NFC West: Parys Haralson

Parys Haralson and Delanie Walker departed the San Francisco 49ers' roster this offseason after entering the NFL has 2006 draft choices with the team.

Another member of that 49ers draft class, fullback Michael Robinson, was a valued contributor to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks when the team released him Friday with age and salary-cap considerations in mind.

The 2006 class has been good to the 49ers. The team continues to get top-shelf contributions from tight end Vernon Davis, one of the team's two first-round picks from that 2006 class.

Mike Nolan was coach and Scott McCloughan was general manager for the 49ers back then. Some of the personnel moves they made continue to sustain the team. Frank Gore, Tarell Brown, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray McDonald and Davis remain as players drafted under Nolan. All are valued contributors. Another Nolan-era pick, Adam Snyder, is back with the team as a reserve offensive lineman after spending 2012 with Arizona.

Davis is one of 10 first-round picks from 2006 playing with his original team. The list also includes A.J. Hawk, Haloti Ngata, Chad Greenway, Tamba Hali, Davin Joseph, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Nick Mangold and Mathias Kiwanuka.
Unfortunate circumstances in New Orleans have helped NFC West teams get value for expendable defensive players.

It happened last summer when the Seattle Seahawks traded linebacker Barrett Ruud to the Saints for a conditional 2013 seventh-round choice. It happened again Monday when the San Francisco 49ers sent outside linebacker Parys Haralson to the Saints for a conditional 2014 pick in the same round.

The Saints wanted Ruud last summer because Jonathan Vilma was facing a suspension, Chris Chamberlain had suffered a torn ACL and David Hawthorne was coming off surgery. The Seahawks had signed Ruud as insurance at the position, but rookie Bobby Wagner had emerged as the clear starter, so Ruud probably wasn't going to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. The 2013 seventh-round pick Seattle got in return wound up being 220th overall. Seattle used that choice for guard Ryan Seymour, who faces a tough fight in earning a roster spot given the improved depth along Seattle's line.

Haralson appealed to the Saints more recently after the team lost starting outside linebacker Will Smith to a season-ending knee injury suffered against Houston over the weekend. Victor Butler is also lost for the season, while Martez Wilson and Junior Galette are unavailable in the short term. The 49ers' young depth at outside linebacker made the 29-year-old Haralson unlikely to earn a roster spot, particularly in light of the $1.3 million Haralson was scheduled to earn in 2013. The 49ers will reportedly get a 2014 seventh-round choice in return, conditional on Haralson earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

The relatively low compensation levels for Ruud and Haralson reflect the likelihood that neither player was going to earn a roster spot with his previous team. The Saints can feel good about plugging holes at low cost. The Seahawks and 49ers can feel good about getting something in return for players they weren't going to keep, anyway.
Alcohol abuse has been a common denominator for a run of incidents involving NFL personnel.

News that Denver Broncos executive Matt Russell registered a .246 percent blood-alcohol reading after ramming into a police cruiser put an ugly exclamation point on the situation this week. Tom Nalen, the Broncos' retired former center, called the team cowardly for how it handled another team exec, Tom Heckert, following a DUI arrest a month earlier.

A witness in the murder case implicating New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, since waived by the team, said Hernandez and Odin Lloyd were drinking in excess days before Lloyd's murder. In an unrelated case, authorities arrested Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on suspicion of DUI.

Here in the NFC West, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks could face charges following a June incident reportedly involving alcohol. Brooks allegedly used a beer bottle to strike teammate and designated driver Lamar Divens in the head three times.

The NFL and the 49ers have not yet taken action regarding Brooks, but as the alcohol-related incidents pile up around the league, the issue begs for renewed emphasis.

The league has been focused hard on player safety. Public safety is important, too. As Nalen said regarding the Broncos, perhaps swift and decisive public action against Heckert would have dissuaded Russell from registering a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving.

It's unclear what will happen regarding Brooks. He had revived his career with the 49ers after a rocky tenure in Cincinnati that included a 2008 assault allegation. The 49ers signed Brooks to an extension last offseason. At the time, Brooks pledged to make sure he remained in good standing to avoid being cast off the way Cincinnati let him go.

"I pretty much told myself that I would never let that happen," Brooks said in February 2012. "Regardless of what goes on in my life, I will never let this happen again. I pretty much had to reevaluate myself as a player and a person to become the best person and the best football player I could be, because it's not going to last forever.

"And then once you retire from the game or once the NFL says no to you, we don't want you to play anymore, you want to go out knowing you did all you can do. And that's where I'm at with myself."

The 49ers had three linebackers named first-team Associated Press All-Pro last season. Brooks was named to the second team. Rookie third-round choice Corey Lemonier and former veteran starter Parys Haralson give the 49ers alternatives at outside linebacker.

Brooks, 29, saw his 2013 salary drop from $4.3 million to $2.7 million when contract incentives were not met. His deal carries $1.5 million in annual bonus proration through 2016, money the team still must account for under the salary cap whether or not Brooks remains with the team.

Links: Golden Tate wants to stay in Seattle

July, 5, 2013
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Arizona Cardinals

“It’s kind of a love-hate day. You love the memories because you think back on those days but you also hate the day because you know what happened on the day," Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett tells the team's website about his mother's death on July 4, 1994.

Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu says last week's NFL Rookie Symposium, where the league's first-year players got a crash course into what life is like as a professional athlete, was a worthwhile experience.

San Francisco 49ers

Parys Haralson’s coaches missed having the linebacker's presence on the field last season, but 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is looking forward to seeing how Haralson performs in training camp.

Who is the Darren Sproles of the 49ers' offense? GoldenGateSports.com predicts the depth charts for each position for 2013.

An arrest warrant alleging that 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks hit a teammate on the head with a beer bottle has been put on hold at the request of prosecutors, who are reportedly "close" to deciding whether to file charges.

Kerry Washington, the star of TV's "Scandal," married 49ers cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha last week in Hailey, Idaho.

Seattle Seahawks

Wide receiver Golden Tate says he wants to stay in Seattle for "a long time." Also, NFL.com profiles the top 40 players they see Making the Leap in 2013, and Tate falls in at No. 31.

Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were key contributors to the Seahawks’ success in 2012, writes Clare Farnsworth of the team's website. "But the defense’s top tacklers from a season ago have shown this offseason that they’re just getting started."

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has launched his own charitable foundation called, "Blanket Coverage the Richard Sherman Family Foundation."

St. Louis Rams

Tavon Austin is quickly learning about handling his finances as an NFL pro, the rookie wideout tells NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano, and he plans to make his mom the "bad man." Also, Austin says he already has a rapport with quarterback Sam Bradford.

"What's left in St. Louis is a six-pack of running backs that is young and largely untested -- a six-pack that includes second-year player Isaiah Pead, who has a chance to redeem himself from what was, for many different reasons, a disappointing first season," writes SI.com's Dennis Dillon.
Sometimes it takes a few years to fully assess an NFL draft class' impact. Imperiled veterans can't afford to wait that long.

Among the NFC West veterans on alert as 2013 rookies arrive for minicamps Friday:
Jay from Cincinnati wants to know how Colin Kaepernick's contract situation with the San Francisco 49ers might align with future increases in salary-cap allotments.

"With the cap expected to jump for 2015," he writes, "that seems like perfect timing, with Kaepernick signed through 2014."

Jones
Kaepernick
Sando: Teams are expecting relatively small increases in cap space for the next few seasons. Some of the increases players won in the last labor agreement are showing up in benefits falling outside the salary cap. Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal explained some of the dynamics in this 2012 piece.

Kaepernick's deal does run through the 2014 season. Rules prevent players from renegotiating their contracts until following the third year of their rookie contracts. That means Kaepernick, as a second-round draft choice in 2011, becomes eligible to renegotiate before the final year of his rookie contract. So, if Kaepernick continues on his current trajectory, we should expect the 49ers to work toward an agreement with him after the upcoming season.

The 49ers will of course plan for Kaepernick's next contract. They'll have flexibility regarding the first-year cap number. We've seen Joe Flacco, Percy Harvin and others sign contracts with relatively small first-year cap hits. The 49ers could follow that course if it made sense for them. But with 14 draft choices at their disposal in 2013 alone, the 49ers are in position to stock their roster with lower-cost players.

Justin Smith, Anquan Boldin, Jonathan Goodwin, Donte Whitner, Tarell Brown, Mario Manningham, Phil Dawson, Tramaine Brock and Parys Haralson are among the 49ers' veteran players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents after the 2013 season. San Francisco will replace some of them with draft choices. The 49ers have done a good job re-signing most of their top players in recent seasons. Getting a deal done for Kaepernick before 2014 would make sense. Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are among the core players whose contracts also expire after the 2014 season.

Eight in the box: Biggest cap casualty

February, 22, 2013
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NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week’s topic: Who will be each team’s biggest salary-cap casualty this offseason?

Arizona Cardinals: Quarterback Kevin Kolb is scheduled to earn $9 million in salary from the Cardinals in 2013. Barring a trade, which appears unlikely, Kolb will accept a reduction in salary or receive his release. The Cardinals might be best off keeping Kolb at a reduced rate. But the fact Kolb finished last season with an 8-3 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions doesn't mean he was playing at a high level for Arizona. Kolb has posted a Total QBR score of 30.6 or lower in nine of his 14 starts with the Cardinals (50 is considered average). Kolb was significantly above average in two of his 14 starts -- victories over Philadelphia and Carolina. Arizona has paid $20.5 million to Kolb over the past two years. The team isn't going to give him another $9 million in salary this year.

St. Louis Rams: Running back Steven Jackson is scheduled to earn $7 million in salary for the 2013 season. I would expect the Rams to release Jackson if Jackson declined to accept less money. It might not come to that, however. Jackson has the ability to void his contract, and that seems like the most plausible scenario. Jackson found out last season the Rams weren't interested in extending his contract. If and when he realizes the team isn't interested in paying $7 million to him for 2013, Jackson would have clear incentive to opt out. That would not make him a cap casualty in a direct sense, but the effect would be the same. Safety Quintin Mikell's $6 million salary and $9 million cap figure make him a candidate for renegotiation. Also, journeyman tackle Wayne Hunter is scheduled to earn nearly $4 million.

San Francisco 49ers: Kicker David Akers is scheduled to earn $3 million in salary for the 2013 season. It's hard to envision the 49ers paying that amount to Akers given the kicker's struggles last season. They would have to consider their options at the position even if Akers were earning less money. The relatively high salary for Akers makes this one easy to foresee. Quarterback Alex Smith also has a relatively high salary for a backup ($7.5 million), but the 49ers are looking to trade him. They do not want to release him. Jonathan Goodwin, Carlos Rogers and Parys Haralson also have high enough cap figures to invite questions of value.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have more cap room than any team in the NFC West. They have a dozen players with 2013 cap figures projected at $2.9 million or higher, but none of the 12 appears to be a candidate for release even though Zach Miller ($11 million cap figure) and Sidney Rice ($9.7 million) are eating up $20 million together. Looking further down the salary scale, it's safe to assume the team won't pay $2.3 million in salary to backup receiver Ben Obomanu.
NEW ORLEANS -- Safety Ed Reed and cornerback Cary Williams were the only Baltimore Ravens defenders to start every regular-season game for the AFC champions this season.

The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers had nine defenders start every game.

Overall, the 49ers had 17 players start 16 games during the regular season. Eight Ravens players started 16 games apiece.

Roster health won't grab headlines the way brotherly coaching rivalries will grab them at the Super Bowl this week, but we all know which subject matters more.

The Ravens have gotten healthier lately, welcoming back Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis to their defensive lineup. But in looking at injured reserve lists for each Super Bowl team, the 49ers come out OK.

Baltimore's IR list features top cornerback Lardarius Webb, inside linebacker Jameel McClain and guard Jah Reid, all starters. It features special-teams contributors LaQuan Williams and Bobby Rainey, plus lesser contributors such as Damien Berry, Emanuel Cook, Christian Thompson, Tommy Streeter and Anthony Levine.

The 49ers' IR list features starting receiver Mario Manningham, No. 2 running back Kendall Hunter, third/fourth receiver Kyle Williams, backup outside linebacker Parys Haralson and backup tight end Demarcus Dobbs.

Defensive lineman Justin Smith's ability to return from a triceps injury suffered in Week 15 has been key for the 49ers. Smith, Suggs and Lewis all returned from arm injuries that threatened to end their seasons.
Former San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan will be scheming against his former team in the NFC Championship Game as the Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator.

The job Nolan did as the 49ers' head coach isn't as relevant as the personnel decisions he made in conjunction with former general manager Scot McCloughan.

Those decisions were quite good ones in many cases. As a result, Nolan will be scheming to stop a 49ers offense featuring current or former Pro Bowl choices in left tackle Joe Staley, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore, plus tight end Delanie Walker and, less probably, backup quarterback Alex Smith.

Ten Nolan-era draft choices remain with the 49ers. Five have achieved Pro Bowl status: linebacker Patrick Willis and safety Dashon Goldson in addition to Staley, Davis and Gore. Cornerback Tarell Brown, coming off a strong game against Green Bay, and defensive end Ray McDonald are also Nolan-era draft choices in the 49ers' starting lineup.

Smith isn't expected to play against the Falcons, but if he did, his falling out with Nolan over the coach's handling of a shoulder injury would instantly surface as a story line for revisiting.

Nolan was also in charge when the 49ers used free agency or waivers to add defensive lineman Justin Smith and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Both are starters. Smith is arguably the most important player on the 49ers' defense.
The Seattle Seahawks added defensive end Chris Clemons and kicker Steven Hauschka to their injured reserve lists this week.

Rookie Bruce Irvin, the 15th overall choice in the draft, will start in Clemons' place. Recently signed veteran Ryan Longwell will handle kicking duties for Hauschka.

Those moves led me to compile IR lists for remaining NFC playoff teams. I used the reserve lists at Ourlads.com, which updates its rosters daily.

Putting West's injury toll in perspective

December, 11, 2012
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Jeff Fisher's addition as head coach has surely helped the St. Louis Rams become more competitive this season. The team's current three-game winning streak is its longest since 2006.

Here is something else to consider beyond coaching: The Rams have zero established starters on their injured reserve list heading into the final three weeks of the season. That is down from as many as six at this point last season, although some of those players were on their way out for reasons related to performance.

There are three Rams players on IR at present, down from 12 following Week 14 last season.

The current injury situation in St. Louis more closely approximates 2010, when the Rams were hurting at wide receiver but healthy enough elsewhere to have a 6-7 record at this point. The current team is 6-6-1 heading into Week 15.

Many other variables beyond injuries differentiate a team from season to season, of course. But in looking at the chart, we can see why Arizona is having a hard time snapping what is now a nine-game losing streak.

The Cardinals have been the most injured team in the NFC West this season and it's not close. Their most significant injury, to quarterback Kevin Kolb, doesn't even show up in the chart. Kolb has not played since Week 6. The team has continued to carry him on its active roster in case he can return.

The numbers next to players' names in the chart show how many estimated starts each will have missed by season's end. I assumed Arizona's Ryan Williams would have started at running back until Beanie Wells' return. I also assumed Rams rookie Rokevious Watkins would have started at left guard if available for the final 15 games. That might be overestimating his role, but the situation appeared dire early in the season.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter

September, 19, 2012
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Arizona Cardinals: Kevin Kolb is on track to start at quarterback against his former team, Philadelphia, after Week 1 starter John Skelton missed practice Wednesday with the ankle injury he suffered in the opener. Tight end Todd Heap missed practice with the knee injury he suffered against New England on Sunday. Heap, 32, missed six games last season and three the season before that. He was playing well and would be missed, but the Cardinals have options in Jeff King and Rob Housler. A sore knee continues to limit outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield. Backup Quentin Groves has made a push for additional playing time at the position. Running back Beanie Wells continues to practice despite the hamstring issue that bothered him heading into the opener. Ryan Williams (knee) took limited reps Wednesday. Arizona hasn't gotten its ground game going against two strong run defenses.

St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson missed practice with the groin injury he suffered against Washington. Soft-tissue injuries have been a problem for Jackson over the years. He has now suffered one during a long run in each of the Rams' past two home openers. Rookie Daryl Richardson has run well in relief except for when he fumbled Sunday, but Jackson sets the tone in the running game when healthy. The Rams have serious injury concerns at offensive tackle. Starter Rodger Saffold will miss at least a month after suffering a knee injury Sunday. An ankle injury kept his replacement, Wayne Hunter, from practicing Wednesday. The team also placed rookie guard Rokevious Watkins on injured reserve. Starting center Scott Wells remains out until midseason.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers welcomed back receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. from an ankle injury, but it's not clear if Ginn will be available against Minnesota on Sunday. The 49ers have been functioning well enough without him. Running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) remains sidelined. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter appear fresh and have been productive. There's no reason to rush back Jacobs at this point, in my view. Depth at outside linebacker has been a bit of a concern since former starter Parys Haralson landed on injured reserve. The team brought back Eric Bakhtiari for depth at the position after losing Haralson's replacement, Clark Haggans, to a three-game suspension. Bakhtiari was with the 49ers in camp, so he knows the defense.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks hope to have left tackle Russell Okung back from a bruised knee to face Clay Matthews and the Green Bay defense on Monday night. Frank Omiyale started in Okung's place Sunday and did what coach Pete Carroll called a "credible" job. For Seattle, playing one day later than usual has affected the practice schedule. Players are off Wednesday. They'll resume practicing Thursday. Seattle will not issue an injury report until then. Carroll did tell reporters earlier in the week that receiver Sidney Rice was healthy. Rice had left the team's game against Dallas after absorbing a hard hit. He missed some practice time last week with a sore knee.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter

September, 12, 2012
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Our midweek look at important injury situations in the division ...

Arizona Cardinals: Kevin Kolb heads into Week 2 as the presumed starting quarterback while John Skelton recovers from an ankle injury expected to sideline him for the next couple weeks. Skelton's injury gives Kolb an opportunity to build upon his game-winning drive against Seattle without pressuring coach Ken Whisenhunt to make a long-term decision right away. Kolb has had trouble staying healthy. If he gets hurt and Skelton cannot play, rookie Ryan Lindley is next in the line of succession. The team could consider signing a veteran at that point, but the Cardinals aren't in that position at present. Running back Beanie Wells' hamstring situation will merit monitoring later in the week. He missed practice Friday and did not start as a result. Rookie Ryan Williams lost a fumble. That position still needs to settle out. Good depth at cornerback allowed Arizona to arguably upgrade with Michael Adams after rookie Jamell Fleming left the Seattle game with a shoulder injury. Fleming was limited Wednesday, as were outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield (knee) and safety Adrian Wilson (ankle).

St. Louis Rams: Last season, the Rams suffered an inordinate number of injuries at cornerback. The offensive line is taking hits early in the 2012 season. The team placed veteran center Scott Wells on injured reserve with a designation for return at midseason. Left tackle Rodger Saffold practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after suffering a neck injury in the opener, a very encouraging sign. He's expected to miss this game against Washington. Rookie Rokevious Watkins, who finished the opener at left guard, suffered an ankle injury and was on crutches Wednesday. The team re-signed Quinn Ojinnaka and could start him at left guard. Robert Turner, who replaced Wells in the opener, will start at center. Wayne Hunter, acquired from the New York Jets in the Jason Smith trade, becomes the starter at left tackle. He started 16 games last season and knows the offense, as does Ojinnaka. Michael Brockers (ankle) remains out, compromising depth at defensive tackle. Darell Scott (knee) was limited and would help the rotation if available. The Redskins' Week 1 opponent, New Orleans, was in its base defense not quite half the time last week.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers' injury situation has improved from last week. Aldon Smith showed the hip injury he suffered during preseason wasn't going to be a factor entering the regular season. The team could still wind up missing former starting outside linebacker Parys Haralson, who landed on injured reserve. But that was not the case against Green Bay and should not be the case against Detroit. The Packers and Lions are largely passing teams. San Francisco still does not have receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) or running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) back at practice. The rotations at their positions appear plenty deep anyway.

Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung's bruised knee kept him from practicing Wedneseday. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he thinks Okung will practice later in the week, with a good shot at playing against Dallas. Frank Omiyale is getting first-team work in the meantime. Carroll has landed on the optimistic side in the past, so we'll be watching closely to see if Okung actually does practice this week. Okung fared pretty well against Cowboys pass-rusher Demarcus Ware last season. While he struggled against the Cardinals last week, Okung gives the Seahawks their best chance against Ware. Left guard Paul McQuistan finished last season at left tackle and could move there if needed. Seattle expects to have John Moffitt back from an elbow injury this week. Moffitt will replace rookie J.R. Sweezy at right guard if Moffitt holds up in practice this week. He's more experienced than Sweezy and would probably fare better picking up inside blitzes. Former starting right tackle James Carpenter is also back to full participation following knee surgery. He's an option at left guard, at least eventually. Receiver Golden Tate is returning from a knee injury suffered during the final preseason game. Doug Baldwin had teeth knocked out Sunday, but should play. Tate's return comes while receiver Charly Martin misses at least one game after suffering a bruised lung. Sidney Rice missed practice with a knee injury. He was expected to play against Dallas.

Around the NFC West: 49ers' OLB options

September, 4, 2012
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The San Francisco 49ers made it through last season just fine with only three outside linebackers on their roster.

Whether they can do so as well this season probably won't be known right away.

Replacing the injured Parys Haralson with former Arizona Cardinals starter Clark Haggans was a move that will play out over the season, not over the next couple weeks. That is why the DUI-related suspension Haggans could be facing might not hurt the team all that much if it happens at all. That assumes Aldon Smith will be healthy enough to contribute fully.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee explains the situation in detail: "The 49ers also will be playing two pass-oriented offenses over the first two weeks: Green Bay and Detroit. That means they likely will be in their nickel formation for much of those games. In those instances, Demarcus Dobbs would be able to fill in as an extra pass rusher if there were more injuries at outside linebacker or if the 49ers wanted to give one of their linebackers a rest. The team released four outside linebackers last week, including their preseason sack leader, Eric Bakhtiari. The team also was impressed with Ikaika Alama-Francis, who joined the team late in the summer but who looked good in the finale Thursday." Noted: If Smith misses time and Haggans receives a suspension, the 49ers will find themselves in a tough spot. Smith, Haralson and Ahmad Brooks were the outside linebackers last season. Each played in all 16 games.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks at the team's captains for 2012.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News explains why he's picking someone other than the 49ers for the Super Bowl this year. Kawakami: "The 49ers are just barely out of my Super Bowl consideration because, in retrospect, maybe last year was when it all lined up for them… and they were a close miss. Can everything that went right for Jim Harbaugh’s crew in 2011 go so smoothly in 2012? The 49ers are immensely talented, but injuries and bad breaks have a way of evening out from year to year. So I’m going to skip ahead to the 2013 campaign for any 49ers Super Bowl prophesizing."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a feel for what it's like when little-known players receive their release. Terrance Ganaway, one of the newest Rams, on his recent departure from the Jets: "I never go out, and I don't drink, but we went to the bar and we just watched the (Aug. 30) Philadelphia-Jets game, which was on replay. And the bartender asked us: Were we Jets fans?"

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams resemble an expansion team after gutting the roster under new coach Jeff Fisher and new general manager Les Snead. Miklasz: "That notion will anger and frustrate some, but that's how I see it. And it doesn't bug me, because I've avoided delusional behavior to take the long view since Fisher and Snead set up at Earth City. This disaster wasn't going to be cleaned up in a year, or after one offseason. I'd rather see the new bosses start fresh, start over, and cultivate a roster that can grow. That makes more sense than keeping older, marginal players employed."

Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times says the Seahawks will not owe a conditional draft choice to the Bucs for Kellen Winslow because the teams' trade was contingent on Winslow appearing on the 53-man roster. He says the Bucs would get a pick if Winslow re-signed with the Seahawks. Noted: The first part is consistent with what we knew at the time of the trade. I'd be surprised if re-signing Winslow would require Seattle to part with a pick, however. Winslow is a free agent. That would generally nullify any trade parameters.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahaws' offensive options appear more familiar without Winslow or Terrell Owens in the picture. O'Neil: "Two weeks ago, you looked on the field and wondered how they were going to shoehorn Winslow and Owens into an offense that already included starters like Miller and Sidney Rice. Things aren't so crowded now, and they're a lot more familiar. Of the six receivers and three tight ends currently on the roster, only three are new: Braylon Edwards, Charly Martin and Evan Moore. Edwards could end up starting as split end Golden Tate's status is uncertain. He did not practice Monday after suffering a knee injury in the exhibition game last Thursday. Friday, a source indicated the injury was likely to keep Tate out the next two weeks."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks offensive lineman James Carpenter "feels great" about returning to practice following an extensive knee rehab.

Also from Williams: a look at the Seahawks' secondary.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune explains how Charly Martin earned a roster spot at receiver for Seattle against what seemed like long odds. Boling: "Martin scored points with the staff with his special teams play, and with his consistency catching the ball and running routes. But he also earned the trust of a very important teammate: rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. When Wilson broke free for a 32-yard touchdown in the preseason opener against Tennessee, Martin blocked his man from about the 15-yard line into the end zone to clear the way. Thirteen days later, as Wilson was about to get nailed by Kansas City’s Tamba Hali, Martin broke free and pulled in a touchdown throw from Wilson. This builds an important rapport."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic checks in with backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb on why he didn't win the starting job: "I don't think there's one thing. My thinking of the deal is you just work as hard as you can possibly work and put in the time. I know there's still good things to come here. I keep telling y'all that every time something bad happens, and that's the perspective that I'll keep."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at how the Cardinals plan to piece together their offensive line. Somers: "Rich Ohrnberger will be the backup guard/center on Sunday, I assume. The backup tackle with be Pat McQuistan or Nate Potter, depending upon how quickly McQuistan can pick up the offense and game plan."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at the Cardinals' offensive lineup. Larry Fitzgerald: "We’ll go out and play against Seattle, a really good defense last year, and we will know exactly where we are at that opening drive. We’ll try to move the football and get things done, and if we’re not (settled), it’ll show."

On the 49ers' injury feel minus Haralson

September, 3, 2012
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Injuries have cost NFC West teams two veteran backups with starting experience.

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Parys Haralson, projected to back up Aldon Smith after starting every game last season, went on injured reserve Monday, the team announced. Haralson joined Arizona Cardinals guard Jeremy Bridges among key NFC West backups ruled out for the full 2012 NFL season.

Haralson, 28, played 49.8 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps last season.

Smith collected a 49ers rookie record 14 sacks while replacing Haralson on passing downs. Smith, who has not played since suffering a bruised hip Aug. 10, replaced Haralson in the lineup this offseason. The 49ers expect to have Smith in the lineup against Green Bay in the season opener Sunday.

Depth at outside linebacker is a potential concern, however.

Seeking reinforcements

The 49ers addressed the issue by reaching a one-year deal with former Cardinals outside linebacker Clark Haggans.

Haggans, 35, had three sacks while playing 75 percent of the Cardinals' defensive snaps last season. He also played nearly 20 percent of the snaps on special teams, slightly more than Haralson played for the 49ers. The Cardinals released Haggans in favor of free-agent addition Quentin Groves.

Trend in the works?

The 49ers were unusually healthy on defense last season. Arizona was unusually healthy several years ago when winning the NFC West in consecutive seasons. This season has a different feel so far.

San Francisco has lost Smith and Brandon Jacobs for stretches. Now, Haralson is out for the season. Arizona has lost Bridges and fellow offensive tackle Levi Brown.

Veteran seasoning

Haggans' addition gives the 49ers' 11 players in their 30s, tied for seventh-most in the NFL.

San Francisco's 53-man roster now ranks as the fifth-oldest on average. The team sought a younger replacement for Haralson when submitting a waiver claim for former Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jamaal Westeramn. Arizona also claimed Westerman, however, and the Cardinals had the higher waiver priority.

The chart lists the 49ers' 12 oldest players. Three are specialists. One, Justin Smith, is arguably the 49ers' best player. Haggans, Leonard Davis and Brandon Jacobs project as veteran backups. Davis, Justin Smith and Isaac Sopoaga have birthdays this month.

Suspension looming?

Haggans, meanwhile, could face an NFL suspension stemming from a 2011 DUI conviction.

Matt Barrows has the details.

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