NFC West: Ronald Curry
I counted nine former NFC West players among the 60 chosen in the 2010 UFL draft Wednesday (story here).
Tony Parrish's love for the game might be admirable and it's his business how he wants to earn a living. As someone who admired his contributions to the 49ers years ago, though, I had a hard time picturing the former ball-hawking safety, out of the NFL since 2006, playing out his career with the Las Vegas Locomotives at age 34.
Parrish won a UFL championship with Las Vegas last season.
The chart breaks out UFL choices with NFC West ties. Former Cardinals coach Dennis Green is coaching the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Each team was allowed to protect 20 holdovers from last season heading into the 2010 draft.
The Rams were already rebuilding at the position after releasing Torry Holt as part of a youth movement and salary-cap adjustment. General manager Billy Devaney made a solid move in acquiring Laurent Robinson from the Falcons before the season. Robinson was the Rams' best receiver through the first two games, but a season-ending injury landed him on injured reserve. Starter Donnie Avery has hit stride recently after battling injuries most of the season. Brandon Gibson, a rookie acquired from Philadelphia in the Will Witherspoon trade, made strong contributions Sunday.
Burton had shown significant improvement in recent weeks. He ranks second to Avery in receptions among St. Louis' wide receivers. Running back Steven Jackson leads the team overall.
The Rams have had nine receivers on their 53-man roster this season: Gibson, Avery, Burton, Robinson, Danny Amendola, Ruvell Martin, Tim Carter, Nate Jones and Derek Stanley. Fifth-round choice Brooks Foster landed on injured reserve before the season. Ronald Curry was with the team in camp.
Avery, Gibson, Amendola and Martin remain. Sean Walker is on the practice squad. Chris Davis, Skyler Green, David Tyree, Larry Beavers, Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent have had tryouts with the team over the last two months.
Keeping Avery healthy is critical. Gibson will continue getting significant reps after catching seven passes for 93 yards against the Saints in Week 10.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Matt Hasselbeck is feeling better than he has felt in five weeks.
Also from Williams: "The Seahawks have to go back into the team’s collective memory banks to 2004 to find a win against a playoff team on the road, a Dec. 12 victory against Minnesota, and that came against an 8-8 Vikings team. Seattle would have to rewind even farther back -- to 2002 -- for a road win over a playoff team with a winning record. That came against a 9-6-1 Atlanta team, with Seattle earning a 30-24 overtime win against the Falcons in December of that year."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Marcus Trufant and Patrick Kerney are healthy heading into this game against the Cardinals. Said Larry Fitzgerald: "I love Marcus, man. I got a chance to really forge a great relationship with him a couple years back at the Pro Bowl. I relish the opportunity to go against a player of his caliber. He makes me a lot better player. This week is extremely stressful, getting prepared for him, and I know what he’s capable of .Just two years ago, he had what, three interceptions, one for atouchdown return? He’s a phenomenal talent. I know I’m going to have my hands full whenever I see him." Not that anyone stresses about matching up against Fitzgerald.
Also from Farnsworth: Josh Wilson is the Seahawks' man of the year. By all accounts, Wilson has matured significantly since his precocious rookie season.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks really do face a must-win situation in Week 10. O'Neil: "The next eight games will loom large in the evaluation of three of the very most important components of this franchise: coach, quarterback and architect, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell. The playoffs aren't going to be the only measuring stick used in the evaluation of those positions moving forward."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says the Seahawks rank 30th in rushing and are on pace for the worst rushing season in franchise history. Johns: "Only two Seahawks teams have ever averaged less than the current 3.5 yards per carry average, with the worst being a 3.3 figure in the 1984 season when star tailback Curt Warner blew out in his knee in the opening game and Chuck Knox wound up rotating Franco Harris, David Hughes, Eric Lane and Dan Doornink."
John Morgan of Field Gulls thinks a receiver screen could help Seattle against the Cardinals.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Sean Morey after the Cardinals receiver failed to report concussion symptoms a week ago. Morey: "I don't think it was a mistake (to play). My flu symptoms complicated the situation, and I felt if I could go out and play with better technique . . . limit the helmet-to-helmet contact, then I'd be able to play through it. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. Maybe it's a little bit of foolish pride on my part."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Seahawks' Aaron Curry and the Cardinals' Beanie Wells are among several NFL rookies making impacts in 2009.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com wonders if the Cardinals' 27-3 victory at Seattle will have a carryover effect into the rematch. Ken Whisenhunt: "I don’t think the first game has anything to do with this game. They are a different team now. They are healthier. They are playing well. We are playing pretty good football. It will be a good matchup."
Also from Urban: Will the Cardinals finall have to shake up their offensive line? Urban: "Deuce Lutui, left guard Reggie Wells, center Lyle Sendlein, right tackle Levi Brown and left tackle Mike Gandy make up the five who never fail to show. They also make up a line coming off arguably their best game of the season, after the Cards scored 41 points, rushed for 182 yards and had five touchdown passes. The streak is also in jeopardy, with Gandy having sat out the first two days of practice with a pelvic injury. If Gandy cannot play, veteran Jeremy Bridges would be put in at left tackle. Bridges can play anywhere but center, having started at right guard and right tackle in Carolina last season and having come into the NFL as a left tackle."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' receivers have struggled with dropped passes. Check out the comment someone left at the bottom of this entry: "What a suprise. Everyone said we had the worst receiving corps in the league and it looks like that is the case. I really thought Tim Carter and Ronald Curry were going to be able to carry this team. Too bad they are terrible. And too bad donnie avery is made of glass. But hey, we got Danny Amendola as our #1 WR." Zing!
Also from Thomas: The Rams have not exceeded 20 points in a game this season. The Saints are averaging nearly twice that many. Marc Bulger: "Drew (Brees) and his whole crew, they score so many points, and their offense is rolling so well, that we're going to have to keep up with them. I think it's one of those games where we know we're going to have to score more points."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams received a 24-hour blackout extension.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says fans in the Rams' market were upset when the local Fox affiliate cut away from Warner's masterpiece performance against the Bears in Week 9.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee isn't giving the 49ers much credit for their 10-6 victory over the Bears. Barrows: "The story of the game was not the 49ers but Jay Cutler, who threw five interceptions, some of them pretty terrible. The bottom line, however, is that the 49ers have snapped their losing streak and their playoff dreams are still alive. Here's some other food for thought: One of the theories as to why both teams played so poorly on offense is that they only had one real day -- Tuesday -- of practice in such a short week. If that's true than the converse also has to be true: The 49ers should be more fresh and more prepared for their Nov. 22 game against Green Bay."
Also from Barrows: "Relief" was what 49ers coach Mike Singletary felt after this one.
More from Barrows: The Bears tried to rough up Vernon Davis.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers knew they would get opportunities to intercept passes against Jay Cutler.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary was calm following the 49ers' victory.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers knew Cutler would be looking for Greg Olsen on the final play.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says the 49ers will be back at work Friday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams' depth on the offensive line might be better than anticipated for a team with a 5-27 record over the past two seasons.
The team is carrying 10 offensive linemen, one more than typical, while John Greco recovers from wrist surgery.
An 11th, Phil Trautwein, landed on the Browns' active roster when Cleveland claimed him off waivers. A 12th, Roy Schuening, signed with the Raiders' practice squad. Another, tackle Renardo Foster, would seem to be a candidate for catching on somewhere eventually.
I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.
The chart shows results for St. Louis.
Quarterback Brock Berlin signed to the Lions' practice squad after the Rams released him. Defensive lineman Ian Campbell briefly spent time on the Rams' practice squad before the team released him.
A few veterans -- running back Antonio Pittman, receiver Tim Carter, receiver Ronald Curry and special-teamer Todd Johnson -- remain available.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Biggest surprise: The Rams cut former special-teams captain Todd Johnson, a safety, and they also flushed out two veteran receivers they hoped would contribute, Ronald Curry and Tim Carter. Keeping rookie quarterback Keith Null over the more experienced Brock Berlin made sense because the Rams' top two quarterbacks, Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, have lots of seasoning. The biggest roster surprise came when the team traded 2006 first-round cornerback Tye Hill to the Falcons. Free-agent addition Quincy Butler stuck on the 53-man roster after a strong training camp and preseason. He looked better than Hill, frankly, and the Rams' new leadership wasn't afraid to part with symbols of past failures. Placing defensive tackle Adam Carriker on injured reserve cleared another spot.
No-brainers: The Rams also released linebacker K.C. Asiodu, defensive tackle Antwon Burton, tight end Eric Butler, defensive end Ian Campbell, linebacker Dominic Douglas, tackle Renardo Foster, fullback Jerome Johnson, center Tim Mattran, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, cornerback Cord Parks, running back Antonio Pittman, safety Mark Rubin, guard Roy Schuening, tackle Phil Trautwein and receiver Sean Walker.
What's next: The Rams still need to make one move by the 6 p.m. ET deadline for complying with the 53-man limit. With only four running backs on the roster, counting fullback Mike Karney, the team probably needs to seek help at the position. Backup Samkon Gado suffered injured ribs in the final exhibition game. The Rams lack quality depth and they are starting over. As a result, the team could pursue players released from other teams.
Update: The Rams placed defensive lineman Eric Moore on injured reserve to comply with the 53-man limit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
While receiver Ronald Curry's brief run with the Rams could be in jeopardy, the Seahawks plan to keep their entire 2009 draft class and veteran receiver Deion Branch, whose status was not in serious jeopardy.
A few of the Rams' cuts are also trickling out. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides this list: quarterback Brock Berlin, guard Roy Schuening, center Tim Mattran, offensive tackle Renardo Foster and fullback Jerome Johnson.
No surprises there. Keeping Berlin on the 53-man roster and signing Keith Null to the practice squad could have made sense, but with two experienced quarterbacks already on the roster, Null can become the developmental No. 3 passer without the team exposing him to waivers.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Among the things I'll want to see when the Rams conclude their exhibition season Thursday night against the Chiefs:
- Prominent holdovers. Parting with recent first-round cornerback Tye Hill had to put other disappointing high draft choices on notice. After pushing out aging vets a few months ago, the Rams have targeted young underachievers, including Brian Leonard, Joe Klopfenstein and Hill. If the Rams valued Hill only as much as they valued a 2010 seventh-round choice, how much do they value, say, Adam Carriker?
- Backup receivers. The final exhibition game often helps shake out the final one or two spots at receiver. That appears true for the Rams. They sounded high on veteran Tim Carter earlier in the offseason. They acquired Ronald Curry from the Lions. Neither seems to have made a strong impression. Where do they stand?
- Special teams. The Rams had some problems defending returns in their previous exhibition game. Punter Donnie Jones can help solve that with better punts. Still, lapses in coverage could raise red flags.
- Jason Smith. The No. 2 overall draft choice gets another chance to prove he belongs in the starting lineup for Week 1. He could play extensively at right tackle.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams' roster requires additional study after a thorough house-cleaning this offseason. With so many new faces, I feel less familiar with the Rams than with the other teams in the division. This initial look at the roster will hopefully help bring some focus.
Donnie Avery's injury and overall health concerns at receiver could influence how many players the Rams carry into the season at the position.
Marc Bulger's broken pinky shouldn't affect the roster as long as he recovers on schedule. Teams must reduce to 75 players by Sept. 1 and 53 players by Sept. 5. Those initial 53-man rosters sometimes change by Week 1 kickoffs. For that reason, I've been focusing on Week 1 rosters when setting baseline expectations for each position.
he chart provides a framework for how many players the Rams might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Seahawks.
Here's a quick look at which Rams players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:
|AP Photo/Jeff Roberson|
|St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo has taken control of the Rams' locker room.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Steve Spagnuolo has much to prove as a first-time NFL head coach.
Winning over the St. Louis Rams' locker room is no longer one of them.
"Just the way he came in and took control of this building was impressive," quarterback Marc Bulger said in lauding the way Spagnuolo "captivates the team and has everyone focused on one goal."
Players tend to say nice things about their bosses, or else, but Rams players aren't just paying lip service as they work through an unusually physical training camp complete with live tackling.
Steven Jackson, a harsh critic of Rams dysfunction under previous leadership, nearly interrupted an important family matter in Las Vegas just to attend a voluntary March practice (Spagnuolo ultimately told Jackson not to worry about it). If Jackson weren't buying into Spagnuolo, we'd know it.
While others used Memorial Day Weekend as a respite during the ever-shrinking NFL offseason, new Rams center Jason Brown rented a U-haul and made the 13-hour drive from North Carolina to St. Louis. It was about the only time Brown could make the move without jeopardizing his perfect attendance in the Rams' offseason program.
Franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe practiced with the team all offseason even though he remained unsigned until July, hoping to score a long-term deal.
"I thought he was very classy in the way (Atogwe) handled the franchise tag and I thank him almost every other day," Spagnuolo said. "That tells me a lot about him."
It might reveal plenty about Spagnuolo as well. The no-nonsense approach he adapted from mentors Tom Coughlin and Andy Reid has brought structure to a floundering organization. Brown, signed from the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, says he sees parallels to John Harbaugh.
Spagnuolo has gotten the Rams' attention and held it through the first two weeks of training camp. The vibe is unmistakably positive.
"The hiring of Coach Spagnuolo is definitely the biggest move this offseason, the right step for us," Bulger said. "You are either onboard or you are not. I respect that approach and I think everyone has bought into it."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Avery reported soreness in his foot Saturday, but never did the Rams expect to find an injury this significant. Avery apparently suffered it during the team's scrimmage Friday night.
The Rams have conducted a very physical camp, but none of their injuries appear related to live tackling. This is a very tough break for a rebuilding team without enough depth to compensate for injuries to certain positions, notably receiver.
With Avery out, the Rams might need to consider adding another veteran. Keenan Burton, Laurent Robinson, Ronald Curry, Tim Carter, Derek Stanley, Brooks Foster, Jarrett Byers and Sean Walker are the other receivers on the roster.
According to the Rams, the MRI showed more damage than the initial X-ray revealed.
Update: Upon reflection, I think the headline on this item is a little overly dramatic.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Almost no analysis of the Rams would be complete without a couple cheap shots -- or at least strongly worded critiques -- regarding their receivers.
Donnie Avery is having none of it. The Rams' second-year receiver offered the following scouting report over the phone following practice Wednesday (I asked him about five other receivers on the roster):
|Paul Spinelli/Getty Images|
|Donnie Avery caught 53 passes for 674 yards in his rookie season.|
- On Keenan Burton: "Great guy. Big, physical receiver. Fast. He got hurt a couple of games last season and was out for a while. He didn't catch as many balls as he wanted or as many as we wanted, but he still came in and made an impact when we needed him. He is a great possession receiver and fast. All the receivers we have can come in and make an impact as a deep threat."
- On Laurent Robinson: "He is extremely fast. Big, physical receiver. Reminds me a lot of Larry Fitzgerald. Smart. He knows how to get open. Route running and then physical ability [are strengths]."
- On Tim Carter: "Extremely fast. If you blink your eye, you won't know where he went. He's a slot guy. Really a deep threat."
- On Ronald Curry: "Big, physical receiver. Can easily take on any blocks, any safety. Great route runner."
- On Brooks Foster: "Good route runner. Still has a lot to learn, but he will make an impact."
Avery isn't hurting for confidence. Asked which NFC West cornerback gave him the most trouble last season, Avery wouldn't name one. "I don't want to give a single guy any credit," he said. "I don't want to make him feel special. If he did, it was probably luck."
A bit cocky? "Every wide receiver has to have confidence," Avery said, "or you are not going to get far."
Avery caught 53 passes for 674 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie last season. The highlight, in my view, was the clutch deep pass he caught to help beat the Redskins at FedEx Field.
Thanks to those who responded to my recent Facebook request for questions to ask Avery. I used several of them. Here is the transcript:
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports sees Anquan Boldin's extended post-practice autograph sessions as an attempt to reconnect with fans and repair a damaged image. Boldin: "You're either way too happy about what you're doing or upset. To me, it's better to be happy about it. In a couple of years, when my contract comes up, we'll see. If they want me back and we can work something out, great. If not, I'll move on. That's the way it goes."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Larry Fitzgerald has emerged as a Cardinals leader. The way former offensive coordinator Todd Haley challenged Fitzgerald at camp one year ago resonated with the star receiver. Haley mocked Fitzgerald as a "one-trick pony" who needed to diversify his game. Fitzgerald responded in a big way.
Also from Somers: Steve Breaston appears to be the preferred choice for Arizona as a punt and kick returner. Catching the ball is the most important task for any returner. Breaston did that better than anyone in the practices I watched.
More from Somers: Early Doucet could miss about one week after suffering a sprained shoulder in practice. That means the injury isn't serious, but Doucet missing even a week could prove costly for him as he tries to earn a spot in the receiving rotation.
More yet from Somers: an unofficial Cardinals depth chart.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says safety Antrel Rolle, a playmaker with the ball in his hands, would welcome a chance to return punts.
Also from Urban: thoughts from Clark Haggans and Bertrand Berry on the art of the pass rush.
More from Urban: Darnell Dockett prefers "nine-oh" as a nickname.Kevin McGuire of KTAR.com says the Cardinals are fighting through injuries early in camp.
Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post checks in with Broncos defensive coordinator and former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan. The Broncos, Rams and Lions are the only teams to have surrendered at least 400 points in each of the past three seasons.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury-News says Nolan answered only one 49ers-related question before a Broncos public relations staffer ended the interview. On facing the 49ers during the exhibition season: "Um, it will different. A couple of my children still live out there so I'm looking forward to that. As you all know when you have a job, it's all about relationships and people. So if there's anything I miss at all it's the relationships with some of the people. But I'll see them in good time."
Also from Brown: checking in with 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary challenged leaders to emerge from the offense. Singletary: "I'm challenging them every day. Until it becomes theirs, it doesn't matter. Nothing really matters until it becomes their team, their scheme, their offensive, their defense. When that happens, it becomes special." Left tackle Joe Staley says he expects to be a leader.
Also from Maiocco: New 49ers tackle Marvel Smith isn't used to competing for a starting job in camp. He must beat out Adam Snyder to earn a spot in the lineup at right tackle. Maiocco: "The 49ers are being cautious with Smith. He did not work with the team during 11-on-11 work in the offseason program. He has also not taken part in coach Singletary's 'nutcracker' drills during training camp. Smith was held out of Monday afternoon's practice."
More from Maiocco: The 49ers' quarterbacks fared well in practice Monday. Also, Glen Coffee showed good hands out of the backfield. I thought so, too.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers coach Mike Singletary ordered tight end Vernon Davis to take a break from nutcracker drills Monday.
Also from Crumpacker: 49ers running back Frank Gore isn't shying away from work at training camp. He says he wants more reps to gain additional confidence in his line.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers fullback Brit Miller, who went to Panthers camp as a linebacker earlier this offseason. Barrows: "The 243-pound Miller is one of four fullbacks in training camp who are competing for perhaps two roster spots. One of them promises to go to Michael Robinson, a jack-of-all-trades type of runner who has received the most first-team snaps early in training camp. Robinson said he's been asked to do more lead blocking this offseason than he's done in the past."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com passes along a funny story about defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga "borrowing" defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's sunglasses. Manusky had no idea where they had gone and became frustrated until Sopoaga let him in on the joke. Price: "When the team huddled up to break for individual drills, Sopoaga ran over to Manusky while wearing the glasses. At that moment everyone on the sideline began laughing."
The 49ers' Web site checks in with return specialist Allen Rossum, who counts his computer among his most cherished camp possessions. It allows him to use iChat for staying in touch with his children.
Also from 49ers.com: a look at the receiver position, minus any mention of that guy the team drafted from Texas Tech.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Jerome Johnson, an undrafted free agent from Nevada, has impressed as a fullback at Rams camp. The team could save a spot for him on the practice squad if there's not room on the 53-man roster behind starter Mike Karney.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says new Rams receiver Ronald Curry is finding his bearings while playing for his third team in the last five months. Curry didn't like the way the Raiders "jerked" him around last season.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa dropped by Rams practice. Also, first-round choice Jason Smith is showing good technique and quick feet.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Rams defensive end Leonard Little expects to be an every-down player. Can Little hold up physically as such? Little hasn't played more than one-third of the Rams' total defensive snaps since the 2006 season.
VanRam of Turf Show Times says the Rams' defensive line is looking good in camp.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says Little is embracing a leadership role.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson picked off two passes during the Monday night practice. This was the most physical session of camp to this point, with coach Jim Mora reminding backup Michael Bennett of the difference between tackling and "thud" work.
Also from Williams: The Seahawks welcomed fans to practice.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks will rely more heavily upon running back T.J. Duckett this season. Boling: "So, fans, you'll see a lot more of T.J. Duckett. And I'd wager you'll like what you see out of a humble player, one eager to play whatever role will best suit the team, and a man who is focused on community involvement and the fight against cancer -- the disease that took his mother nine years ago."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Lofa Tatupu stood out during pass-rush drills during the Seahawks' night practice. On offense, the team entertained fans with a few trick plays.
Also from O'Neil: T.J. Houshmandzadeh brings high expectations to Seattle. Houshmandzadeh: "I feel like this should be my best season as far as yards and touchdowns, give or take one or two." Making such declarations before the season puts pressure on the Seahawks to get him the football. They plan to do that anyway, I'm sure, but Houshmandzadeh isn't taking any chances.
More from O'Neil: what Aaron Curry's absence from Seahawks camp means.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says new Seahawks defensive lineman Cory Redding calls himself a "man's man" for whom his word means everything. Brewer: "Redding must show that he's fully recovered from a right knee surgery that kept him off the field for seven months. Just as critical, however, is that he must move past the embarrassment of finishing 0-16 in Detroit last season. Go back to the final eight games of the 2007 campaign, and the Lions are 1-23 over the last season and a half. Those struggles began just months after Redding signed what was then the richest contract ever for a defensive tackle, a seven-year, $49 million deal that included $16 million guaranteed."
John Morgan of Field Gulls explains why he thinks the Seahawks moved Rob Sims back to left guard after Mike Wahle's injury-induced retirement.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Brandon Mebane was working out with a trainer during Seahawks practice while recovering from a knee bruise.
Also from Boyle: Justin Forsett is thankful to be in an NFL camp after becoming accustomed to hearing about how he wasn't big enough.
More from Boyle: Seahawks players interact with fans. A photo shows Houshmandzadeh signing one fan's shaved head.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary knows about missing camp during a contract dispute. He did it as a player -- twice. Singletary also ruled out any chance of the 49ers signing Michael Vick.
49ers.com provides a transcript of the answers Singletary gave to reporters' questions.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides lots of 49ers notes before concluding that the third day of training camp should be pivotal in finding out which players are tough enough to handle Singletary's regimen. Good to know. I'll be there that day.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in with players as they report for training camp. Facility upgrades mean changes to the locker room. Shaun Hill had some fun with it: "Frank Gore has one of the messiest lockers in the history of lockers. So, I'm a little bit excited that I'm no longer next to Frank. But I did move one locker closer to Alex [Smith] and he has the second-messiest locker in the locker room. It is a little bit of an upgrade ... but not much."
David Fucillo of Niners Nation breaks out the dictionary to determine whether 49ers rookie receiver Michael Crabtree is holding out. I think the term is misapplied to unsigned players. We assume both sides have made contract proposals. Either side could end the stalemate by agreeing to the other side's proposal. Does anyone accuse the team of holding out? Exactly. The term is a loaded one.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo decided to hold training camp at the team's facility with an eye toward the fans. Coats: "Spagnuolo 'had the option' for the location of the Rams' camp, GM Billy Devaney said Tuesday. 'And he said, 'You know what? We need to reconnect. I understand that part of the problem around here was not connecting with the fans. At least this year for sure, we've got to stay here.' And I know it kind of went against what he's used to doing. But he gave the fan part of it a lot of importance. And that was his call. If he'd have said, 'I want to go some place [out of town],' we'd have found some place."
Also from Coats: The Rams' situation at wide receiver is wide open. Hard to imagine they'll face Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce as opponents this season.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running backs coach Sylvester Croom. Thomas: "During Croom's four-year stint as offensive coordinator in Detroit (1997-2000), the Lions earned two playoff berths and had some of the league's most productive offenses with Barry Sanders at running back (until Sanders abruptly retired before the '99 season), and Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton at wide receiver."
Also from Thomas: Rams-related thoughts during his weekly chat. Thomas: "Even with the addition of [Ronald] Curry, I think the WR position remains the biggest question mark on the team. And I seriously wonder if the Rams are even close to having enough at the position to keep defenses honest. Yes, I realize that the return to health of TE Randy McMichael helps, and that Steven Jackson is a good pass-catching at RB. But has [Donnie] Avery shown you enough to convince you that he's a legit No. 1 wideout? Can [Keenan] Burton stay healthy enough to develop into a consistent pass-catcher? Will Curry and [Laurent] Robinson show up when it counts? There are a lot of questions about this group."
VanRam of Turf Show Times suggests best- and worst-case scenarios for the Rams' offensive line. Wait, I thought the worst-case scenario was last season. Or was it 2007?
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com offers 10 tips for fans visiting Rams training camp. Klutsarits: "If you go to training camp and watch nothing else, I ask you to please watch the one-on-one pass blocking drills between the offensive and defensive lineman. That is by far the most interesting and intense work you will see during an NFL practice." Agreed.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals received their NFC championship rings Tuesday. Meanwhile, negotiations with first-round choice Beanie Wells are expected to continue Wednesday.
Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' secondary. Somers: "The real competition will come for the backup jobs. Rashad Johnson, a third-round pick, is going to make the team. He was drafted out of Alabama because he excelled at playing the ball and creating turnovers. Aaron Francisco and Matt Ware return. Both are solid special teams players, especially Francisco. But Francisco is due to make $1.25 million in 2009, so that could be a factor if cap space becomes a concern. It would be hard to part with Francisco, however, because of his special teams prowess."
More from Somers: Ken Whisenhunt's mindset coming off a Super Bowl defeat.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind projects locks and bubble players on the Cardinals' 53-man roster. Hard to believe Mike Gandy qualifies as a bubble player, but you never know.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com offers a tentative Seahawks depth chart heading into training camp. Look for Max Unger to rise from his third-string listing.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune suggests the Seahawks do not necessarily need a highly ranked running game to succeed. The Cardinals, though ranked 32nd in regular-season rushing yards, use
d the running game more effectively during their Super Bowl run.
Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck paid tribute to longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson with this message via Twitter: "Jim Johnson -- one of the best Def Coordinators of all time. Ask any QB."
Mike Parker of Seahawk Addicts says Kelly Jennings must prove he belongs in the Seahawks' secondary.Adam Caplan of scout.com says the Seahawks worked out veteran offensive linemen Cory Withrow and Grey Ruegamer.
John Morgan of Field Gulls assesses the injury situation on the Seahawks' offensive line. I'll have a few more thoughts injury-wise as the day progresses.
Also from Morgan: thoughts on what those offensive line workouts might mean. Might the Seahawks need insurance at center? They might if they weren't sure Unger would sign in time for camp, or if they thought an injury might sideline another player.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat answers 10 questions regarding the 49ers heading into the upcoming season. Why didn't the 49ers acquire more pass-rush help? Maiocco: "The 49ers are confident outside linebacker Manny Lawson will provide a significant upgrade over Roderick Green and Tully Banta-Cain. Although the 49ers selected Lawson in the first round of the 2006 draft because of the pass-rush skills he demonstrated at North Carolina State, he has never been used in that capacity in the NFL."
Maiocco audio: He talks 49ers with KNBR.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee asks and answers five 49ers-related questions heading into camp. Barrows: "[Offensive coordinator Jimmy] Raye will try to figure out the type of plays at which [Vernon] Davis excels and then work them into the offense."
Gary Plummer of 49ers.com revisits Patrick Willis' interception return for a touchdown at Seattle last season, one of the most impressive plays you'll see from an NFL linebacker.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation asks which center was the best in team history. I'm sure lots of people remember Forrest Blue.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have made progress toward a contract agreement with second-round choice Cody Brown.
Also from Somers: Five questions facing the Cardinals heading into camp. Can they generate sufficient pass rush?
Somers audio: He talks Cardinals with footballguys.com.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com raises Somers another five questions, noting that tight end is "easily the most wide-open" position on the team.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune runs the Seahawks' practice schedule for training camp.
John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits Matt Hasselbeck's 2008 season. He thinks the Seahawks have armed Hasselbeck with the best group of receivers the quarterback has enjoyed. That is undoubtedly true when counting tight end John Carlson among the group.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Rams executive Kevin Demoff as saying he expects the team's top two draft choices signed in time for training camp.
VanRam of Turf Show Times considers best- and worst-case scenarios for the Rams' receivers. His conclusion: "I think the cries of doom for the Rams' receivers are a little overblown. However, the injury concerns are too prevalent with this group to assume the team won't deal with it at some point during the year. I think as long as the Rams have [Donnie] Avery and some combination of [Ronald] Curry/[Keenan] Burton and another decent option at #3, they'll be alright. Alright, mostly because Steven Jackson and Randy McMichael figure heavily into the passing game, and if the receivers turn out to be no better than concerns for opposing defenses [as opposed to a serious threat] the offense will be able to compete."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams certainly never set out to amass 13 seventh-round draft choices, three more than any other team in the league. It just worked out that way.
Ronald Curry, a seventh-round choice of the Raiders in 2002, became the lucky 13th when St. Louis acquired him from the Lions by trade Wednesday.
Rosters are at their fattest this time of year, so the total will certainly shrink.
The Rams' failure in the early rounds of past drafts -- before the current regime took over -- has probably left more room for later-round players.
Billy Bajema's addition could help cost 2006 second-rounder Joe Klopfenstein a roster spot. At linebacker, the Rams have parted with 2003 second-rounder Pisa Tinoisamoa, 2004 fourth-rounder Brandon Chillar and 2006 third-rounder Jon Alston, creating room for seventh-rounders David Vobora and Chris Chamberlain. At running back, the Rams practically gave
away 2007 second-rounder Brian Leonard, making it more likely for seventh-rounder Chris Ogbonnaya to stick.