says receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch got some work after resting injuries this offseason. Coach Pete Carroll: "This was an exciting day for us, to see T.J. get back on the field and Deion get back on the field and catch some balls. It’s been a long time since they’ve been out. With the rehab there’s the concern: Are they going to make it? Today, at the end of practice, it was great to see these guys get out and – with really good tempo – run some routes. Which means that they’re really on the mend and I wouldn’t be surprised if they can do some work next week."

Also from Farnsworth: an update on Leon Washington. Washington: "I’ve basically been in training camp since October, since I broke my leg. I’ve been in training mode, so I’m positive I can come back stronger than before. I’ve still got my fast-twitch muscles. I’m still out there cutting. I’m running straight ahead and getting pretty good speed. So from that point, I feel like I’ve still got it."

Rod Mar of offers photos from practice.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along Carroll's thoughts on Leroy Hill and the sanctions Carroll's former USC team incurred.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks receiver Reggie Williams has looked better in practice recently. Williams: "He had a couple, nice catches over the middle of the defense and said he’s getting more comfortable in Seattle’s offensive scheme."

Darren Urban of takes a position-by-position look at the Cardinals' projected starting offense. He's listing Tim Hightower ahead of Beanie Wells at running back. Urban: "Ahh, the most 'controversial' of the starting calls. Will I be shocked if Beanie Wells is starting in St. Louis? No. Could Hightower start Game One and then have Wells move in? Sure. Might they stay Hightower-Wells all season as last year? Yes. Have I mentioned before it doesn’t matter? I am feeling pretty good in saying Beanie will have more carries and be the leading rusher. The other details are window dressing." On the other hand, how many first-round draft choices meet expectations, as Wells has, without moving into the starting lineup? Seems like a natural next step.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says injured Rams guard Mark Setterstrom is getting a second medical opinion, common for players after serious injuries.

Also from Coats: Rams players discuss college conference realignment. Former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis on Nebraska joining the Big Ten: "The Big Ten has schools in a lot of states where they just love college sports. You look at Ohio. The Bengals and the Browns, (the fans) are kind of divided, but everyone loves Ohio State. (Pennsylvania), obviously everything there is all about Penn State. And you can say the same thing about Wisconsin. So I think Nebraska definitely fits in there."

More from Coats: a chat transcript in which he says there's nothing new with Oshiomogho Atogwe or Brian Westbrook, but he thinks Atogwe will re-sign with the Rams eventually.

Matt Maiocco of lists 49ers players who have come and gone this offseason.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers cornerback Nate Clements will attend the team's minicamp beginning Thursday after staying away previously this offseason. Shawntae Spencer and Manny Lawson also seem likely to attend. It's a mandatory camp, after all.

Also from Barrows: a quick look at Alex Smith's practice experience Tuesday.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers notes from 49ers practice. Josh Morgan caught six passes from Smith during the team period.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Karl Paymah has benefited from the absences of Clements and Spencer.

Seahawks liven up Pac-10 party

June, 1, 2010
Pete Carroll's Pac-10 reunion added another headliner Tuesday when the Seattle Seahawks claimed former University of Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback off waivers from the Patriots.

Stanback, a receiver in the NFL, gives the Seahawks 27 former Pac-10 players, easily an NFL high.

The move, reported by Mike Reiss of, marks the second time in a week the Seahawks and Patriots have claimed one another's players. New England claimed quarterback Mike Teel off waivers from the Seahawks last week.

Stanback adds to a large group of receivers for Seattle as the team tries to hit on players at the position. One of his former UW teammates, Reggie Williams, has yet to make an impact at the position in offseason practices for Seattle.
Travis from Portland writes: Patrick Willis can shut down Beanie Wells with one hand tied behind his back, so your article was really not the best player in the division, but the "easiest to claim I know is the best player because of accumulated numbers at the end of the season" award. Not a Niners homer, just a realist.

Mike Sando: Not so fast, Trevor. The item you're referencing listed Wells atop a list of five sleeper candidates for 2010 player of the year in the NFC West. Sleepers were defined as players who had never been to a Pro Bowl or had not been to one in recent years. The list included Wells, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Michael Crabtree and Matt Leinart.

Larry Fitzgerald and Frank Gore were my top two candidates overall, with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. casting a vote for Willis.

You are right about Willis being a dominant player, but Wells carried 15 times for 79 yards -- an average of 5.3 yards per attempt -- with one touchdown at Candlestick Park last season. This included a 24-yard run on third-and-1, followed later in the drive by a 1-yard scoring run.

I'm pretty sure Willis had both arms available on these plays. He's a great player, but Wells is an ascending one and someone even the best linebackers need to take seriously in 2010.

Brent from Montana writes: Sando, I asked you on a chat who you would take, Matt Leinart or Alex Smith. You said you would take Peyton Manning. Totally understandable. If you could only choose from the two given upside, age and experience, who would you take?

Mike Sando: Alex Smith. No one has ever questioned Smith's commitment to the game. Smith also played reasonably well last season. Leinart didn't play nearly as much. There are simply fewer questions regarding Smith than Leinart right now. Leinart can still have the better career, but if I had to choose one of them right now, Smith would get the call.

Will from Cincinnati writes: Hey Mike, love the blog. Quick question, though. The Rams are in need of a true No. 2 running back and if Bryan Westbrook doesn't work out, what are the chances of them getting a deal with LenDale White? He's not really a change-of-pace back like some suggest they need, but he certainly would hold up in protection with his size and that could prove to be more useful given a possible rookie quarterback. What are your thoughts/insights? Thanks. I appreciate your time.

Mike Sando: Very few moves should come as a surprise to those who have a feel for what teams are thinking. White's situation in Seattle stands out as one nobody read right. I had the wrong feel for how the Seahawks were going to handle him. I was blinded by the fact that White's weight was under control. The Seahawks' decision to release White after only five weeks does two things. One, it sends a strong message through the Seattle roster that Pete Carroll isn't going to give preferential treatment to players from his USC past. Two, it forces us to reevaluate White.

I'd stay away from White if I were the Rams. The potential four-game suspension diminishes White's value to the team even more. He's not the best fit, anyway, because he would provide no change-of-pace qualities, as you mentioned, and it's pretty clear he's a high-maintenance player. Teams can tolerate high-maintenance players who are also productive. I don't think White would offer enough at this point for the Rams to put up with the little things that drove away Seattle. The Rams are still in the early stages of building their team and it's important for them to have the right types of veteran players. White would not fit into the Fred Robbins/A.J. Feeley/Hank Fraley/Na'il Diggs mold. Too much baggage.

If I were the Rams, I would rather give Chris Ogbonnaya a chance than waste my time with White. Ogbonnaya showed some good things late last season. If White couldn't fit in Seattle with Carroll, where can he fit?

Cliff from Edmonds, Wash., writes: Sando! With the release of White, what are the odds Seattle tries to make a play for beast mode a.k.a. Marshawn Lynch? Or do you think he'd have the same bad attitude as White presumably had and we wouldn't want to risk a 2011 draft pick/Leroy Hill for him? I'm not a huge fan of Juilus Jones, but I like Justin Forsett and I think Washington will help things out, too. Adding Beast Mode would make our running back situation pretty solid. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear a piece from you about it. I feel the Bills' asking price was too high before the draft, but now I don't think they have a need for him and he obviously doesn't' want to be there. Thanks for reading.

Mike Sando: You're welcome. I would not rule out Lynch. The Seahawks have shown they're willing to throw players against the wall to see which ones stick. For example, Reggie Williams was busted for cocaine possession at one point and the Seahawks still gave him a tryout and signed him. Lynch is unhappy in Buffalo. No big deal by comparison.

I would not put White and Lynch in the same category. The book on White coming out of USC was that he had questionable work habits, wasn't a willing pass protector and didn't run tough enough for his size. The book on Lynch was that he was a very tough runner who would fight for extra yards, and that he caught the ball well enough to be a very good all-around back.

Seattle might be happy enough with its current backs to proceed without adding another veteran. Lynch would be intriguing, though, at least in part because he roomed with Forsett at California and Forsett, who shows a positive attitude while doing everything coaches ask of him, might help smooth Lynch's transition to the Northwest.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has exchanged text messages with guard Deuce Lutui, but Lutui has otherwise kept a low profile while staying away from team activities. Somers: "If Lutui is trying to force the Cardinals to trade him, it doesn't appear to be working. General manager Rod Graves said the team is not considering any offers for Lutui. Lutui has been a starter since midway through his rookie season in 2006. Reggie Wells is replacing him in the lineup with Alan Faneca playing left guard, Wells' former position." Somers says Lutui's agent recently visited from Hawaii -- ostensibly to meet with Lutui, but not with Graves.

Darren Urban of quotes Joey Porter as saying the Cardinals' strong veteran attendance at organized team activities should help Arizona build chemistry. Porter: "It helps the team in a season, as far as jelling and as far as coming out of the gates playing well. The more guys you have attending OTAs and minicamps, it’s going to make the team better. When I first started, it wasn’t really mandatory, so you’d have half the team there and half the team not, so you really didn’t know the veteran guys until training camp started. Now, it gives you more time to build the chemistry."

Matt Maiocco of says 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is getting more comfortable making protection calls. Also, Alex Boone is getting work at left tackle for the first time since joining the 49ers. Boone is in much better physical condition this offseason. I wonder if he might project as a swing tackle with continued development. Maiocco: "Niners fans might have a recurring nightmare of Smith scrambling to his right and throwing the ball out of bounds under pressure. Now we know what was happening. Smith was not comfortable with the team's protection packages, and often guessed wrong."

Also from Maiocco: David Baas gets some work at center after starting all 16 games at left guard last season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Michael Crabtree has looked "very sharp" at 49ers practices.

Also from Barrows: more evidence Smith is becoming assertive in some ways.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat hits on a familiar theme. Barber: "I know some of you are going to get tired of hearing this, especially in the absence of actual victories, but the 49ers are feeling great about going into the 2010 season with the same offensive system."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News details the 49ers' efforts to brighten the day for a young patient with terminal cancer. Linebacker Patrick Willis took the lead, but Mike Singletary and Smith were also involved. The boy's father said his son has been "bitter and very unhappy and has been very depressed and hopeless."

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers rookie Anthony Davis showed a good sense of humor after falling out of his seat during a post-practice interview.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times expects J.P. Losman to compete with third-team quarterback Mike Teel for a roster spot in Seattle. O'Neil: "The move doesn't reshape Seattle's offense. Losman will be competing to make the roster, but it shows Seattle is exploring many options to improve its depth. That's what led Seattle to claim (Mike) Reilly off waivers from St. Louis two weeks ago, taking a look at the undrafted free agent who had spent time with the Steelers, Packers and Rams in his first year out of school."

Clare Farnsworth of says superior route running is one reason Mike Williams leads Reggie Williams in the race to earn a roster spot at receiver for Seattle. Farnsworth: "But actually, it’s Mike Williams who has been answering this question since the Seahawks signed him and Reggie after their first minicamp. Mike and Reggie were Top 10 draft choices coming out of USC and Washington -- Mike the 10th overall pick in 2005 by the Detroit Lions and Reggie the ninth pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004. But neither played in the league last season. This isn’t just another chance for each; it’s likely their last chance. Mike has done a better job of grasping the situation to this point. He’s running better routes and, as a result, making more plays. There’s still plenty of time, but right now it’s up to Reggie to catch Mike."

The Associated Press says authorities in Georgia could move to revoke Leroy Hill's probation, which could lead to a 12-month jail term for the Seattle linebacker. Said a prosecutor: "If I had to say right now, we'd lean toward taking steps to revoke his probation."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who says this about his decision to have back surgery: "I decided to have the surgery because I was still in a gray area of needing the surgery or not going with the surgery. I met with three specialists. No one definitely said get surgery. But looking at the season and being able to fully recover from the injury ... April was kind of like the deadline so that I could have a full recovery in June and have six solid weeks to get ready for training camp."

Carroll hasn't really left the Pac-10

April, 30, 2010
The Seahawks have 26 players from Pac-10 schools on their roster heading into their post-draft minicamp.

The rest of the NFC West has a combined 25 players from the conference.

Seattle had more Pac-10 players than most teams even before the team hired Pete Carroll away from USC as head coach.

The numbers have only grown (and I have added the newly acquired LenDale White to Seattle's list).

Update: The team has re-signed safety Lawyer Milloy, formerly of the University of Washington. That makes the total 26.

A look at Pac-10 players from each NFC West team:

Arizona (7)

Quarterback Derek Anderson (Oregon State), quarterback Matt Leinart (USC), safety Matt Ware (UCLA), safety Hamza Abdullah (Washington State), tight end Jim Dray (Stanford), tight end Dominique Byrd (USC) and unsigned restricted free agent guard Deuce Lutui (USC).

St. Louis (7)

Quarterback A.J. Feeley (Oregon), receiver Brandon Gibson (Washington State), running back Steven Jackson (Oregon State), fullback Mike Karney (Arizona State), guard Mark Lewis (Oregon), receiver Jordan Kent (Oregon) and unsigned restricted free agent safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (Stanford).

San Francisco (11)

Safety Taylor Mays (USC), safety Dashon Goldson (Washington), cornerback Karl Paymah (Washington State), linebacker Keaton Kristick (Oregon State), guard Brian De La Puente (California), guard Chilo Rachal (USC), center Eric Heitmann (Stanford), tackle Adam Snyder (Oregon), receiver Kyle Williams (Arizona State), snapper Brian Jennings (Arizona State) and receiver Jason Hill (Washington State).

Seattle (26)

Linebacker Reggie Carter (UCLA), receiver Mike Williams (USC), cornerback Josh Pinkard (USC), receiver Reggie Williams (Washington), receiver Mike Hass (Oregon State), receiver Michael Jones (Arizona State), running back Justin Forsett (California), cornerback Marcus Trufant (Washington State), cornerback Walter Thurmond (Oregon), cornerback Roy Lewis (Washington), safety Will Harris (USC), running back Louis Rankin (Washington), fullback Ryan Powdrell (USC), linebacker Lofa Tatupu (USC), defensive end Dexter Davis (Arizona State), guard Max Unger (Oregon), center Jeff Byers (USC), guard Mike Gibson (California), receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Oregon State), tight end Anthony McCoy (USC), tight end Cameron Morrah (California), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (California), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (USC), LenDale White (USC), Lawyer Milloy (Washington) and defensive end Nick Reed (Oregon).
Golden Tate Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe Seahawks were afraid the Browns were going to draft Golden Tate at the end of the second round.
RENTON, Wash. -- Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate was falling the Seahawks' way in the second round Friday when the most successful coach in franchise history intervened.

Mike Holmgren, entering his first season as Browns president, leap-frogged his former team into the 59th overall choice, one spot ahead of Seattle.

"We were holding our breath for a minute," Seahawks scout Jason Barnes said afterward.

Tate wasn't for everyone. He's not a burner and some have compared him to a running back in body type, but the Seahawks thought he could become a Hines Ward-type talent in their offense (the Steelers found Ward in the third round of the 1998 draft). And they knew if their offensive coaches liked Tate, Holmgren might also like him for an offense with a shared West Coast ancestry.

"A lot of people compare him to Hines Ward," Barnes said, "which I can really see as far as his aggressive style of play and his strength and his feistiness."

There was some thought Holmgren might have been jumping ahead of Seattle to draft Colt McCoy, but he waited until the third round before taking the Texas quarterback. The Seahawks didn't envision drafting a quarterback in the first few rounds, explaining their decision to grab Charlie Whitehurst from the Chargers in a predraft trade. They weren't worried about McCoy. They wanted Tate to fill a need at receiver after watching Nate Burleson depart in free agency.

The Seahawks were desperate enough at the position to sign first-round busts Reggie Williams and Mike Williams before the draft.

Such was the state of the Seahawks' roster. The team couldn't help but fill immediate needs in this draft. Landing a left tackle was critical and Russell Okung, chosen sixth overall, was rated among the top two at the position in this draft. Getting help at safety was another must after Deon Grant's release left Seattle with only two on its roster. Earl Thomas, chosen 14th overall, should join Okung as an immediate starter.

Tate also should contribute right away -- on offense and in the return game.

The Seahawks are getting a superior all-around athlete. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Tate as an outfielder in 2007. He can make the tough catch downfield. But there were reasons he lasted until the second round.

"Tate comes from a pro-style offense and shouldn't take long to adapt," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "I think he has a rather low ceiling, though -- a No. 2 at best. He is somewhat stiff and sort of straight-linish. Not real elusive, but he plays fast, he plays hard, attacks the football."

Jeremy Green, also of Scouts Inc., agreed in part. "I think he has a little more wiggle with the ball in his hands, at least."

Tate had enough wiggle to avoid Mike Holmgren in the second round. For that, the Seahawks were grateful.

Seahawks land WR in Golden Tate

April, 23, 2010
Mike Holmgren and the Browns had to put a scare in Seattle when they jumped past the Seahawks into the 59th overall slot of the 2010 NFL draft.

The Browns took running back Montario Hardesty and I'm not sure if Seattle had any interest in him. The Seahawks then drafted Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate, a productive receiver whose size doesn't quite measure up to the Pete Carroll prototype.

Seattle went into the draft with 11 receivers on its roster, a high number. But the team still had needs at the position. Mike Williams and Reggie Williams are projects at this point. Deon Butler's role with the team seems to be in question, at least at this point.

Tate adds to the numbers and gives the offense a needed weapon.

Carroll certainly knows Tate's track record from his days coaching at USC. Tate could also fill a void in the return game.

Need for numbers: Seahawks

April, 20, 2010
The moves teams make before the draft can better define their needs during the draft. Once the draft is finished, we'll have a better idea which positions teams still might target by adding undrafted free agents.

I'll conclude with a look at positions where the Seahawks still need depth.

Seattle Seahawks

Signed players: 63

Unsigned restricted free agents: 1

Draft choices: 9

Signed player limit: 80

Note: Draft choices will not count against the 80-man roster limit until they sign, meaning Seattle could initially sign up to 16 undrafted free agents without exceeding the limit, assuming restricted free agent Chris Spencer signed. The Seahawks' roster count of 64 signed players and unsigned RFAs or franchise players ranks near the league average.

Positional thoughts: The secondary is where Seattle needs numbers most dramatically. The Seahawks are among four teams carrying fewer than nine defensive backs. Seattle has eight. This position was already an obvious need area, and it would remain so even if the Seahawks re-signed Lawyer Milloy, as expected. The lower overall numbers drive home the point.

Seattle has 10 offensive linemen after signing free agent Ben Hamilton from the Broncos. That number is on the low side relative to the league average (11.0). The Seahawks are among 10 NFL teams with fewer than 11 offensive linemen. It's obvious Seattle needs to draft a tackle at some point, and probably early enough to get a good one.

Seattle appears well-stocked at receiver, at least from a numbers standpoint. The team has 11 after signing Reggie Williams and Mike Williams. Only the Raiders have as many.