NFC West: Wendell Bryant
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Michael Crabtree will likely be eligible to start between nine and 11 regular-season games in 2009, depending on whether the 49ers use all of the roster exemption they will surely receiver beginning this week.
The schedule sets up favorably for Crabtree and the 49ers because the team has a bye in Week 6. The down week should give the 49ers an opportunity to dedicate extra time to getting Crabtree ready.
The first game following the bye is at Houston, in Crabtree's home state.
The chart shows how late Crabtree is reporting relative to other first-round choices since 2001 who remained unsigned into September or later. ESPN Stats & Analysis came up with the information.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren shouldn't be dropping hints about rejoining the organization. Boling: "[General manager Tim Ruskell] doesn't deserve the specter of Holmgren circling the headquarters in case of a bad season. And Holmgren should be above any appearance that he's lobbying for it. ... He is a fine and charitable man who has been a value to the region in so many ways. But as for openings with the Seahawks, it would be most appropriate to just silently watch that play out from a distance." Totally agree. It's bad form to fuel speculation about possibly rejoining the team when everyone knows a return would come at Ruskell's expense.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says there's enough credit to go around for Ruskell and Holmgren following the best run in Seahawks history.
John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits Leroy Hill's 2008 season. Morgan on Hill's outlook: "He has a handful of exceptional skills: He wrap-tackles. He's super-quick. He negotiates garbage. He's agile. He tracks running plays. He's a punishing hitter. [New defensive coordinator] Gus Bradley shouldn't have trouble finding uses for his skill-set, but then neither should have John Marshall."
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says Seahawks sixth-round choice Mike Teel showed resilience at Rutgers, one reason Seattle liked him. Kelley: "The Seahawks saw enough in Teel to make him the ninth quarterback chosen in last month's draft. In an intense predraft interview, he impressed new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp with how quickly he picked up the Hawks' offense."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have reached a contract agreement with free-agent center David Washington.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee expects strong attendance for the 49ers' next organized team activities. Former Fresno State tight end Bear Pascoe graduated in December, allowing him to rejoin the team beginning May 16.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat raises questions about the inaugural class for the 49ers' new Hall of Fame. I also wondered why the team wouldn't include Jerry Rice among its inaugural class. The guy was pretty good. As Maiocco notes, "The first class of enshrinees consists of those individuals who already have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame or whose jersey numbers have been retired by the 49ers."
The 49ers' Web site provides an interview transcript featuring tackle Alex Boone. How did the conditioning drills go at the post-draft camp? Boone: "Terrible, absolutely. [Laughs] That's why I need my hand right here [against the locker] to post me up. It's alright, though."
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News wonders whether Terrell Owens, Ricky Watters and Charles Haley will land in the 49ers' Hall of Fame. Ryan considers other potential candidates. This is a good read for any 49ers fan.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation sizes up the 49ers' situation at running back. Fucillo: "I think the biggest potential for controversy is probably listing Glen Coffee as a lock to make the 53-man roster. There are plenty of folks here who are probably still steaming over the Coffee selection. However, given that the team has invested a third round pick in Coffee, I really can't see him being held off the 53-man roster. Please feel free to correct me if you think I've erred." You have not erred, David. Third-round picks are virtual locks to earn roster spots. Only in very rare cases do they fail to earn spots as rookies.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with 2002 Cardinals first-round choice Wendell Bryant, who wants back into the NFL. Somers: "Bryant knows the odds are against him. He's a recovering addict who hasn't played a down of football in five years. Even when he did play, he was far from a Pro Bowler. He turns 29 this September and knows he spent his prime getting drunk and high." Great quote from Bryant's personal trainer: "He actually has a physique [again]. He's not going to be on the cover of Men's Fitness, but he's much better than he was."
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind caught up with Cardinals third-round choice Rashad Johnson. Johnson: "I think my biggest strength, as a safety, are my instincts. I understand the game pretty well and the coverages that we play, including the weaknesses in them, kind of like a quarterback who pre-reads the defense. Also, my range in the middle of the field as far as getting over the top and filling the run alleys. As far as my weaknesses, I'd say that in this league you just need to be bigger, stronger and faster. ... Another thing is bringing my legs with me when I tackle because I know when I was watching tape of last year I didn't do that as much as I would have liked."
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com thinks the Rams need to sign a veteran receiver. He expects Steven Jackson to get lots of catches out of the backfield.
Seth Doria of bleacherreport.com thinks the Rams' receiver situation isn't reason for panic given the Eagles' receivers when Pat Shurmur was in Philadelphia. Doria: "Maybe I'm going out on a bit of a limb here, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see [Donnie] Avery make his first Pro Bowl in the next two or three years. As for the rest of the receiver corps, it's a list of maybes." Avery faces stiff competition even within his own division. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin will make it tough for Avery to achieve that status. Terrell Owens has left the NFC, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh has joined it.