NFC West: Thaddeus Lewis

Tough to learn from Rams' predicament

December, 18, 2011
The St. Louis Rams' injury situation should, in theory, clear the way for the team to evaluate young depth against Cincinnati in Week 15.

That will happen at defensive end, where rookie Robert Quinn is getting the start over injured and inactive veteran James Hall. Quinn has shown flashes of ability as a situational player this season. Taking a longer look at him across additional situations will help.

But in too many other cases, the Rams are playing out the season without learning much about the future. Injuries are one reason. Not having enough young depth is another reason.

Sam Bradford is inactive against the Bengals, but replacement Kellen Clemens is a stopgap, not a developmental player. The team had hoped to keep Thaddeus Lewis on is practice squad coming out camp, but Lewis signed with Cleveland. And without a regular offseason, the team decided to stick with veteran A.J. Feeley as its backup even though Feeley, now injured, did not know the new offense.

Left tackle Rodger Saffold is also out. His replacement Sunday, Adam Goldberg, is 31 years old. The team knows he projects as a backup guard and tackle. He isn't going to develop into more than that.

The team has suffered too many injuries at cornerback to even consider developing young players at that position. With Justin King out Sunday, Rod Hood gets the start. Hood is 30 years old and still coming back from a career-threatening knee injury. He did not play in 2010.

Some of the players St. Louis wanted to develop this season -- tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, receiver Greg Salas and tackle Jason Smith -- are on injured reserve.

As a result, the Rams are largely just playing out the final three games.

Why Rams are rethinking QB approach

September, 12, 2011
The St. Louis Rams could be in the market for quarterback help after injuries sidelined starter Sam Bradford and their emergency option at the position, receiver Danny Amendola, in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Bradford expects to play in Week 2 despite a bruised finger on his throwing hand. Amendola will miss at least one game and possibly quite a few more depending on whether his dislocated elbow requires surgery.

These dynamics came to mind during early games Sunday.

Fewer teams kept three true quarterbacks active after rules changes revoked special game-day roster designations for No. 3 quarterbacks. The Rams were already among the teams keeping only two quarterbacks on their roster.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo, speaking with reporters Monday, called Sunday a "learning experience" and something that could require the team to adjust its approach.

"You’re relying on a positional player to be your third quarterback, and the positional player is out there playing, so if he gets hurt, you could end up in the situation we were in," Spagnuolo said. "I’m not sure how we’ll handle it going forward."

Bradford took every snap from center during the 2010 season, so there was little reason to think the team would need an additional quarterback on the roster. The Rams had hoped to sign Thaddeus Lewis to their practice squad, but the Cleveland Browns claimed him off waivers following the mandatory reduction from 80- to 53-man rosters.

Had there been no lockout, the Rams would have had more time to consider their options behind Bradford. They like A.J. Feeley, but they also asked him to take a pay cut before the season, ESPN's John Clayton reported Monday. Feeley was a better fit when the Rams were running the offense former coordinator Pat Shurmur brought from Philadelphia, where Feeley had played previously. That offense bears little resemblance to the one new coordinator Josh McDaniels is running.

Around the NFC West: Towering CB

September, 5, 2011
Greg Toler, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nate Clements and Kelly Jennings were among the starting cornerbacks for NFC West teams in Week 17 last season.

Only Toler remains with his team from that group, and he's on injured reserve. Another Week 17 starter at corner, Shawntae Spencer, has missed extensive time to injury.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times checks in with one of the NFC West cornerback replacements, and an improbable one at that: 6-foot-4 CFL alum Brandon Browner, the favorite to start opposite Marcus Trufant when the Seattle Seahawks visit the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Kelley: "Watch him in practice or preseason this summer and you had to wonder how so many teams could have been so wrong about him. In a league where wide receivers are getting taller, Browner, at 6 feet 4, 225 pounds, seems like a natural. But in the past five years he had auditioned for Miami, Philadelphia, Minnesota and the Seahawks and never gotten a call back."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides an interview transcript from his meeting with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Carroll on why he named Tarvaris Jackson the starting quarterback outright: "Our commitment to Tarvaris is really a commitment to the execution of a really good plan, and to put a team together in very short order. And because of the coaching shifts there are things that made that come to the surface. … I think it’s the best competitive thing we can do for our club to make him the quarterback right now, and not worry about an open competition and dividing reps and stuff. There’s just no time. … It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the team or our fans -- everybody that’s following us. … And I love what Tarvaris can do. I think he’s a fantastic player. I’m just hoping that we can support him properly and play good around him so he can get rolling for us, and that hasn’t quite happened yet."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic profiles new Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb. Guard Rex Hadnot played with Kolb in college and had this to say: "I couldn't tell you what it is about him. His parents have instilled something in him for him to be able to come into a situation, adapt and achieve great success. When I heard about the acquisition, I was excited."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals are expected to announce Chester Taylor's addition Monday.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says veteran guard Hank Fraley is out after the Rams reached a contract agreement with Tony Wragge. Thomas: "Fraley, 33, was due to make $1 million in base salary this season. He appeared in seven games last season, mainly on special teams."

Also from Thomas: NFL teams made waiver claims on Rams castoffs, an indication the talent level is improving in St. Louis. The team hoped to sign quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to its practice squad, but former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur knew about Lewis and claimed him for the Browns. Rams general manager Billy Devaney: "We were hoping he wasn't claimed, but we fully understood that he played good enough in the preseason where I know he opened some people's eyes. And Pat's certainly familiar with him in Cleveland."

Matt Maiocco of says the NFL has not decided whether to suspend 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards, who pleaded guilty to DUI.

Also from Maiocco: It's looking like the 49ers will sign inside linebacker Tavares Gooden, released by the Ravens. Gooden was a third-round choice in 2008. Would his coach with the Ravens, John Harbaugh, provide a scouting report to his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh?

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee highlights stark differences between current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and former coach Mike Singletary. Singletary was all about the big picture. Harbaugh is all about the little things. The team hasn't even used the giant hill Singletary had built for conditioning drills. Noted: Head coaches set the tone, obviously, but details surely mattered to Singletary as well. He just didn't want to be the one in charge of them. There's a different feel and standard when the head coach is involved at the most detailed level.

Also from Barrows: updates the 49ers' practice squad signings.
The following recently released and waived/injured NFC West players are eligible for practice squads if they clear waivers:
Arizona Cardinals

Jared Campbell, Marshay Green, Sean Jeffcoat, Ricky Lumpkin, Jeremy Navarre, Aaron Nichols, Bryant Nnabuife, Kris O'Dowd, Tom Pestock, William Powell, Steve Skelton, Kendall Smith, Thad Turner, Isaiah Williams, D.J. Young.

St. Louis Rams

Damario Ambrose, Tim Atchison, DeMarco Cosby, Tae Evans, Marlon Favorite, Pete Fleps, Cody Habben, John Henderson, Kevin Hughes, Randall Hunt, Thaddeus Lewis, Greg Mathews, Jeremy McGee, Ryan McKee, Jonathan Nelson, Fendi Onobun, Chase Reynolds, Van Stumon.

San Francisco 49ers

Chase Beeler, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Brian Bulcke, Jack Corcoran, Phillip Davis, Derek Hall, Joe Hastings, Chris Hogan, Ronald Johnson, Alex Joseph, Chris Maragos, Cory Nelms, Xavier Omon, Konrad Reuland, Kenny Rowe, Sealver Siliga, Monte Simmons, Curtis Taylor, Kenny Wiggins.

Seattle Seahawks

Pierre Allen, Dorson Boyce, Chris Carter, Paul Fanaika, Maurice Fountain, David Howard, Michael Johnson, Jameson Konz, Mark LeGree, Ricardo Lockette, Michael Morgan, Josh Pinkard, William Robinson, Owen Spencer, Vai Taua, Patrick Williams.

A few younger players are not eligible, including former St. Louis Rams receiver Mardy Gilyard, who spent 11 games on the game-day roster last season. Players with no accrued seasons or fewer than nine appearances on game-day rosters in their only accrued season are among those eligible. Players can spend a third season on a team's practice squad as long as their team keeps its 53-man roster full at all times.

Three things revisited: Rams-Jaguars

September, 1, 2011
Looking back on three things discussed here before the St. Louis Rams' preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night:

1. Sims-Walker homecoming: There was one point in the first half when receiver Mike Sims-Walker's maneuvering before the snap suggested quarterback Sam Bradford might be coming his way with the football. It did not happen. Bradford attempted 11 passes, but none for Sims-Walker, who was returning to the stadium he called home for the previous three seasons. It's tough to fault Bradford for ignoring Sims-Walker. He was too busy finding a wide-open Lance Kendricks for 17 yards on third-and-4, 12 yards on first-and-10 and 44-yards on a third-and-1. Who needs wide receivers? Kendricks, the Rams' rookie tight end and second-round draft choice, caught a scoring pass in three of the team's four exhibition games.

2. Robert Quinn's development. George Selvie was the first defensive end off the bench after the Rams' starting right defensive end, James Hall, left the game with a back injury. Hall's injury was not thought to be serious. He was dominating to that point in the game, but he collided awkwardly with fellow defensive end Chris Long when the two met at the quarterback. Quinn, the Rams' first-round pick, entered the game with the other backups a bit later. He got close to the quarterback a couple times, but didn't make an obvious impact.

3. Pass protection. The Jaguars entered this game with no sacks during the exhibition season. The streak ended when they brought down Rams third-stringer Thaddeus Lewis. Bradford took a couple hits, including a late helmet-to-helmet shot that drew a penalty. Bradford held up well and appeared to come out of the preseason healthy. He completed 7 of 11 passes for 133 yards, one score and a 135.8 rating. The pass protection was good overall. The Rams did a good job beating pressure with screens.

Note: I posted this during the fourth quarter of the game, with the Rams leading, 21-10. Games involving the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals were just beginning.

Eleven NFC West quarterbacks in focus

August, 16, 2011
The San Francisco 49ers were the only NFC West team to play just two quarterbacks in their first preseason game.

They are the only team in the division looking for a third quarterback.

How much quarterbacks play during preseason can mean more than how well they seem to play under what are often unusual circumstances with little application to the regular season.

Preseason snap counts are especially precious during this abbreviated NFL offseason. That helps explain why St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo indicated he might schedule his starters to play longer in the second preseason game, making up for time lost. That might also explain why the 49ers weren't going to waste preseason snaps on quarterbacks not yet in their immediate plans.

The charts break out quarterback participation by NFC West team, including non-penalty snaps, quarters, drives and drive results.

The Arizona Cardinals' Kevin Kolb drove his team to the Oakland 1, where the Raiders stuffed Beanie Wells on a fourth-and-goal play.

The second chart breaks down participation for No. 2 quarterbacks in preseason openers. Columns remain ordered by team (Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals) for easier comparison with the other charts.

The third chart covers third-string quarterbacks (Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals).

Cardinals fourth-stringer Max Hall also played in the first week of preseason. He took five snaps and led one touchdown drive. Update: Taylor Potts, the Rams' fourth-string quarterback, took the final three snaps for the Rams, all handoffs. I've updated the charts to reflect.

I've included the final chart breaking down snap percentages by quarterback for those wondering whether their team's starter played too much, too little or the right amount in the opening week.

My impression watching the Seahawks was that Tarvaris Jackson, having played only two series, needed a little more time to get going. While he did play the lowest percentage of his team's snaps among NFC West starters, he logged one more snap than Kolb. Seattle quarterbacks ran more snaps overall, strengthening the perception that Jackson was hardly out there at all.
Thoughts and questions after former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and agent Drew Rosenhaus issued statements Tuesday:
    [+] EnlargeTerrelle Pryor
    AP Photo/J Pat CarterFormer Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, right, and his agent Drew Rosenhaus discuss Pryor's future at a news conference in Miami Beach, Fla.

  • Rosenhaus said he expects an NFL team to select Pryor in the first round of the supplemental draft. I've heard nothing from anyone in the NFL suggesting Pryor would command that much value. Rosenhaus might have a better idea, or he might be simply promoting his client. But if Pryor does go early in the supplemental draft, I cannot see him landing in the NFC West.
  • The St. Louis Rams have their current starter. The San Francisco 49ers have their current and projected future starter. The Arizona Cardinals have multiple developmental quarterbacks. They need a veteran to step in and start right away. Pryor does not fit. The Seattle Seahawks said they could not afford to invest early draft choices in a quarterback given the state of their roster in other areas, notably the line. They addressed the line, but still have holes.
  • Rosenhaus represents more NFL players than any agent. However, he generally is not the choice for quarterbacks. Does Pryor even project as a quarterback? Depends who you ask.
  • Pryor does not perform like the typical quarterback on the field, having rushed for 2,164 yards at Ohio State. His choice for representation also goes against convention for quarterbacks. Three of the 145 signed players Rosenhaus represented during the regular season were quarterbacks, according to NFL Players Association records from November. Rex Grossman, Thaddeus Lewis and Billy Volek were those quarterbacks. David Dunn (17) and Tom Condon (13) had more than 28 percent of quarterbacks.
  • The dynamics change if Pryor remains available late in the supplemental draft. There's much less risk at that point. In the meantime, ESPN's Chris Mortensen says we should expect to see Pryor meeting with Jon Gruden for a session similar to the ones Gruden put together for Cam Newton and others. Gruden reveled in putting pressure on prospects to prove how much they understood about offense. How well Pryor understands the game from a quarterback's perspective will affect how well he would fit even as a No. 3 quarterback.

Rosenhaus and Pryor refused to answer questions following their statements.

"I think I've said it all," Rosenhaus told reporters.

Around the NFC West: Bradford's status

December, 23, 2010
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Sam Bradford as saying he feels good physically heading into Week 16. Linebacker James Laurinaitis: "Sammy boy's doing fine. It's a long season. But to see him, he's still in here having fun, smiling, joking around. So Sam is doing fine. I'd expect him to say the same thing about a rookie wall -- he's going to say it's a myth." Bradford has taken hard hits in recent weeks. He limped back to the huddle at Arizona after injuring an ankle. He took a hit to the knee against Kansas City.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie Darian Stewart has been willing and able to help in multiple ways. Coats: "The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Stewart has dressed for 13 of the Rams' 15 games, including each of the last six. He's on three special-teams units: kickoff coverage, kickoff return and punt return. Lately, he's seen increased work on defense, coming in on certain packages in passing situations."

Also from Thomas: The Rams' game against the 49ers will likely be televised in St. Louis.

Nick Wagoner of provides an injury update after speaking with Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo. Wagoner: "Michael Hoomanawanui did limited work in practice. Spagnuolo said Hoomanawanui wasn’t able to get in as much work as hoped."

Also from Wagoner: more thoughts on how Bradford is handling the NFL grind. Bradford has played every offensive snap so far this season. Bradford: "Physically I feel great. I really think the weight I added in the offseason has really paid off. My body feels great. I feel probably fresher now than I did in college."

Jonathan Webb of says Donnie Jones has been among the Rams' most consistent players.

Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis revisits Bradford's ability to draw the 49ers offside when the teams played earlier this season.

Matt Maiocco of recounts top 49ers storylines from 2010. Maiocco: "The 49ers were 0-5, and questions were being raised about Mike Singletary's job security. Team president Jed York declared Singletary was his coach, and -- furthermore -- the 49ers would win the NFC West. Bold prediction? Sure. But in the NFC West, it certainly was not inconceivable. Singletary managed to keep the locker room together. The 49ers didn't exactly heat up, they they did win five of their next nine games to get within striking range of the division crown. The 49ers' biggest win of the year up to this point was the ballot June ballot measure that gave the go-ahead for the Santa Clara stadium project to move forward. Now, if the 49ers win their final two games, and the Seahawks lose once, the team will advance to the playoffs and make good on York's guarantee."

Also from Maiocco: He expects Singletary to confirm Troy Smith as the 49ers' starting quarterback.

Taylor Price of looks at the team's performance on third down this season.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reflects on the 49ers' inability to keep secrets.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News checks in with Singletary's future son-in-law: Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Yes, Atogwe admits he was initially intimidated by his future fiance's famously intense father.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says there's a gap between Singletary and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson regarding the quarterback situation. Lynch: "That makes Johnson one incredibly out-of-the-loop offensive coordinator, or someone who needs to get his story straight with Singletary before he fields questions about his starting quarterback."

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Thaddeus Lewis will make his NFL debut for the 49ers on Sunday.

Doug Farrar of Sportspress Northwest says Tampa Bay's youth movement could show the way for Seattle.

Clare Farnsworth of checks in with Leon Washington and Mike Williams regarding which player most deserves consideration as top comeback player this season. Washington came back from a career-threatening leg injury to become one of the most dangerous returners in the NFL. Williams came back from being ... Williams. Williams: "I think that award is about guys who we really have come back, guys who were established players in this league and had a little bit of adversity and bounced back. So, Leon represents that. Wes Welker represents that. … Leon, in my opinion, is even better than I remember him in New York. Just for me, I don’t think I really came back from anything that you can really put your finger on something that I came back from. You could give me 'Comeback Couch Player of the Year.' "

Also from Farnsworth: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wants his team to ignore playoff implications stemming from the San Francisco 49ers' game against the St. Louis Rams.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times quotes Carroll as saying his decision to stick with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback has nothing to do about the team's feelings for Charlie Whitehurst. That is an impossible position to defend, in my view. If the Seahawks thought Whitehurst gave them a better chance to win, they would play him without reservation. Sticking with Hasselbeck means, at the very least, that the Seahawks do not think Whitehurst would provide an immediate upgrade from a player coming off a four-game stretch with 13 turnovers.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says David Hawthorne has emerged as a force at linebacker for Seattle. Led by Hawthorne, the Seahawks dramatically improved their tackling last week.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Carroll plans to track what's happening in the Rams-49ers game without making changes based on what he knows.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says losing receiver Early Doucet should not affect the Cardinals too much because Andre Roberts can slide into the No. 3 role.

Also from Somers: O'Brien Schofield has a chance to get more playing time now that Joey Porter has a strained triceps. Somers: "Schofield is determined to end 2010 on a positive note after the year started with a devastating setback. He suffered a torn left ACL in practice before the Senior Bowl in January. Schofield had 12.5 sacks as a senior, but fell in the draft because of the injury. The Cardinals took him in the fourth round but were unsure if he would contribute this season. He spent the first seven weeks of the season on the reserve-non football injury list, missing six games. Ideally, he would have missed more time, but injuries to other players forced the Cardinals to speed up the timetable." Hitting on Schofield would help offset at least some of the price associated with getting nothing from 2009 second-round choice Cody Brown.

More from Somers: John Skelton wasn't a Cowboys fan even though he grew up in Texas.

Darren Urban of quotes coach Ken Whisenhunt as saying it's important for the team to keep Larry Fitzgerald, whose contract expires following the 2011 season.

Also from Urban: Schofield and rookie linebacker Daryl Washington have a chance to make positive impressions over the final two games.

Around the NFC West: Lott's speech

September, 23, 2010
Matt Maiocco of passes along Ronnie Lott's thoughts regarding the speech Lott delivered to the Saints one day before New Orleans faced the 49ers. The Saints asked Lott to address their team about what it takes to win back-to-back championships. Lott: "So it is my responsibility to at least share some thoughts. A lot of that is, if you go back and look at that 1982 Super Bowl, 15 guys got in trouble because we didn't know how to handle a Super Bowl experience. Fifteen guys got in trouble because they didn't understand what it was like. ... I'm very confident and comfortable that whatever I did was for the right intentions of making sure I never fracture the game and I never fracture my relationship with the 49ers." The fact that Lott would see no conflict in addressing the Saints before their game against the 49ers shows players think differently than some fans think. I just don't see this as a big deal and Lott obviously did not, either. Lott will always be a 49er, and I've always thought he valued his legacy in San Francisco. Side note: I spent part of pregame warm-ups on the field speaking with another former NFC West great whose relationship with the current Saints regime is even stronger. Cortez Kennedy has worked for the Saints and he sometimes travels with the team. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was with the Seahawks when Kennedy played for the team. They remain close.

Also from Maiocco: Frank Gore has played all but two offensive snaps this season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Lott was "rooting [his] butt off" for the 49ers on Monday night, according to Lott.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers used their editorial input to remove KPIX's Dennis O'Donnell from their weekly interview show featuring coach Mike Singletary. That's no surprise after O'Donnell agitated Singletary with repeated questions about communication problems at Seattle in Week 1. Brown: "KPIX originally posted the interview on its web site but removed it when it became a minor sensation. Singletary on Tuesday acknowledged that he lost his cool during the interview. He vowed to be more measured in his responses."

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says rookie NaVorro Bowman is the 49ers' only real option for replacing the injured Takeo Spikes.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' communication will face challenges at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3. Alex Smith: "Yeah it will be another really good test for us," he said. "In the first three weeks, we'll be playing in the two, I think, of the two loudest outdoor stadiums. So yeah, it will be another good test for us as far as communication goes. I think it's something we've improved on but, you know, I think it's one of those things that you can never stop working on."

Also from Branch: Smith runs well for a quarterback.

More from Branch: Gore says rookie guard Mike Iupati improved markedly in his second regular-season game, allowing the 49ers to run inside effectively against the Saints.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says three of the Cardinals' five receivers in Week 2 were rookies. Somers: "All have had shaky moments early in their careers. Last week, (Stephen) Williams lined up wrong on the first play and dropped a pass. In Week 1, (Max) Komar lost a fumble at the Rams' 5. Roberts struggled to catch the ball in camp and hasn't seized the opportunity to become the team's main punt returner." Veteran receiver Steve Breaston and more recently Stephen Spach have also had problems lining up properly over the last couple seasons. They have incurred penalties. The Cardinals mixed up their personnel groupings in Week 2, sometimes using running back LaRod Stephens-Howling as a receiver. They used two tight ends and three wide receivers at times. They used three running backs and two tight ends. The changes were not very productive, though.

Also from Somers: Beanie Wells is eager to make his 2010 regular-season debut.

Darren Urban of checks in with Larry Fitzgerald regarding NFL teams' willingness to make changes. Fitzgerald: "This game is about winning. Whatever a coach feels is going to give his team the best chance to win, he’s going to do. The New York Giants, they are 0-2. We’re talking about a team that won the Super Bowl three seasons ago. And they are talking about that coach being on the hot seat – a perennial playoff football team. That shows you how fickle this league is. It don’t matter what you did two years ago. People just don’t care. What are you doing right now today? Are you having success with your quarterback play, that’s all that matters. In Tennessee, Vince Young, wins what, 10 of 11 down the stretch last year and he gets benched Week Two. That’s just how it is these days."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals are working to improve on third down.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams did make an offer to the Chargers for receiver Vincent Jackson. Thomas: "One of the sources also said that the hangup in Jackson going to the Rams was the trade terms with the Chargers. In any event, it became apparent Tuesday that the Rams had decided to pass on Jackson."

Also from Thomas: The Rams are 0-2 despite holding their first two opponents to 17 points or fewer.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradley Fletcher is getting lots of action at cornerback in what almost amounts to another rookie season for him. Coats: "It's no surprise that opposing offensive coordinators have been targeting Fletcher and trying to stay away from veteran cornerback Ron Bartell. Fletcher expects more of the same Sunday, when Washington and veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb visit the Edward Jones Dome."

Also from Coats: The Rams could seek an extension for selling tickets to avoid a local television blackout in Week 3.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have added Laurent Robinson and Oshiomogho Atogwe to their injured list.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' coaches must be more creative in helping an undermanned roster. Miklasz: "In 18 games under (Steve) Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the Rams have scored 28 points -- with only one touchdown from scrimmage -- in the third quarter. That's an average 1.5 points per third quarter. It hasn't been so bad in the second quarter of the 18 games; the Rams have been outscored 127 to 91. But in the third quarter the Rams have been outscored 103-28. This perhaps explains why I'm of the opinion that the staff seems to be slow to adjust, adapt and counter the other team's strategy when reorganizing at halftime." Spagnuolo took over the team in 2009. The 2008 Rams averaged 9.6 points per game -- make that 2.2 now that I'm looking at the right stats -- in third quarters on their way to a 2-14 record.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Rams rookie Mardy Gilyard wants more playing time on offense and the Rams might give it to him.

Nick Wagoner of offers a few Rams-related notes. Wagoner: "The Rams added QB Thaddeus Lewis to the practice squad and he was back on the field Wednesday. Lewis was released to make room for CB Marquis Johnson last week. Because of the injuries up and down the roster, the Rams need every spot possible so carrying a third signal caller didn’t make sense."

Also from Wagoner: a look at James Laurinaitis' leadership skills.

Clare Farnsworth of says rookie safety Earl Thomas expects more action against the Chargers, a team that features its tight end in the passing game.

Also from Farnsworth: Colin Cole has anchored the Seahawks' strong run defense. Coach Pete Carroll: "He’s been very effective in the first couple of games and really given us good play. The style really suits his makeup. He’s very physical at the point, doesn’t get knocked around and also has good instincts to find the football." That last part has stood out. Cole has come off blocks and gotten near the football.

More from Farnsworth: Carroll and Lofa Tatupu are together again. Carroll: "When you’ve been with guys for some time, the depth and the reservoir of things that you have in your pocket really makes you versatile and can make you really strong and very adaptable. And that’s something you have to have in this league."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks think Deon Butler can stretch defenses. Carroll: "This is a guy honestly, I tell you, when we looked at him on film last year we thought, 'Boy, it's going to be a long ways to get him to be a factor for us.' ... We just didn't really know what we had because we hadn't been on the field with him. We saw the speed and the explosion and natural catching ability. He's just improved tremendously."

Also from O'Neil: Leroy Hill is out, again.

More from O'Neil: The Seahawks plan to introduce St. Louis Blues executive Peter McLoughlin as their new CEO at a news conference Thursday. McLoughlin is a Harvard graduate with vast experience brokering deals in the NHL and the corporate world (while with Anheuser-Busch and NBC Sports). The Seahawks have previously said they like their setup. That suggests McLoughlin will fit into the current structure without shaking things up too significantly. Outgoing CEO Tod Leiweke is a St. Louis native with strong hockey roots, and he played a leading role in identifying his successor. The Seahawks job has to be attractive for McLoughlin relative to his job with the Blues, an unprofitable team facing ownership uncertainty.

Greg Johns of says Charlie Whitehurst has little trouble playing the role of Philip Rivers in Seattle practices.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says rookie Golden Tate feels in control of his own destiny. Tate: "The way I see it, being active or inactive is up to me,” he said. “It’s not up to somebody being injured or not playing well, it’s up to me to practice hard and do everything right, to show the coaches I deserve to be out there. How I practice these next days is what will determine whether I deserve it or not."

Only four wide receivers active for Rams

September, 12, 2010
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams named receivers Brandon Gibson and Dominique Curry inactive Sunday, leaving only four on their 45-man game-day roster.

Think they might want to run the ball with Steven Jackson?

Gibson was a potential starter following Donnie Avery's season-ending knee injury, but the Rams' move to acquire Mark Clayton from Baltimore altered plans. Gibson missed much of camp with a hamstring injury. He was not on the injury report this week, suggesting he has ground to make up before becoming part of the rotation -- particularly if the Rams are going to keep only four receivers active.

Curry's special-teams ability had given him a shot at the active roster, but the Rams probably weren't going to consider him much as a receiver at this stage.

Also inactive for the Rams: cornerback Jerome Murphy, tight end Fendi Onobun, offensive lineman John Greco, defensive end Eugene Sims and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo. Thaddeus Lewis is the third quarterback. If a third quarterback plays, the first two quarterbacks cannot re-enter the game.

Onobun's chances for the game-day roster appeared strong early in camp, but fellow rookie Mike Hoomanawanui impressed during exhibition games.

Murphy will probably factor as a nickel corner this season, but Kevin Dockery or Justin King will fill that role Sunday. Dockery appears most likely to serve as the nickel, but I'm not certain at this point. Veteran safety James Butler, listed as probable with a knee injury, is active.

Definitive look at NFC West turnover

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

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

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

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

St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special teams: Ryan Neill

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

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

Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)

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

Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)

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

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

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

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

Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)

Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)

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

San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)

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

Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker

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

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

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

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

Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt

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

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

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

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

Rams' quarterback situation shaking out

September, 4, 2010
Sam Bradford is the St. Louis Rams' starting quarterback.

Keith Null, who started four games as a rookie in 2009, will not be the third-stringer behind A.J. Feeley.

Bradford's elevation, announced by coach Steve Spagnuolo, and Null's release brought clarity to the Rams' quarterback picture. The Rams have not announced all their cuts, but with Null out, rookie Thaddeus Lewis becomes the third quarterback heading into the regular season.

Starting Bradford was the most logical decision after the rookie No. 1 overall choice shined during much of the exhibition season, plus training camp. There's no sense in stunting Bradford's development if he appears mentally, emotionally and physically strong enough to dive right in.

Two other Rams moves: Kevin Payne and Eric Young to injured reserve.

On the radar: Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams could show interest in San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson. Recently released Seattle Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is also a consideration, but I'm not sure what type of situation Houshmandzadeh might prefer. He's from Southern California, he's a veteran and he's guaranteed $7 million no matter what, so why not target a winning team somewhere relatively close to the West Coast? Just a thought.

Post-camp roster analysis: Rams

September, 1, 2010
The St. Louis Rams hold the No. 1 priority for waiver claims and they'll probably put that status to work following the mandatory reduction to 53 players Saturday.

With that in mind, let's take a position-by-position look at the Rams' roster heading into their second season under coach Steve Spagnuolo (current roster counts listed in parentheses):

Quarterbacks (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.9

Keepers: Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley

Looking safe: Keith Null

On the bubble: Thaddeus Lewis

Comment: Lewis has played well enough to intrigue the Rams, but probably not well enough for another team to claim him off waivers. That makes Lewis a natural choice for the practice squad.

Running backs (5)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Steven Jackson, Mike Karney

Looking safe: Kenneth Darby

Not sure what to think: Keith Toston, Chris Ogbonnaya

Comment: The Rams are carrying as many running backs as teams typically keep, but multiple spots could be up for grabs depending on which running backs become available via waivers. I'd rather list Toston, Ogbonnaya and Darby in one group until it becomes clear which backs -- and which types of backs -- hit the waiver wire. Ogbonnaya showed potential last season and looked good early in camp, but his performance hasn't carried over to exhibition games and that could cost him. Perhaps expectations were too high. Darby's toughness and special-teams contributions could help him. Toston runs hard and could land on the practice squad.

Wide receivers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Laurent Robinson, Mardy Gilyard, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Keenan Burton

On the bubble: Dominique Curry

Also: Brandon McRae, Jordan Kent, Danario Alexander

Comment: Curry stood out as an undrafted steal during camp. He has excellent size and has showed good ability on special teams. Burton's durability should remain a concern, but that's the case with Robinson and even Gibson at this point. Gibson's value rises with Donnie Avery on injured reserve.

Tight ends (6)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.0

Keepers: Billy Bajema, Mike Hoomanawanui

Looking safe: Fendi Onobun

Not sure what to think: Daniel Fells, Darcy Johnson

Also: Dennis Morris

Comment: But wait, Fells is the incumbent starter, right? Yes, but he hasn't been durable and there's so much to like about the rookies Onobun and Hoomanawanui. Bajema is an obvious keeper for his blocking and all-around game (he has caught the ball well on limited chances). Johnson has shown toughness and blocking ability, so he could be an option if the team wants to move on from Fells. Perhaps I'm over thinking things here, but the emergence of Onobun and Hoomanawanui during camp creates dilemmas.

Offensive linemen (13)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.3

Keepers: Jason Brown, Jacob Bell, Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Adam Goldberg, Hank Fraley

Looking safe: John Greco, Roger Allen III

Also: Eric Young, Drew Miller, Ryan McKee, Renardo Foster, Tim Mattran

Comment: It's tough finding nine keepers here, so the Rams could be active in the waiver-claim game. Greco's versatility works in his favor. Are the Rams still high on Allen's prospects? I know they liked him last season, but that was before reconstructive knee surgery. Trading Alex Barron made sense in the big picture, but the Rams would have better depth here if Barron were still around.

Defensive line (12)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.6

Keepers: Chris Long, Fred Robbins, Clifton Ryan, James Hall, Gary Gibson, Darell Scott

Looking safe: George Selvie

On the bubble: Victor Adeyanju, C.J. Ah You, Jermelle Cudjo

Also: Ernest Reid, Eugene Sims

Comment: Durability concerns could cost Ah You. Adeyanju also could be on the bubble depending on what options the Rams have beyond their own roster. Cudjo has made a positive impression during camp and preseason. Same goes for Selvie, although an injury sidelined him part of the time.

Linebackers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.3

Keepers: James Laurinaitis, Larry Grant, Na'il Diggs, Chris Chamberlain

Looking safe: Bobby Carpenter

On the bubble: David Vobora, Josh Hull

Also: Devin Bishop, Cardia Jackson

Comment: Carpenter has gotten some work at defensive end. Perhaps his presence in an emergency capacity at that position could allow the Rams to keep one fewer defensive lineman, at least early. Chamberlain is probably the best special-teams position player on the Rams, enhancing his value. Hull could provide depth behind Laurinaitis because he's a true middle linebacker, whereas Vobora can back up every position. That could be a close call.

Defensive backs (14)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.7

Keepers: Oshiomogho Atogwe, Ron Bartell, Justin King, Bradley Fletcher, James Butler, Kevin Payne, Craig Dahl, Jerome Murphy, Kevin Dockery

Looking safe: Quincy Butler

On the bubble: Darian Stewart

Also: Brett Johnson, Marquis Johnson, Antoine Thompson

Comment: James Butler's knee injury probably makes keeping Payne a higher priority. Stewart could be a candidate for the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.7

Keepers: Josh Brown, Donnie Jones, Chris Massey

Comment: Strong group here.
Matt Maiocco of explains why Aubrayo Franklin's play improved over the last one-plus seasons and why the 49ers aren't rushing out to extend the nose tackle's contract beyond 2010. Maiocco: "The 49ers never seemed all that determined to get a deal done with Franklin, whose play was consistently strong from the mid-point of the 2008 season through last year. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky simplified the defense after the firing of Mike Nolan, and Franklin did not have as many two-gap responsibilities from that point forward. It wasn't until the second half of last season that the 49ers decided the best course of action was to restrict Franklin's ability to hit the free-agent market with the application of the franchise tag. The club wants to see him continue to perform at a high level before extending him with the kind of lucrative, multi-year offer the other 'franchise' nose tackles received from their respective clubs."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are interested in extending contracts for their best young players, but Franklin isn't all that young any longer. Barrows: "He turns 30 next month, and while he may have avoided wear and tear early in his career, the 49ers have to wonder whether he's reached his peak. They also have to wonder why Franklin had his best season in his contract year."

Taylor Price of looks at the team's offense heading into training camp. Price on running back Michael Robinson: "Primarily known for his role as the 49ers special teams captain, Robinson is a leader on the field and in the locker room. On offense, Robinson adds value as a third-down back and proved his importance on 'Monday Night Football,' with several important catches in the second half of the 49ers season sweep of the Arizona Cardinals."

Nick Wagoner of profiles rookie quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who played in a pro-style offense at Duke. Lewis: "It helped me a whole lot. I wasn’t fazed at all coming out to these practices because he makes his practices up tempo and fast. The transition was great so that part wasn’t hard at all. It’s just learning the language. The language is different. You have to forget everything you learned in college. Pretty much, the route concepts and running plays are the same. The defenses never change. They add a few things to it but it’s pretty much the same."

Michael Silver of checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who says he does not feel as though his career is wasting away. Jackson also shares details from a shark-watching trip he took to Seal Island near the Capetown coast. Jackson spent 10 minutes in an underwater cage while sharks feasted nearby. Jackson: "I was freaking out all the way down. I had a lot of trouble with the air at first; I was breathing really fast and [screwing] up the oxygen tank. Eventually, by getting control of my breathing, I calmed myself down, but it was still pretty insane. Like I told my mom when I got back, the scariest part isn’t when first see the shark or when he eats the bait right in front of you -- it’s when he disappears into the murky water and you’re like, 'Where the hell did he go?' " Jackson laments the Rams' struggles and says he hopes coach Steve Spagnuolo has enough time to implement his program.

Jim Moore of says Pete Carroll's new book offers a glimpse into how the Seahawks' new coach operates. An exerpt: "By paying close attention to the actions, mannerisms and traits of our players…and by taking note of the clothes they wear, the hairstyles they choose, their personal interests, and the people they choose to hang out with, we get mountains of information." provides photos from recent efforts to paint Qwest Field's white roof blue. The white roof had become a brown roof thanks to dirt.

Clare Farnsworth of says about 1,000 gallons of paint were used in the roof project.

Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune says the arrest of former Chargers safety Kevin Ellison, now of the Seahawks, triggered an investigation into a Chargers team doctor. Schrotenboer: "The case’s origins can be traced to the arrest in May of former Chargers safety Kevin Ellison, who had been charged with illegally possessed 100 Vicodin painkiller pills when he was stopped for speeding in Redondo Beach. The Chargers have said the Vicodin was not provided by the team or its doctors."

Gerry Spratt of says Carroll plans to make a book-related appearance July 23 in Seattle.

Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News Tribune offers quotes from Seahawks safety Jamar Adams after Adams "pulled 7 Gs" in a high-performance jet. Pacey: "Adams flew with the Patriots Jet Team out of Olympia Regional Airport as they practiced maneuvers in preparation for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo this weekend." Adams called it "the best fun" he's ever had.

Darren Urban of provides a screenshot of Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt from the new Madden 11 game. The simulated shot shows the Bucs leading the Cardinals, 14-7, with 2:38 left in the third quarter.

Also from Urban: Newly signed rookie receiver Andre Roberts has a shot at becoming the fourth wideout. Urban: "Roberts, from The Citadel, is a wide receiver vying for the fourth spot behind Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. He is expected to battle veteran Onrea Jones for that work, although Roberts is also in the mix to replace Breaston as punt returner. Breaston, moving to the No. 2 receiving slot, will likely lose return duties to protect him for offense."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers could slash payroll by targeting their secondary. Nate Clements is getting closer to the heavily backloaded part of his contract. Barrows on safety Michael Lewis: "Lewis' status this year largely depends on Taylor Mays' progress. My guess is that Lewis begins the season as the safety starter and that Mays gradually takes over as the year goes on (provided that Lewis remains healthy)."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea says the 49ers are working toward a contract agreement with Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis. Maiocco: "But can the 49ers, among the lower-revenue teams in the NFL, afford to pay Davis so soon after (Patrick) Willis was awarded a five-year, $50 million extension? It’s a legitimate question for an organization that is campaigning for a new stadium that would provide a huge increase in revenue streams." The 49ers have shown creativity in how they structure deals. If they really want to sign Davis, they can get it done.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider revisits some of the 49ers' disappointing first-round picks over the years. Jim Druckenmiller makes the list.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry, who fizzled out after a strong start to the 2009 season. O'Neil: "There has been a lot of speculation that Curry might play the hybrid linebacker/end role that has been referred to as 'the elephant' but is actually called 'the Leo' in Seattle's defensive scheme. That's not Curry's role now, though. He is playing strongside -- or SAM -- linebacker, but expect him to have a heavy dose of pass-rushing responsibilities."

Also from O'Neil: Signing Chester Pitts would add depth to Seattle's offensive line.

Jason LaCanfora of says the draft-day energy Pete Carroll and John Schneider brought to Seattle was palpable. LaCanfora: "I could have sworn Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was going to hoist himself on the shoulders of general manager John Schneider and begin galloping around the war room like Angus Young jamming above the head of Bon Scott at an AC/DC concert."

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up the Seahawks' defensive line. In watching minicamp, I wondered if the new staff would find a place for Craig Terrill, who has put together a six-year run in Seattle as a sixth-round pick.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers thoughts on the Cardinals following their post-draft camp. He also says coach Ken Whisenhunt left open the door for the team signing another veteran quarterback to a team that already has Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson. Whisenhunt: "We've got two rookies who are vying for the third position and we feel good about Derek and Matt. I don't think we would ever not look at a player if we felt like he could help us win games, but at this point in the season, with what we have on the roster, I'm very encouraged by what we saw from Matt and Derek. But I am realistic about the rookie being the third quarterback and the progress he's going to have to make to fill that role."

Darren Urban of checks in with former Steelers teammates Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, who are reunited in Arizona. Urban: "For the third time, Porter and Haggans are teammates. They met playing together at Colorado State University. They were each drafted -- a year apart -- by the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending seven seasons together. And now, after Porter signed a free-agent deal with the Cardinals in March, the two 33-year-olds have been reunited in Arizona."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch raises questions about the recent report suggesting Stan Kroenke's plan to buy the Rams might involve Kroenke's wife taking over the team. Thomas: "On April 12, Kroenke exercised a right of first refusal to match Shahid Khan's purchase agreement with the Rams. Kroenke has to match Khan's agreement. It is believed Kroenke would not be allowed to match and then put together a group to represent the match. It also is believed that he would not be allowed to match Khan's offer and then say -- essentially -- that it's really his wife who is matching. Some league sources feel that if Kroenke's wife, Ann, were an option, Kroenke would've proposed this to Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez nearly two years ago, or several months after the death of their mother, Georgia Frontiere. That's when it became clear that the team could be up for sale."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the latest reported Kroenke proposal is one of several options being floated as Kroenke tries to comply with NFL rules on cross-ownership. Miklasz: "Why didn’t Ann Kroenke simply bid for the Rams at the time the Rosenblooms had their 60 percent share on the market? This would have been easier than (A) having Stan Kroenke match Khan and (B) Kroenke having to work around the cross-ownership guidelines. (Likely answer: the Kroenkes didn’t want to get in a bidding battle with Khan that would drive the price up; they probably preferred to wait, let Khan make a reasonable bid, then match. I’m only guessing here.)"

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams were pleased with Duke rookie quarterback Thaddeus Lewis at their post-draft camp. Coats: "Sam Bradford and veteran A.J. Feeley -- not necessarily in that order at this point -- appear to be in place as the Rams' top two quarterbacks. After the release last week of Mike Reilly, who spent the last month of the 2009 season with the team, the only other QBs on the roster are Lewis and Keith Null. Because of injuries to Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, Null, a sixth-round draftee last year, started the last four games of his rookie season. He's probably in line for the No. 3 job — but could face a challenge from Lewis."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News Democrat wonders how Kroenke's wife could exercise Kroenke's option to purchase full ownership of the Rams.