NFL Nation: Dexter Davis

The Seattle Seahawks announced Dexter Davis' release from the team Tuesday. This was not big news. Davis was a seventh-round choice in 2010. Injuries had diminished his effectiveness. The team had released and re-signed Davis previously.

In the bigger picture, Davis' release provided an opportunity to revisit that 2010 draft. Three Seattle choices from that year have earned Pro Bowl honors, most in the league and one more than the division-rival San Francisco 49ers. Both teams had two first-round picks that year.

Pro Bowl selections can be a bit arbitrary as the league scrambles to fill holes in its all-star rosters. They're not a definitive measure of draft-class success. Having three draft choices achieve that status within three seasons is a good thing, however.

Sixteen teams drafted in 2010 at least one player who has subsequently achieved Pro Bowl status. The other 16 teams combined to draft zero from their 126 combined selections.

Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor earned Pro Bowl honors for Seattle. Mike Iupati and NaVorro Bowman did so for the 49ers. Daryl Washington did so for the Arizona Cardinals. Bowman and Washington have already signed contract extensions. The others are candidates for extensions in the not-too-distant future.

Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh Ric Tapia/Icon SMIPete Carroll's Seahawks and Jim Harbaugh's 49ers have continued their rivalry into the offseason.
The San Francisco 49ers' and Seattle Seahawks' 2012 battle for NFC West supremacy has turned into a perceived battle this offseason.

"It just feels like the Seahawks make a move, then the Niners make a move," former NFL quarterback Damon Huard said Wednesday during our conversation on 710ESPN Seattle. "The Seahawks sign Percy Harvin, then the Niners go get Anquan Boldin. The Niners just signed Nnamdi Asomugha, they signed Colt McCoy, and now it's the Seahawks' turn to sign a quarterback. It really feels like this competition that was so fun to watch last fall has carried over into the offseason between the Niners and the Seahawks."

That's what it feels like from this angle, too. So, when ESPN's Bill Polian listed 49ers general manager Trent Baalke among his top six executives Insider without a mention for Seattle counterpart John Schneider, I knew some Seahawks fans would take offense.

"Schneider should be on there," SamW9801 wrote in commenting on the Polian piece.

I'm going to ratchet up the discussion with an assist from Tony Villiotti of Tony identified ranges of picks by how frequently teams have found five-year starters within those ranges.

Using those general ranges, displayed at right, I've put together a chart at the bottom of this item comparing the 49ers' and Seahawks' draft choices since 2010.

Baalke took over the 49ers' draft room roughly a month before the 2010 draft. Schneider became the Seahawks' GM that offseason. The 49ers then underwent a coaching change after the 2010 season, at which point Baalke assumed the GM title officially. We might cut Baalke some slack for selecting Taylor Mays, a player then-coach Mike Singletary valued. There were surely other times when both GMs followed their coaches' input, for better or worse.

Seattle has drafted 28 players over this period, three more than San Francisco has drafted. The Seahawks had more to work with from a qualitative point as well. Their median choice was No. 130 overall, compared to No. 165 for the 49ers.

It's pretty clear both teams know what they are doing in the draft.

Aldon Smith, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati and NaVorro Bowman have earned Pro Bowl and/or All-Pro honors for the 49ers. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman have done so for the Seahawks.

Both teams have found franchise quarterbacks after the first round. Colin Kaepernick was chosen 36th overall in 2011. Wilson went to Seattle at No. 75 last year.

Neither team has missed in that first category, which includes players taken among the top 13 overall picks. Smith and Okung are elite players at premium positions.

Both teams have unanswered questions in that 14-40 range. The 49ers are waiting on A.J. Jenkins to produce. The Seahawks haven't gotten much from James Carpenter. But in Iupati and Thomas, the 49ers and Seahawks found players among the very best at their positions. Kaepernick's selection puts this group over the top for San Francisco. Seattle got eight sacks from Bruce Irvin as a rookie in 2012, so the Seahawks aren't far behind. It's just impossible to overlook the value a franchise quarterback provides.

Seattle has the edge in the 41-66 range. Mays is long gone from the 49ers. That leaves LaMichael James for the 49ers against Bobby Wagner and Golden Tate for Seattle. Wagner was an instant starter at middle linebacker and a three-down player who commanded consideration for defensive rookie of the year. Tate blossomed with Wilson at quarterback.

The Seahawks also have an edge in that 67-86 range, having selected Wilson.

Seattle holds a 7-3 lead in number of picks used between the 87th and 149th choices, a range producing five-year starters 16 percent of the time, according to Villiotti.

Both teams used picks in that range for players whose injury situations dragged down their draft status: Joe Looney in San Francisco, Walter Thurmond in Seattle. Both teams found starting linebackers in this range: Bowman to the 49ers, K.J. Wright to the Seahawks. Both teams found developmental running backs in that range: Kendall Hunter to the 49ers, Robert Turbin to the Seahawks. Both teams found Pro Bowl players: Bowman in San Francisco, Chancellor in Seattle.

Sherman, arguably the NFL's best cornerback, gives Seattle an edge in the 150 through 189 range of picks. Both teams found backup tight ends there. Anthony Dixon (49ers) and Jeremy Lane (Seahawks) have the potential to expand their roles.

The 49ers found starting fullback Bruce Miller in the final pick range, which runs from 190 to the end of the draft. Seattle found a projected starting guard there in J.R. Sweezy. Malcolm Smith is a candidate to start at linebacker for Seattle. Miller and Sweezy both played defense in college. Miller has already successfully transitioned to offense. Seattle thinks Sweezy will do the same.

Summing it up: Both teams can feel good about their draft performance over the past three seasons. I doubt either team would trade its picks for the other team's picks. That makes sense. Teams draft the players they like best. The 49ers have six projected 2013 starters to show for their choices. The number is eight for the Seahawks, not counting Irvin or Tate. Seattle has had more choices and higher quality choices, and more openings in the lineup to accommodate those players. I think that shows in the results.

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, which updates its rosters daily.

NFC West teams have drafted 22 defensive ends since 2002, a number smaller than I would have anticipated.

An even smaller number -- two! -- start for the teams that drafted them.

One, Antonio Smith, starts for another team.

A few notes relating to this latest item in a series examining various positions:
  • Kentwan Balmer appears as a defensive end because the San Francisco 49ers drafted him to play that position. Balmer played defensive tackle in college.
  • Darnell Dockett does not appear as a defensive end because the Arizona Cardinals drafted him to play defensive tackle. Yes, Dockett plays defensive end in the Cardinals' current scheme, but the NFL lists him as a tackle for Pro Bowl voting and he is not a typical defensive end even by 3-4 standards.
  • Of the 22, only Chris Long and Calais Campbell are starting for their original teams. Smith is starting for the Houston Texans.
  • Six of the eight most highly drafted ends since 2002 came from teams most recently affiliated with the ACC.
  • Long was the only player on the list drafted before the 28th overall choice.
  • Will Davis and Parys Haralson were listed as defensive ends coming out of college, but both projected as outside linebackers. That is why they do not appear below. Cody Brown also projects at linebacker.
  • I've used the term "not active" loosely in the charts to describe players who weren't on active rosters during the regular season recently.

Now, on to the charts. I've broken them up with italicized comments representing what NFL teams might have been thinking at corresponding stages of these drafts.

Playing it safe and hoping those NFL bloodlines pay off ...

Defensive linemen are at a premium, and we might find out why ...

The pure pass-rushers are gone by now ...

If these guys don't pan out, it'll be a while before we take another third-round end ...

It's an upset if we find a starter at this point ...

Time to fill out the practice squad, but you never know ...

Why Seattle named Mike Williams inactive

December, 12, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- Top receiver Mike Williams moved fairly well during warm-ups Sunday.

Williams' foot and ankle injuries threatened his ability to play a full game, however, and the Seattle Seahawks felt they could not commit a roster spot to him against San Francisco, particularly after Williams did not practice all week.

Williams does not play special teams, another consideration.

Keeping Williams active as a luxury would have required paring the roster elsewhere. The team did not feel comfortable sitting down one of its eight active defensive linemen.

The team needed to guard against depth issues on the defensive line in case nose tackle Colin Cole suffered another injury. Cole is coming back from an ankle injury and well ahead of Williams in the recovery process. He practiced all week.

Seattle kept eight defensive linemen active Sunday: ends Chris Clemons, Raheem Brock, Dexter Davis and Kentwan Balmer, plus tackles Brandon Mebane, Cole, Junior Siavii and Craig Terrill.

I would expect Williams to start against Atlanta in Week 15.
SEATTLE -- The Seahawks' list of players named inactive Sunday featured no surprises.

Cornerback Kelly Jennings and defensive end Brandon Mebane missed practices, so their inclusion on the inactive list had been expected. Mebane will have missed two games in a row after suffering a calf injury. Jennings suffered a hamstring injury in Week 6.

Also inactive for Seattle: Nate Ness, Dexter Davis, Allen Barbre, Chester Pitts, Anthony McCoy and E.J. Wilson.

2010 NFL Draft: NFC West player updates

October, 8, 2010
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is commanding most of the attention among NFC West rookies.

A quick look at Bradford and the division's other 2010 draft choices through Week 4:

Arizona Cardinals: First-round nose tackle Dan Williams was named inactive Sunday after failing to make weight requirements. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Williams got the message. Arizona has drafted its share of disappointing nose tackles. It's too early to know whether Williams will break the trend.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams' offensive line struggled in its only road game this season. Let's see whether rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold fares better at Detroit in Week 5. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui practiced some this week for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain. He could become a factor if the ankle allows.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers' top six picks are already making positive contributions. Coaches trusted Anthony Dixon on a third-and-1 carry against Atlanta in Week 4. Dixon picked up the first down. He scored a touchdown against New Orleans on his first carry this season.

Seattle Seahawks: Left tackle Russell Okung started but did not finish the St. Louis game. He's still working his way back from a high-ankle sprain. Walter Thurmond did not play even in a nickel or dime role when Marcus Trufant was cleared following an ankle injury, a bit of a surprise. Thurmond had worked as the starter in practice, so he might have faced a difficult adjustment to a more specialized role on game day.

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 27, Chargers 20

September, 26, 2010
SEATTLE -- Thoughts on the Seahawks' 27-20 win over the Chargers on Sunday:

What it means: The Seattle Seahawks look like they'll be tough at home this season. That makes them a threat to win the NFC West title given how unsettled the division appears heading into Week 4. Winning six or seven games at home seems plausible after victories over the San Francisco 49ers and, now, the Chargers (even though San Diego had 500-plus yards). If Seattle wins that many at home, why can't the team win a couple road games to get into that .500 range? Week 4 could tell us whether that might happen (Seattle visits St. Louis).

Big Revelation: Leon Washington must be all the way back from that devastating leg injury he suffered with the New York Jets last season. Washington's 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half gave Seattle a 17-0 lead. His 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown broke a 20-20 tie with 6:24 remaining in regulation. Washington nearly had another scoring chance on a return, but he slipped while cutting to make the last defender miss. Acquiring Washington from the Jets is looking like one of the better personnel moves in the NFL this season, at least after this game.

Strong draft in here: The Seahawks got key contributions from members of their 2010 draft class. Kam Chancellor forced a fumble during a kickoff return. Dexter Davis recovered. Earl Thomas picked off two passes, including one to secure the outcome. Golden Tate was strong on punt returns. He also factored into the game plan as a receiver. Getting first-rounder Russell Okung back from an ankle injury will only strengthen this class.

Hindsight: The Seahawks weren't concerned about cornerback depth when they traded Josh Wilson to Baltimore. The move reflected the Seahawks' thought that they would not re-sign him once his contract expired after the 2010 season. The move made sense from a long-term planning standpoint, particularly Roy Lewis and rookie Walter Thurmond impressing. But it was also arguably a premature move that unnecessarily weakened depth in the short term. Starter Marcus Trufant suffered an ankle injury in the second half Sunday. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had an easier time finding receivers immediately after Trufant departed (Trufant gave up a deep pass on the play in which he was injured, but overall he has played at a high level this season).

Critical Call: What was Pete Carroll thinking when he let the game clock run out before halftime with Seattle at the San Diego 2? The Seahawks went with a quarterback keeper on third-and-1 from the 2 with no timeouts and 19 seconds left when the previous play ended.

What's next: The Seahawks visit St. Louis in Week 4.

What to make of Seahawks' opener

September, 15, 2010
Raise your Seattle Seahawks pom-pom if you thought the team was going to put a 31-6 beatdown on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

The point: Only an optimistic Seattle fan could have seen it coming. Before the opener, I was hearing from fans who thought the team was doomed after making moves that appeared to be for the long term (but actually paid off right away in some cases).

I've gone through the game a second time and put together some thoughts.


[+] EnlargeHasselbeck
Joe Nicholson/US PresswireMatt Hasselbeck completed 78.3 percent of his passes in Sunday's win.
The biggest surprise, in my view, was the Seahawks' ability to hold up in pass protection. I thought Russell Okung's absence at left tackle and Alex Gibbs' abrupt resignation as line coach a week before the opener signaled bad, bad, things for Seattle. I thought line issues would prevent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from functioning against a 49ers defense that doesn't give much ground in the running game.

Tyler Polumbus was better than expected at left tackle, generally holding up against the 49ers' pass-rushers even when Seattle did not help him. I underestimated him. I also underestimated the impact offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates would have on this game. The 49ers probably did, too. They were outcoached. Bates showed an ability and willingness to adjust that I cannot recall seeing from a Seahawks staff. Mike Holmgren could be a brilliant playcaller, but his implementation of a rigid system was his strength -- and also a weakness, I thought, when personnel issues begged for greater flexibility.

Give Holmgren three or four seasons to implement his system with the same core players and he'll field a diverse, dynamic offense. Give Bates one offseason to work with a reconfigured roster and he'll field the best possible offense for that week. That is my general impression after one week. Can Bates keep it going against defenses that will be increasingly familiar with Seattle's personnel and tendencies? That will be tougher -- the 49ers did not play smart or particularly well -- but there was much for Seattle to like about the first game. I'm thinking Bates will have a good plan against Denver, his former team.

The combination of Bates and Hasselbeck made the 49ers look silly at times on defense. They baited defensive players into jumping short routes, only to strike further downfield with double moves. These were not halftime adjustments, either. Seattle implemented them on the fly after 49ers cornerback Nate Clements picked off Hasselbeck's first pass with a bold gamble. A double move freed Mike Williams for a 35-yard gain against Clements in the second quarter. Tight end John Carlson used a similar move to outfox safety Michael Lewis for a 19-yard gain (Lewis even held on the play, but Seattle declined the penalty).

Speaking of Williams, did you notice his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame powering through illegal contact (declined) from Shawntae Spencer? Williams caught a pass for 17 yards on the play. A smaller receiver -- even a veteran such as T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- might not have made that play appear effortless. Releasing Houshmandzadeh looked like a get-young move at the expense of the short term. So far, not so much. Deon Butler and Deion Branch caught touchdown passes. Williams' size gave Seattle something it couldn't get from Houshmandzadeh on the outside.

Bates' preference for using two tight ends was well known. I had joked last week that we might see the team using four tight ends at once -- all aligned to protect Hasselbeck from the 49ers' onslaught. Get this: Hasselbeck completed all four pass attempts for 32 yards and a touchdown from a personnel grouping the team ran very sparingly over the previous decade: one back, three tight ends, one receiver. That's right, three tight ends. And those extra tight ends weren't lining up primarily as pass protectors, either.

Hasselbeck attempted passes from each of the seven primary NFL personnel groupings, unusual for an NFL team during a single game. The running game didn't gain much traction, but most offenses aren't going to run effectively against the 49ers.


The Seahawks are bigger on their defensive line and the results were mostly predictable.

Nose tackle Colin Cole was more active than I might have anticipated, tracking runners after they had broken through the line.

Defensive end Chris Clemons validated coach Pete Carroll's theory -- hope, really -- that Seattle would have success generating a pass rush when backed by crowd noise at Qwest Field. Clemons was a problem for the 49ers. He beat left tackle Joe Staley a few times, and quarterback Alex Smith wasn't able to beat pressure.

The secondary was supposed to be better, and it was, with cornerback Marcus Trufant healthy and rookie free safety Earl Thomas providing needed range at safety. I was surprised to see cornerback Kelly Jennings tackling fearlessly and effectively. Thomas was also a very willing tackler.

Having Lofa Tatupu healthy and back in the lineup at middle linebacker made a significant difference. His feel for the game and ability to communicate information to teammates brings together the defense. Few linebackers have a better feel for the game.

Second-year linebacker Aaron Curry showed good strength and tenacity. I don't get the feeling Seattle wants to see him in coverage much. The 49ers' Delanie Walker was a tough cover for him. But Curry appeared to make positive contributions near the line of scrimmage.

Special teams

The 49ers had a couple decent returns, but Seattle's coverage teams hit hard. Dexter Davis made Ted Ginn Jr. pay for a 16-yard punt return.

Leon Washington had a 41-yard return for Seattle. The snapper, Clint Gresham, did one-hop a punt snap.

2010 NFL Draft: NFC West player updates

September, 11, 2010
NFC West teams are relying on 2010 draft choices to varying degrees.

I'll update their statuses here before heading to the airport for a longer-than-usual travel day (no direct flights to St. Louis).

Will check back on the blog as time permits.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Let's start with the Cardinals. They've got one starter from their rookie class. Seventh-rounder Jim Dray earned a spot in part because he factors on special teams, making him a better value than Anthony Becht in the team's eyes, particularly with Stephen Spach contributing. Andre Roberts struggled, as rookie receivers often do, and it's unclear how much Arizona will get from him as a return specialist. Williams should play right away.

The Rams are counting on their first two 2010 picks to man the two most important positions on offense. No pressure, Sam Bradford or Rodger Saffold. I'm interested in seeing how much the rookie tight ends transform that position this season. The team needs life at tight end, no question.

The 49ers have moved both first-round offensive linemen into the starting lineup. Neither has disappointed. There will be growing pains, most likely, but the 49ers upgraded the talent level of their line from Week 1.

Losing Okung indefinitely to an ankle injury was a downer for Seattle, but the team will likely get him back early in the season. Okung was looking good and should stabilize the position. Thurmond outperformed expectations, making Josh Wilson expendable in the Seahawks' eyes. This rookie class should play more extensively than most.

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.

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

Seattle Seahawks cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Biggest surprise: The Seahawks had a choice. They could guarantee $7 million to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and send him against opposing secondaries, or they could guarantee $7 million to him and tell him to play somewhere else. They chose the latter option, a surprise only because of the money involved. Houshmandzadeh wasn't a natural fit on a rebuilding team. It's still fair to wonder why a team without great depth would dump its most productive and most proven wide receiver, particularly with so much guaranteed money at stake. If nothing else, the Seahawks are proving to their players that even the most established veterans aren't safe.

No-brainers: Jordan Babineaux, Julius Jones and Craig Terrill stuck around on the initial reduction to 53. I wondered if the team might find younger and cheaper alternatives in one or more of their cases. That could still happen, but the Josh Wilson trade seemed to make Babineaux more valuable because he could play corner in a pinch (he has in the past, anyway). Jones wasn't great during preseason, but neither was the running game overall. The decision to keep four tight ends came as little surprise given the alternatives.

What’s next: The Seahawks have only five linebackers on their 53-man roster after Leroy Hill went on the reserve/suspended list. That's an extremely low number. Dexter Davis could provide some flexibility there. Six linebackers seems like a reasonable minimum. The team was working to finalize a trade for Philadelphia's Stacy Andrews after placing veteran tackle Ray Willis on injured reserve. Seattle could be active in the waiver market and it's still possible the team could make a play for San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson. This is definitely the initial 53-man roster in Seattle, not the final one. I haven't heard anything on the Matt Leinart front. The Seahawks might keep only two quarterbacks. The Packers tended to keep two quarterbacks when John Schneider, the Seahawks' new general manager, was with Green Bay.

Seahawks players cut:

S Jamar Adams
CB Marcus Brown
C Jeff Byers
G Mitch Erickson
CB Cord Parks
LB Joe Pawelek
T Jacob Phillips
DT Quinn Pitcock
RB Louis Rankin
DE Rob Rose
T Joe Toledo
TE Nick Tow-Arnett
DT Amon Gordon
LB Tyjuan Hagler
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
WR Brandon Jones
QB J.P. Losman
WR Ruvell Martin
DE James Wyche
DT Jonathan Lewis
DE Nick Reed
A few thoughts and observations while watching all four NFC West teams play their final games of the 2010 exhibition season:
  • Matt Leinart played long enough to attempt five passes for the Arizona Cardinals. The offense didn't do much. Leinart passed for 14 yards. The fact that he played at all suggests there could still be a spot for him on the roster, but it's an upset if he has a future in Arizona. Third-stringer Max Hall has a much greater chance of sticking around long term. The Cardinals like his intangibles, and the way he has produced during preseason.
  • Hall outplayed fellow rookie John Skelton. The Cardinals might be best off keeping Derek Anderson, Leinart and Hall for now, then figuring out what to do with Leinart depending on what other options come available.
  • Cardinals running back Beanie Wells suffered a leg injury and was seen with ice on his shin area. That's a tough ending to a nondescript exhibition season for Wells, and another tough break for Arizona. This team has seen Leinart implode, Larry Fitzgerald sprain a knee and Wells limp off the field 10 days before the opener.
  • Sam Bradford has to be the choice as the St. Louis Rams' starting quarterback. The Rams weren't going to force the issue, but if Bradford looked the part and produced, they weren't going to hold him back. Bradford has looked the part and he produced again Thursday night, albeit against the Baltimore Ravens' backups. Bradford completed all six of his passes and appeared in full command while leading a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on his only possession. He even ran the no-huddle offense. Case closed.
  • Several young NFC West receivers made big plays. The San Francisco 49ers' Dominique Zeigler didn't get both feet down while making a one-handed grab in the end zone, but the play was sensational. Golden Tate, Ben Obomanu and especially Deon Butler (100-plus yards) stood out for Seattle. Butler broke two arm tackles during a 26-yard touchdown reception. The Cardinals' Stephen Williams made a 20-yard grab and teammate Onrea Jones atoned for a special-teams miscue by showing power and determination in charging toward the goal line following a reception. The Rams' Dominique Curry, who enjoyed a strong camp and could be fighting for a roster spot, stood out for his blocking.
  • Ex-49ers receiver Brandon Jones, trying to earn a roster spot in Seattle, dropped a pass on third down.
  • Cardinals second-round choice Daryl Washington gets to the football in a hurry. Next to Bradford, he might be the most impressive rookie in the division to this point.
  • The Seahawks rested their starting quarterback and starting receivers. Receiver Mike Williams played quite a bit and again showed why he should be part of the rotation. The Seahawks might feel good enough about their young depth at receiver to go young at the position -- it's what they want to do, anyway -- but they would have a hard time getting trade value for veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh, whose $7 million salary is guaranteed.
  • Rams tight end Daniel Fells was shaken up early in the game, then committed a penalty upon his return (he also had an 18-yard reception). Will the Rams go with younger players at the position? Rookie Mike Hoomanawanui had a 27-yard reception. He's a keeper.
  • The 49ers' Anthony Dixon ran hard and showed elusiveness during a 46-yard touchdown run, but he also suffered injured ribs. Rib injuries linger, but the 49ers shouldn't need Dixon on offense for some time (if at all).
  • Seahawks rookie Dexter Davis might have surpassed the injured Nick Reed as the Seahawks' second-best pass-rusher. We'll see what it means for the regular season. Seattle will need Aaron Curry to make an impact in that area.
  • A rough preseason for 49ers third-string quarterback Nate Davis got rougher when the San Diego Chargers picked off two of his first 15 passes (not necessarily Davis' fault entirely as there were dropped passes). Davis has talent and potential. He can look very good. He did move the 49ers into scoring position late, delivering a short touchdown pass. Overall, the comments coach Mike Singletary made questioning Davis' preparation stick in my mind as the 53-man deadline approaches. A public wakeup call, or an omen?

All that said, this was the fourth exhibition game. We'll forget what happened in another week.

Experience teaches restraint when deciding how much energy to spend worrying about when NFL draft choices will sign.

Most sign before training camps open. Some sign shortly after training camps open. A few sign later.

Sam Bradford's signing status is the one that matters most in the NFC West -- and in the NFL -- this season. But as Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says in the video, it's an upset if he's not in camp soon.




Thursday, 9/18
Sunday, 9/21
Monday, 9/22