The injury situation, proximity to PUP decision time, and quality of play issues to date make for a few interesting roster talk issues.
QB: We probably don't have any real feedback on Greg McElroy in his PS role to date, but Zac Robinson will be making his way off the PUP in a couple of weeks. Robinson is no longer PS eligible, so it would seem that it's the end of the road for him at that time unless we have an injury to a current roster QB or decided to go with 3 roster QBs AND we pick Robinson over McElroy or other options.
RB: I'd say that Bernard has met or exceeded expectations to date, while the Law Firm has lost another step. That probably still doesn't change our plans for 2012, and I expect our 4 roster RBs to stay the same unless we see an injury or a change in quality of play. Rex Burkhead has not made it onto the game day Active list yet. Peerman has only played STs (and recovered Tate's fumbled KR last week vs. GB). Dan Herron still occupies a PS spot.
FB/TE: The TE situation has worked out very well with our three roster guys, and there is no indication to me that they're unhappy with what they're getting from Alex Smith who has played a lot on STs and some in short yardage packages on O. There is ample evidence to think that Orson Charles' roster spot is shaky. He had a key penalty vs. the Bears and was Inactive vs. the Steelers. He played on STs vs. GB, but I didn't notice him much on O. And it seems they've gone to using Eifert some as an H-Back in situations. Chris Pressely comes off PUP soon, and there will be another decision to be made. FYI, John Connor got picked up by the NYG this past week.
WR: We are carrying our standard WR roster of 6 players, have Baby Hawk on PUP-return, and have Cobi Hamilton on PS. When Hawkins returns from IR, it will give our O a boost with a quicker guy in the slot. This will probably also push either Sanzenbacher or Whalen off the roster. At this point I'm actually in favor of keeping Sanzenbacher over Whalen when that time comes because I don't see Whalen contributing, while Sanzenbacher can fill in for Tate in his RS roles in the event of injury. Tate is an odd character of sorts because we keep counting him off the roster and he keeps sticking onto it. He has been a steady PR with respect to ball protection - in fact, he's gotten much better in his role there although he doesn't have the quickness you'd like to see in a highly effective PR. As a KR, Tate is average at best, and he put the ball on the ground last week. Tate did well at WR in pre-season, but they're not giving him any snaps in the regular season. As for Hamilton, I don't expect him to come off the PS unless there is a rash of WR injuries or another team signs him.
OL: After some concern about Whit, it looks like he's doing okay. We'll have to wait and see about the longer term prognosis with his knee. Hopefully, it's not a chronic issue that is going to limit his playing days. Our starters are now set and are doing well. Plus, AC has done a nice job in spots for Whit. Of course, we have released Roland twice, and he is currently off the roster. So it looks like we are in the process of moving on with our two potential draft pick replacements in roster player Tanner Hawkinson and PS RT Reid Fragel. The only other two to discuss on the roster are interior backups Mike Pollak, who is still recovering from injury and who the staff seems to really like, as well as Trevor Robinson who has struggled in 2013 while overcoming injury after having a nice rookie season in 2012. It's probably worth noting that we're really heavy at interior OL as we also carry rookie draft pick TJ Johnson on the PS.
DL: Robert Geathers is now out for the season with some sort of elbow injury, and that puts the roster back to 8 players here. Margus Hunt hasn't been active on game day yet, and that may change with Geathers injury. One note here is that we continue to hold DeQuin Evans on the Suspended list. He'll come off that in mid-season after which he'll likely move on if we haven't sustained any additional DE injuries by that time. Another note in passing is that Dontay Moch now resides on the AZ Cards active list.
LB: I'd say the situation here is at Defcon 4 as we only carry 5 roster guys with one of them (DiManche) not ready to play on D. Essentially, Vinnie Rey, our STs captain, is backing up all the LB spots, and we're in a lot of trouble on game day if he, Burfict, or Maualuga gets injured. This likely is taking a toll on our STs play as well. We have Schaffer on the PS, but evidently the staff does not see him as a solution on our roster. I expect us to sign a FA or trade for LB before the end of the season (and hopefully a lot sooner than that).
DB: We took a big hit last week at CB with injuries to Hal and Pacman to add to the pre-existing injuries to Kirkpattick and Ghee. Throw in there that Reggie Nelson is out this week at Safety, while the Ravens picked up Jeromy Miles while we were playing musical chairs with him on the roster. Pacman and Ghee do seem OK to play this week, but we've had to sign Chris Crocker, CLH, and Curtis Marsh to the roster such that we're now carrying 12 DBs. We probably will need to slim back to 10-11 when guys get healthy, and it's tough to say who will stay and who will go. Taylor Mays has played a lot better than most expected so far this regular season. Shawn Williams has not answered the bell in his rookie season thus far. Iloka is really coming along and has recently made some nice plays. My guess is that CLH will likely go back to PS when the dust settles, and we'll consider releasing Brandon Ghee if he is unable to contribute in the next few weeks. My guess is that we'll prefer to go giving Marsh a chance instead of keeping an injured Ghee who becomes a UFA after the season. Don't forget Onterrio McCalebb who is getting some seasoning on PS. And a trivia note: Shaun Prater went to the Eagles who dropped Curtis Marsh to acquire him.
STs: No big moves here. Our three specialists continue to perform steadily and well.
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