NFL Nation: LaRon Byrd

Eight in the Box: WR status check

March, 29, 2013
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

How does each team look at wide receiver and what still needs to be done?

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd comprise a solid top three. LaRon Byrd and Kerry Taylor are the only other receivers on the roster. First-year coach Bruce Arians has said receiver is one position he doesn't worry about. Floyd's continued development after an encouraging finish to the 2012 season will be important. The former coaching staff envisioned moving Roberts to the slot, with Fitzgerald and Floyd on the perimeter. That could still happen. Arians also plans to move Fitzgerald around the formation the way he moved Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis last season. Drafting a receiver for depth would make sense, but there's no need to chase one early. The Cardinals released veteran Early Doucet, who struggled with drops last season.

St. Louis Rams: Chris Givens, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis are the top three. Nick Johnson and Raymond Radway are the only other receivers on the roster. The Rams are eager to develop young players. Givens had five receptions of at least 50 yards during his 2012 rookie season, matching the combined total for wide receivers from every other team in the division. Pettis made a difference around the end zone. The Rams still must add to the position after letting Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson leave in free agency. Having two first-round picks should give the Rams an opportunity to consider a highly rated prospect at the position. It's clear the team is committed to youth regardless. We should remember, too, that recently added tight end Jared Cook lines up at receiver quite a bit. He made all but six of his 42 receptions from the slot last season.

San Francisco 49ers: Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are clearly the top two receivers. Mario Manningham is coming off ACL surgery, took a pay reduction recently and might not figure prominently this season. The 49ers, like the Rams, could use more contributions from a receiver drafted early in 2012. A.J. Jenkins, chosen 30th overall and three spots before the Rams selected Quick, did not catch a pass during his rookie season. What's ahead for him? The 49ers aren't saying much. No one is quite sure. Coach Jim Harbaugh recently sounded more excited about former practice-squad wideout Ricardo Lockette, whose size-speed combination sets him apart from most prospects. Lockette flashed ability with Seattle previously, but his career never took off with the Seahawks. Kyle Williams, Chad Hall, Joe Hastings and Marlon Moore are the other receivers on the roster.

Seattle Seahawks: The addition of Percy Harvin changed the outlook for the position quite a bit. He and Sidney Rice appear to be the top two receivers, but Golden Tate is gaining momentum heading into his contract year. Rice and Tate each caught seven touchdown passes last season. Both averaged 15-plus yards per reception. Doug Baldwin needs improved health to factor as a slot receiver. Even then, opportunities could be scarce. The team thinks Phil Bates and former Cardinals receiver Stephen Williams have the potential to become contributors. Bryan Walters, Charly Martin and Jermaine Kearse are the other receivers on the roster. Drafting for the position would help for long-term planning given Tate's contract situation. Also, injuries have limited Harvin, Rice and Baldwin at times in recent seasons. Rice did stay healthy last season, however.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two of the running backs the San Francisco 49ers named inactive Monday night would be starting if available to the opposition.

Such is the injury imbalance for the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.

Running backs Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are both inactive for the 49ers. Arizona is without its top two backs, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.

Also inactive for the 49ers: quarterback Scott Tolzien, receiver A.J. Jenkins, safety Trenton Robinson, guard Joe Looney and nose tackle Ian Williams.

The Cardinals' list features quarterback Kevin Kolb, receiver LaRon Byrd, cornerback Greg Toler, linebacker Jamaal Westerman, guard Senio Kelemete, guard Adam Snyder and tight end Todd Heap.

Rich Ohrnberger will start ahead of Snyder at right guard. LaRod Stephens-Howling starts at running back for Arizona. Wells can return from injured reserve Nov. 25. Williams is out for the season.

Marshawn Lynch active for Seahawks

September, 9, 2012
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Seattle Seahawks will have running back Marshawn Lynch for their regular-season opener despite back spasms that limited him in practice recently.

Lynch is active for the game. Seattle named the following players inactive: Kregg Lumpkin, Byron Maxwell, John Moffitt, James Carpenter, Golden Tate, Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs.

Moffitt was the starting right guard early in camp, but rookie J.R. Sweezy took over the job. Lemuel Jeanpierre is the primary backup at the interior offensive line spots. He started some last season.

Arizona named cornerback Greg Toler inactive. Others: Ryan Lindley, LaRon Byrd, William Powell, Jamaal Westerman, Senio Kelemete and Pat McQuistan.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The roughly 15,000 people at University of Phoenix Stadium cheered loudest when receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald snatched deep passes during the Arizona Cardinals' FanFest practice Wednesday night.

While those plays were naturally favorites, the ones most significant to the Cardinals' 2012 season generated no discernible buzz. These three plays meant everything to second-year running back Ryan Williams, who was back on the field for his most meaningful work since suffering a torn patella during the 2011 exhibition season.

"The adrenalin is pumping right now," Williams said on the field following the practice. "It was the first time I actually ran full speed (since the injury). ... I reassured myself. I've got about three months left before the season and I'll be good to go for the season."

The Cardinals need better luck with injuries at the position. Beanie Wells remains sidelined by knee surgery his agent described as a clean-out procedure. Wells, who topped 1,000 yards rushing last season despite playing hurt for stretches, worked with a trainer on the sideline during practice.

This was the second of three non-contact minicamp days for the Cardinals before the team breaks until training camp. Players wore helmets but no pads.

As the session was winding down, Williams lined up at halfback from the I-formation with two tight ends. Fitzgerald lined up wide to the right. Williams took the handoff up the middle, made a cut and churned his legs through a mass of linemen. This was as close as Williams could come to simulating a game situation under the circumstances.

"You can't really make your full reads when everybody is two-hand touching you," Williams said. "I was just trying to make my reads, seeing if I still have it."

A few more notes from practice Wednesday night:
  • Tight end Rob Housler stands out for his size-speed combination. The Cardinals thought all along Housler would emerge in his second season, after adapting to the pro game following a college career at Florida Atlantic. Housler will be a player to watch when the Cardinals put on the pads at training camp.
  • Cornerback Greg Toler appeared to be practicing without fear, a good sign after recovering from season-ending knee surgery. Toler contested one pass to Fitzgerald about as aggressively as the rules would allow.
  • Andre Roberts dropped a ball early, but he caught several and played much better last season than his stats indicated, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. The Cardinals feel as though they had receivers running open all season, if only their quarterbacks could have found them.
  • Speaking of the quarterbacks, they hit some passes and missed a few. As much as I'd like to declare Kevin Kolb or John Skelton the early leader in their competition, this job will be won or lost during camp. I did catch up with Kolb and quarterbacks coach John McNulty during this trip. More on them as time permits.
  • Undrafted rookie receiver LaRon Byrd made an impressive leaping grab in the corner of the end zone. He's 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. The Cardinals like his potential. He'll be a player to watch in camp. The game changes when players put on the pads. Many little-known receivers have impressed early in camp, only to fade when exhibition games start. That might not happen for Byrd, of course, but the disclaimer is worth keeping in mind.

That's it from Cardinals camp. I'm on an early flight Friday to Seattle and plan to check in from Seahawks camp then. Also, I'll be processing multiple interviews from San Francisco 49ers and Cardinals camps once I'm back on a regular schedule.

As for St. Louis, not to worry. I'm already booked for an extended stay at Rams camp beginning in late July.




Thursday, 9/25
Sunday, 9/28
Monday, 9/29