NFC West: Scott Peters

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Seahawks have 34 defensive players on their roster, fewest in the league and well below the NFL average (38.7). That was one of the things I noticed upon updating the 26-column NFC West rosters and comparing them to the rest of the league.

Download rosters here.

Seattle has nine linebackers. The average is 10.7. Seattle has 12 defensive backs. The average is 14.7. Perhaps the team will add players at these positions. Or perhaps the rest of the league will release players at these positions. Seattle is carrying 79 players on its roster, counting unsigned draft choices. The average is 85.2.

A few other roster-related notes from the NFC West:
  • The Rams have released defensive lineman Mike Newkirk and signed tackle Eric Young. They also brought in former Seahawks and Chiefs snapper J.P. Darche for a workout last week. Darche has been rehabbing the knee injury that sidelined him last season and precipitated his release from the Chiefs.
  • The 49ers released quarterback Kirby Freeman and signed two draft choices, fifth-rounder Scott McKillop and seventh-rounder Ricky Jean-Francois. They have five unsigned draft choices. Only the Saints have fewer (four).
  • The Seahawks have reached agreement with former Oklahoma State center David Washington, according to Danny O'Neil. I'll add Washington to the roster once he signs a contract.
  • The Cardinals still lead the NFL in most unrestricted free agents re-signed this offseason with seven: Kurt Warner, Brian St. Pierre, Bertrand Berry, Clark Haggans, Ralph Brown, Ben Graham and Elton Brown. Their unsigned UFAs: Guard Scott Peters and tight end Jerame Tuman.
  • Seattle has 36 of its own draft choices on its roster. All 36 are from BCS programs, most in the league and 11 above the league average.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Roster Category
Active Players
68 60 65 64
Franchise Players
1 0 1 1
UFA Offense
2 2 6 4
UFA Defense
1 5 1
UFA Specialists
0 0 0 1
UFA Re-signed
2 3 2
UFA Added
2 4 4 3
UFA Lost 5 7 3 7
Traded Away
0 0 0 1
Acquired by Trade
0 0 1 1
Net Gain/Loss
+5 -2

Tight end Sean Ryan's signing with Kansas City leaves the 49ers with three unrestricted free agents: Quarterback Jamie Martin, pass rusher Roderick Green and running back DeShaun Foster.

Consider that list an indication of how irrelevant unrestricted free agency becomes as the draft approaches.

A quick look at unsigned UFAs from each NFC West team:

Arizona (2): Guard Scott Peters and tight end Jerame Tuman.

San Francisco (3): Martin, Green and

St. Louis (11): Linebacker Gary Stills, receiver Dante' Hall, cornerback Ricky Manning, tackle Rob Petitti, running back Travis Minor, cornerback Jason Craft, cornerback Fakhir Brown, center Cory Withrow, tackle Anthony Davis, receiver Dane Looker, defensive tackle La'Roi Glover.

Seattle (6): Linebacker Wesly Mallard, guard Chris Gray, quarterback Charlie Frye, receiver Koren Robinson, center Steve McKinney, snapper Jeff Robinson.

I do not see priority free agents on those lists. Former Rams cornerbacks Manning, Craft and Brown could have some value, while Glover is expected to retire. Former Seahawks Koren Robinson and Jeff Robinson could conceivably help in a pinch, as could former Cardinals tight end Tuman. Green, the former 49er, has occasionally shown promise. Foster might be able to help on a limited basis.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Terrelle Smith's signing with the Lions after two seasons with the Cardinals comes as no surprise after Arizona signed free-agent fullback Dan Kreider.

The Lions announced Smith's signing. Smith, entering his 10th NFL season, visited the Lions earlier in the week.

With Smith off the market, only two of the Cardinals' unrestricted free agents remain unsigned: offensive lineman Scott Peters and tight end Jerame Tuman.

Cardinals Offensive Lineman
Age Status
Scott Peters
Mike Gandy
Ben Claxton
Reggie Wells
Elton Brown
Deuce Lutui
Lyle Sendlein
Levi Brown
Elliot Vallejo
Brandon Keith
Posted by's Mike Sando

Thanks to those who passed along notes about the Adam Caplan report Wednesday on the Cardinals adding nose tackle Rodney Leisle.

The team has also brought back one of its unrestricted free agents.

Guard Elton Brown, who has occasionally challenged Deuce Lutui for the starting job at right guard, has agreed to terms on a new contract.

The Cardinals now have nine offensive linemen. That's about how many offensive linemen teams tend to carry during the regular season.

Arizona will add to that total through the draft, presumably, and possibly through free agency, although the Cardinals haven't brought in free agents for visits during the first three weeks of the signing period. The team could always draft one or more linemen, then round out the group with undrafted free agents.

The Cardinals are relatively young on the line. They also have one of the better line coaches in the league in Russ Grimm. They could benefit from adding a center and possibly another prospect at tackle and/or guard.

Arizona Cardinals 2009 UFA Watch
Pos. Status
Kurt Warner
Brian St. Pierre
Clark Haggans
Ben Graham
Bryant McFadden
Jason Wright
Bertrand Berry
Terrelle Smith
Ralph Brown CB
Elton Brown
Scott Peters
Antonio Smith
J.J. Arrington
Monty Beisel
Eric Green
Posted by's Mike Sando

Kurt Warner and Karlos Dansby won't be leaving the Cardinals this offseason.

That means Arizona accomplished its two primary goals for the offseason, even if the Warner negotiations took a detour. (Dansby signed his one-year tender as a franchise player.)

The chart shows which unrestricted free agents the Cardinals have re-signed, added and lost since the signing period opened Feb. 27. We can also see which of their own free agents remain unsigned. I'll update the other NFC West teams as the day progresses.

Several Cardinals fans have expressed to me concern about possibly losing Bertrand Berry. Older veterans sometimes do wind up signing late. The Cardinals will also presumably look for pass rushers in the draft.

Arizona brought back Berry at a discounted price last season. He wound up playing more than Clark Haggans and nearly as much as Travis LaBoy.

Arizona did not "lose" Antonio Smith, J.J. Arrington, Monty Beisel and Eric Green so much as the Cardinals watched them leave. Yes, they would have liked to keep Smith, but they figured he wouldn't fit into their budget for the position.

Signing Bryant McFadden was a bonus. That move puts the Cardinals in position to field a strong secondary for years to come, health permitting.

Age before beauty: Cardinals free agents

February, 26, 2009
Arizona Cardinals 2009 UFA Candidates
Pos. Age
Kurt Warner QB 37.6
Ben Graham
P 35.3
Bertrand Berry
DE 33.5
Jerame Tuman
TE 32.9
Clark Haggans
LB 32.1
Terrelle Smith
FB 30.9
Monty Beisel
LB 30.5
Ralph Brown
CB 30.4
Scott Peters
Brian St. Pierre QB 29.2
Antonio Smith
DE 27.3
Eric Green
CB 26.9
Elton Brown
OL 26.7
J.J. Arrington
RB 26.0

Posted by's Mike Sando

Nine of the Cardinals' scheduled unrestricted free agents are at least 30 years old.

Only the Patriots (13) and Broncos (nine) have as many 30-plus players scheduled to hit the market when the signing period opens. The Rams and Seahawks are close behind with eight apiece. The 49ers have only three.

Antonio Smith is the Cardinals' only clearly ascending unrestricted free agent still in his 20s. The chart ranks the Cardinals' unrestricted free agents from oldest to youngest, with ages rounded down to the tenth.

J.J. Arrington can be an effective player in a change-of-pace role. The Cardinals liked what he brought to their four-receiver package at times last season, as detailed here.

Two players on the list started at least half the games last season: Kurt Warner and Smith.

12-game checkup painful for some

December, 4, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

As a followup to the item about injury situations that matter, here's a quick look at the players on injured reserve for each team in the NFC West:

Note that some players leave IR through injury settlements or waivers (the Cardinals' handling of center Al Johnson comes to mind). The players listed above remain on injured reserve.

I also went through and counted how many players for each team have started all 12 games for their teams this season. The counts:

  • 49ers: 11
  • Cardinals: 10
  • Seahawks: 6
  • Rams: 6
Kurt Warner is the only quarterback in the division to start every game for his team this season. The Cardinals have remained remarkably healthy in terms of not losing key players for extended periods. They have their share of players battling through injuries -- Mike Gandy on a bad ankle, Adrian Wilson with a bum shoulder -- but key players remain available.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Receiver Billy McMullen has joined nine other Seattle players on injured reserve as the Seahawks matched Baltimore for the most players on IR heading into Week 7.

Seattle's list features four receivers: McMullen, Logan Payne, Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu. All but Obomanu started a regular-season game for the Seahawks this season. Obomanu surely would have started had he not been injured during the exhibition season.

Also on IR for Seattle: guard Rob Sims, guard Chris Gray, long snapper Tyler Schmitt, tackle William Robinson, cornerback DeMichael Dizer and linebacker Wesly Mallard.

A quick look at IR lists for the other NFC West teams:

The Rams' IR list includes several players expected to contribute this season. McMichael was a big part of the offense. King was likely going to be the third corner. Manning was playing extensively after injuries sidelined King and Tye Hill. Setterstrom and Gorin comprised much of the team's depth on the offensive line.

Quick look at injured-reserve lists

September, 13, 2008
TeamNFC West player on injured reservePos.Starter
ARIAl JohnsonOLYes
ARIScott PetersOLNo
SEARob SimsOLYes
SEANate Burleson
SEAChris Gray
SEABen ObomanuWRNo
SEATyler SchmittLSNo
SEAWilliam RobinsonOLNo
SEAWesly MallardLBNo
SEADeMichael DizerCBNo
SFAlex SmithQBNo
SFJay MooreLBNo
SFDamane DuckettOLNo
STLJustin KingDBNo
STLMark SetterstromOLNo
STLBrandon GorinOLNo
STLRob PetittiOLNo

Posted by's Mike Sando

NFC West teams are carrying 17 players on injured reserve lists. That ranks tied for second with the AFC South by my count, trailing only the AFC North (23).

Seattle has eight players on IR, most in the league. This includes two players I had listed as starters, tied with Jacksonville for most in the league. The Jaguars lost both starting guards.

These figures count only players currently on IR lists. Teams have placed other players on IR, only to waive them once the players became healthy. Some teams have reached injury settlements with players, sparing those players from IR.

Arizona and San Francisco have remained quite healthy so far. The Rams lost key depth at cornerback and along the offensive line. The Seahawks have lost key depth at receiver and on the offensive line.

NFC West teams have no players on their physically unable to perform (PUP) lists. I'm counting 16 players on PUP across the league, including six in the AFC South.

Players on IR get paid. In most cases, they cannot return until the following season.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic provides an approximate Cardinals two-deep depth chart  based on observations from training camp. Note that Lyle Sendlein is the starting center, ahead of Pat Ross. A knee injury could keep regular starter Al Johnson out another month. Third-team center Scott Peters landed on injured reserve.

Also from Somers: He singles out Steve Breaston, Lance Long, Tim Hightower, Keilen Dykes and Jason Banks as Cardinals players to watch against the Saints Thursday night.

Also from Somers: Kurt Warner might not play for the Cardinals tonight because the staff doesn't want to risk his health behind the second-team offensive line. This is further confirmation of the Cardinals' depth problems up front. Also, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie probably starts at corner while Rod Hood recovers from a heel injury.

Mark Wahlstrom of the Cardinals Report files nine in-depth observations from Cardinals camp. This is good reading for those looking to get a feel for Arizona. He likes the tight ends more than I might have expected. That's a position to watch for the Cardinals this season.

Mark Heller of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are looking to cut down on penalties. Arizona finished last season with a league-high 137 penalties. Division-rival Seattle finished with a league-low 59 penalties. Also from Heller: Look for Antrel Rolle to return punts, perhaps against the Saints.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes the Seahawks' new facility, which features a 6,700-square-foot locker room. The previous locker room was 1,140 square feet, Farnsworth notes.  The waterfront facility will allow the team to deliver free agents by sea plane, something team president Tim Ruskell is already envisioning.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says the new facility helped Seattle land Julius Jones in free agency.

Thomas James Hurst of the Seattle Times offers up photos of the Seahawks' new facility. The second photo shows cornerback Derrick Johnson catching a pass with Lake Washington in the background. Danny O'Neil and Jose Romero tag-teamed the accompanying story, which features middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu referring to team owner Paul Allen on a first-name basis.

Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald describes Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren as a survivor, which beats the alternative. Johnson: "During his first few months in Seattle, Holmgren lost defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur to cancer. In 2002, his mother Barbara passed away. There was a cancer scare for wife Kathy, and assistant coach and close friend Ray Rhodes suffered a minor stroke."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has round-by-round coverage of the Rams-Titans fights during their joint practices. The only upset: Rams guard Jacob Bell, formerly of the Titans, didn't square off with Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. A scrape did break out one play after Rams coach Scott Linehan warned against fighting.

Also from Thomas: a wide-ranging chat on all things Rams. Thomas was ready when chat participant Curtis T., upset with Steven Jackson for holding out, calls the running back a "piece of trash" and asks if the Rams could trade him. Thomas: "Well, the problem is, the 'piece of trash' just may be the best player on the team." No question.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was there when Rams rookie Chris Long beat Titans guard Jake Scott on consecutive plays during one-on-one pass-rush drills. The Rams are increasingly pleased with Long's progress. Long definitely works at the game.

Also from Coats: a throw-away line about right tackle Alex Barron standing out in team and individual drills. I take that as a good sign for the Rams. Barron commits too many penalties and he isn't a dominant tackle, but getting him back on the right side full time has to help.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the precise breakdown on what the Rams are fining Steven Jackson for each day of camp he misses: $15,116. The total is $181,392, but we should expect Jackson to get that back, and then some, if he reaches agreement on a new deal. Coats says the offense has hit its stride and found its rhythm after a slow start to camp. That becomes much more sustainable with Jackson in the lineup.

Peter King of expects the Rams to reach agreement with Jackson by the middle of the month. Reasons King: "The team knows how important Jackson is to its offense, and I think the front office will crack the safe for him."

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers sizes up the quarterback situation for San Francisco. He thinks Alex Smith still has to be considered the favorite. The 49ers seem to be waiting for Smith to assert himself. Smith's laid-back personality might not lend itself to that approach. You don't get the feeling, ever, that Mike Nolan and Mike Martz are pulling for Smith. This is by design; they've gone out of their way to create a fair competition, accounting for every last snap. They want Smith to earn it, and so far that hasn't happened.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News thinks the league should standardize statkeeping for tackles. He points out that the 49ers' Patrick Willis supposedly collected 117 more tackles than the Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu last season. Gosselin is right. Statistics for tackles are a joke. He thinks the league should hire a former coach to chart tackles from every game every week. I respect the thoughts of anyone who includes the following sentence in a story about this subject: "The first time I put together a league-wide tackle chart in 1992, there were three teams that averaged better than two tackles per play."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' sketchy depth on the offensive line faces another test after a broken arm sidelined backup guard Carlton Medder. Starting center Al Johnson is already out until the regular season. Third-team center Scott Peters is finished for the season. The offensive line is one area where the Cardinals cannot afford injuries.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer singles out receiver Ben Obomanu as the Seahawks' offensive player of the day. This quote from Obomanu suggests he "gets" what needs to be done at the position: "If (Matt) Hasselbeck is not comfortable with how you're getting into your route and where you're going, you're not one of those guys he's going to call upon during the season. I think it was a pretty good day to be in the right spot and to make those catches." Obomanu appears to be taking the lead for that fourth receiver role. It's still early, of course, but this is a good sign for Obomanu.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Obomanu did enough in practice for coach Mike Holmgren to offer accolades during the session. Holmgren wasn't happy Monday when the defense dominated his offense. He always in a better mood when the offense does its part.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune breaks down the receivers in Seahawks camp, questioning Courtney Taylor's form on a dropped pass in the end zone. He also says Jordan Kent's footwork continues to improve.

Posted by's Mike Sando

MEQUON, Wis. -- Injury problems are severely hurting the Seahawks and Cardinals at center. The Rams are a bit unsettled there, too, as they wait to see how the battle between Richie Incognito and Brett Romberg settles out.

The 49ers' Eric Heitmann is easily the most proven center in the division. Smart veteran centers can be crucial in sorting out pre-snap assignment changes based on what they see from the defense. More pressure falls on the quarterback when the center isn't able to make adjustments on the fly. Here's a look at how the position shakes out in the division:

  • Seattle: The team still hasn't found a reliable replacement for Robbie Tobeck, who retired after the 2006 season. Chris Spencer has the talent, but injury problems are affecting the 2005 first-round pick. Spencer has had multiple shoulder surgeries. He's currently missing time with a back problem. Worse for Seattle, backup center Chris Gray also remains sidelined with back trouble. Backup guard Mansfield Wrotto, a fourth-round choice in 2007, is working with the starters in camp. The team expects Spencer to be ready for the season, but he needs reps.
  • Arizona: Al Johnson underwent knee surgery recently. He could be out until the first or second game of the regular season. Backup Lyle Sendlein has some experience, and line coach Russ Grimm should be able to make this work for the time being. But with third-string center Scott Peters possibly lost for the season, the Cardinals' margin for error is slim. The team lacked line depth even before Johnson went down.
  • St. Louis: Romberg is the incumbent, but the team is giving Incognito a chance to win the job in camp. If Romberg prevails, Incognito probably becomes the starting right guard. Mark Setterstrom is also in the mix at right guard. Former Cardinals backup center Nick Leckey is also in camp with the Rams.
  • San Francisco: Heitmann remains a steady, mostly durable starter for the 49ers. He suffered a broken leg late in the 2006 season, but came back to start every game in 2007. Teammates have voted him the 49ers' best lineman the last two seasons. Heitmann is a former starting guard. He made the full transition to center for the 2006 season.
The Rams are back on the practice field in another 45 minutes or so. I'll file some notes afterward.

Around the NFC West: QB confusion

August, 1, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee sorts through the quarterback situation with the 49ers. He struggles to see the logic in how the repetitions are distributed. Barrows: "Nolan said today that O'Sullivan has been in the quarterback competition all along. But because there aren't enough repetitions to go around in training camp, Smith and Hill have been getting all the snaps. Which is a little bit like saying there's a third-party candidate in this election, but there was no room to put him on the ballot."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat also tackles the 49ers' quarterback situation. Maiocco: "In all honesty, the offense could be further along with O'Sullivan at quarterback RIGHT NOW because he spent last season in the system. But the goal is to get the quarterback on the field who is going to be more productive during the regular season -- and not the first week of training camp."

Radio talker Rush Limbaugh confirms his interest in purchasing the Rams while acknowledging the team is not technically for sale. Limbaugh: "Look, of course I am serious. I have told people for many years I'd love to own or be a part of an ownership group of a National Football League team, and over the years I've gotten to know a whole lot of owners in the NFL. I've made no secret about it. So, sure. I can't believe the question."

Bob Baum of the Associated Press says Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart is trying to shake his party-boy image. The Leinart story angle -- specifically whether the photos of Leinart partying on his own time suggest he's not serious about his job -- strikes me as beyond overblown. Yes, image is important for a starting NFL quarterback. But it's not like someone snapped those photos the night before a game in Week 8. These were offseason pictures of Leinart enjoying himself. Big deal.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks center Chris Spencer is suffering from a sore back. Spencer did appear to wrench the back during the first practice. Spencer is also dealing with shoulder injuries.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shares a hilarious quote from Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, via fullback Leonard Weaver. Weaver was singing gospel songs during practice when Holmgren asked him to stop. Weaver: "I was back there singing a gospel song and he was like, 'Leonard, stop it. I don't want to feel good right now, I'm trying to be mean.'" Weaver is having a strong camp. Holmgren, who was with the 49ers for the Tom Rathman era, said Weaver is as talented as any fullback he has coached.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports on mounting injury concerns on the Cardinals' offensive line. That is one area Arizona cannot afford to take many hits. Third-team center Scott Peters left practice on a cart after injuring a knee. Starting center Al Johnson is already out with a knee injury, though the team thinks he'll be OK for the regular season. Somers also reports on contract offers to the team's assistant coaches.

Darren Urban of links to a YouTube video showing Anquan Boldin's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, hoping for a reconciliation between the team and his disgruntled client. Boldin has already said he plans to sign elsewhere once the final three years of his deal expire.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News reports on the 49ers' use of former White House press secretary Ari Fleisher to advise players on media relations. I applaud Brown's reference to Gore -- Frank, not Al -- early in the story. That was a must.

The Associated Press says former 49ers linebacker Derek Smith could start while Stephen Cooper serves a four-game suspension to open the season. The 49ers reaped salary-cap savings after parting with Smith this offseason. Smith, 33, had played the "Ted" linebacker position for the 49ers (the "Ted" does the dirty work, freeing up the "Mike" to tackle people and generally create mayhem). Jeff Ulbrich is the new "Ted" for San Francisco.

A rush at Cardinals camp

July, 27, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Cardinals have finished practicing in windy and mostly sunny conditions at Northern Arizona University.

Afterward, Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed autographs longer than anyone. Boldin might prefer signing a new contract at this point, but for now he's working under a deal with three years remaining. A strained hamstring kept him from practicing, but we did see Boldin participate in resistance jogging while a long rope tethered him to cornerback Marcus Brown, who is also injured.

Arizona's defensive speed, heightened as the players practiced without full pads, made life difficult for the passing game at times Sunday. The ball was on the ground quite a bit.

I watched the one-on-one pass-rush drills closely, taking notes as to which players appeared to win or lose each battle. My scorecard showed pass rusher Travis LaBoy winning all three of his matchups, two against undrafted rookie tackle Peter Clifford and one against undrafted rookie tackle Thaddeus Coleman. Coleman is 6-foot-8 and his height seems to work against him. Defenders maneuvered under him.

Veteran pass rusher Chike Okeafor unofficially went 2-2, beating starting right tackle Levi Brown and rookie seventh-round tackle Brandon Keith. Brown and Keith accounted for Okeafor's defeats. Line coach Russ Grimm was clearly pleased when Brown, his starting right tackle, locked out the smaller, quicker Okeafor in a rematch. Okeafor's spin move can be tough to handle.

I had second-round draft choice Calais Campbell at 1-1, both against veteran backup guard Scott Peters. I had a harder time determining a winner in three of Campbell's other matchups (two against backup tackle Elton Brown, one against undrafted free-agent guard Charlton Medder). Calais appeard to get too high on a spin move to the inside. Peters snatched him in mid-spin, putting an abrupt end to the matchup.

Peters dominated rookie fourth-round defensive end Kenny Iwebema in one matchup. Iwebema beat Peters another time. Iwebema also handled Coleman, getting under him. Starting left tackle Mike Gandy had the upper hand against veteran pass rusher Bert Berry, the only time I saw either starter participate in these drills. Tackle Elliot Vallejo won both of his matchups with veteran backup Joe Tafoya.

Defensive end Darnell Dockett and guard Deuce Lutui, both starters, collided in what was probably the most physical matchup. I wasn't sure if there was a winner, but the force of their impact made a distinct sound.



Sunday, 1/25