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Battle pressing Morgan for 49ers' WR job

Posted Sept. 06, 2009 @ 11:18 a.m.

By PFW staff

• We hear Niners veteran WR Arnaz Battle could be making a late charge to take over the starting job of second-year pro Josh Morgan, who had a combined one catch for seven yards in the team's second and third preseason games. "He's so strong with the ball in his hands," Niners QB Shaun Hill said of Battle in a Sept. 1 press briefing. "He's tough to bring down with one guy, and he's always falling forward. He's probably one of the better yards-after-contact guys that we have in the receiving corps."

• Word is the Cardinals are a bit concerned about the injuries that have ganged up on their highly regarded WR corps. No. 3 WR Steve Breaston missed extended time with a knee injury, a sore hamstring forced three-time Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin to miss the final two preseason games and WR Early Doucet — who was hindered by a hamstring tear as a rookie and suffered a shoulder sprain in training camp — is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks after suffering fractured ribs in the team's third preseason game.

• While Rams third-year CB Jonathan Wade is considered the best bet to replace the departed Tye Hill on the right corner — Hill was traded to Atlanta in exchange for a seventh-round draft choice in 2010 — we hear new Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is very hesitant to fully anoint Wade as the new starter. "But he's definitely improved," said a team insider of Wade. "He's a sure tackler, he's fast and he's bigger and more physical than Hill." But as is the case with the team's WR corps, the lack of overall experience in the CB corps (Wade has only two pro starts) is "a very scary proposition," according to the insider.

• Our sources in Seattle tell us that both head coach Jim Mora and team president/GM Tim Ruskell wasted no time disputing the rumors that WR Deion Branch, whose $5 million salary seems out of sync with what appears to be a new No. 3 WR role, could be released by the team. "They actually think that as the slot guy in the three-wide, he will feel less wear and tear, and that it will help him," one source told PFW.

• We hear the Seahawks would rather avoid trading for help on their crippled offensive line, which is currently operating without starting OLT Walter Jones and starting C Chris Spencer. "It's possible (that they might consider a trade), but they're worried about how long it would take for any new players to assimilate the offensive scheme," said one team insider.

• Cowboys fans have been a bit anxious to see the full-fledged breakout of TE Martellus Bennett in the preseason, but they hadn't really done so, despite his leading the team in receptions. But part of that may be by design. Despite the team using Bennett in most of the goal-line situations, he hasn't been targeted much near the endzone, and we hear that might be a deliberate decision by the coaching staff, which would like to keep opponents from seeing too much of how the Cowboys would like to utilize Bennett this season.

• The Cowboys feel better about backup OLT Doug Free. He was considered a player who needed a strong preseason, and he mostly has responded well. The Cowboys' OL depth has appeared thin, and Free could go a long way toward easing concerns if he continues to progress.

• Keep an eye on Lions rookie RB Aaron Brown. He might have his biggest impact on special teams, but he has flashes as a third-down running back, too, with his quickness and elusiveness.

• When asked to pick a most improved Bear from the start of training camp to now, one team insider selected newly acquired OG Frank Omiyale. "He really started out slow but then came on really strong once the (preseason) games started and clearly won the starting OLG job from Josh Beekman." Interestingly, Omiyale gives Beekman the most credit for helping him adapt to his new surroundings, claiming that the '08 starter at left guard was the first new teammate with whom Omiyale really hit it off.

• We hear that recent injuries to both Packers CB-RS Will Blackmon (deep thigh bruise) and backup RB Brandon Jackson (left ankle) are a lot worse than they first appeared, with no time frame available at present on either of their recoveries.

• Word is Chauncey Davis is ahead of Jamaal Anderson in the battle to become the Falcons' starting left defensive end. After Anderson had started all but one game in the first two seasons of his career, head coach Mike Smith announced Anderson's spot would be open for competition in training camp, and Davis has continued to prove he's the more effective pass rusher.

• Buccaneers WR Maurice Stovall earned an edge in the battle to become the team's No. 3 receiver with his performance in the third exhibition game when he and QB Byron Leftwich seemed to click. However, close observers say the trend throughout his career has been for him to instill hope during the preseason before ultimately disappointing in the games that count. Injuries have also been an issue for the 6-5, 220-pounder. Thus, there's reason to be skeptical about his chances of finally putting things together in Year Four.

• The Panthers traded a late-round draft pick to the Browns for DT Louis Leonard on Sept. 1, but sources say Carolina is not content with the interior of its defensive line and will likely pursue other options, whether through a signing or a trade. Leonard would have struggled to make Cleveland's roster had Carolina not made a trade offer for him, and he isn't the answer to fill the large void left by DT Maake Kemoeatu's season-ending Achilles tear.

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Who cares at this point. I have grown tired of this whole JA98 vs Davis thing. I really hope that neither is on the field during passing downs and we see some combination of Sidbury, Abe, and Beirmann, i think they give us the best chance of getting to the QB from the DE position.

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look at Frank Omiyale winning the starting OG spot in Chicago. Good job!

Did Petrino release him or Smith?

Yea man... Frank Omiyale played LT for the Panthers last year at the end of the year...... Dude was playing good........ He has been balling in Chicago also

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Why are you guys so stuck on who starts...... Like Coach Smitgh,... It really does not matter....... I agree Beirmann has played his butt off this preseason but its a reason they want him to come in as a rotational guy right now...

I believe Beirmann and Sidbury has what it takes to become a starter one day but maybe its not their time yet......... It doesn't matter tho.... They will get allot of playing time so they will have time to produce.

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Who cares at this point. I have grown tired of this whole JA98 vs Davis thing. I really hope that neither is on the field during passing downs and we see some combination of Sidbury, Abe, and Beirmann, i think they give us the best chance of getting to the QB from the DE position.

my thoughts exactly!!!

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bierman erned a spot on the 53 man roster. thats it. he is still a liability Against Starters vs the run.

chauncy is no better at rushing than jamall and isn't as stout against the run.

JA98 played well in the preseason, against the run and he has collapsed the pocket and allowed others to get the sacks, and has pressures, holding penalties callet on RT, knock downs, hurries.

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bierman erned a spot on the 53 man roster. thats it. he is still a liability Against Starters vs the run.

chauncy is no better at rushing than jamall and isn't as stout against the run.

JA98 played well in the preseason, against the run and he has collapsed the pocket and allowed others to get the sacks, and has pressures, holding penalties callet on RT, knock downs, hurries.

Anderson has looked like a good backup/below average starter this preseason. About the same as Davis.

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Why are you guys so stuck on who starts...... Like Coach Smitgh,... It really does not matter....... I agree Beirmann has played his butt off this preseason but its a reason they want him to come in as a rotational guy right now...

I believe Beirmann and Sidbury has what it takes to become a starter one day but maybe its not their time yet......... It doesn't matter tho.... They will get allot of playing time so they will have time to produce.

With regard to Biermann, reasonable statement ... and normally I'd agree ... but after watching Biermann at training camp ... and how quickly he is progressing at ALL aspects of the position ... and how he has physically and metaphysically transformed himself (the guy is hard to recognize one week to the next)...

I mean there is something going on with Biermann.

It is still pretty early ... but it appears he has the proverbial "it".

... we will know soon enough.

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With regard to Biermann, reasonable statement ... and normally I'd agree ... but after watching Biermann at training camp ... and how quickly he is progressing at ALL aspects of the position ... and how he has physically and metaphysically transformed himself (the guy is hard to recognize one week to the next)...

I mean there is something going on with Biermann.

It is still pretty early ... but it appears he has the proverbial "it".

... we will know soon enough.

Yeah, I'd say he has "it"!!! Look at this video:

He is bad azz and is only going to get better! He has a nose for the ball.

GO FALCONS!!!

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before this seasons end Biermann will make statement as to his bid as a starter or he will become a starter this yr over Anderson and Davis , count on it , because he has the motor to play 60+min at full speed that the others don't have .

Yeah, I agree... Biermann has proved himself so far, JA98 seems to think because he was drafted so high that he is untouchable as far as getting replaced... Reality is about to bite him in the ***

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I was at the Chargers preseason and specifically watched Biermann when they ran at him as his biggest problem was getting overpowered at the point of attack last year. His extra weight this year serves him well. He looks every bit as fast and held his ground just fine when they ran right at him. He also made some special teams plays that game.

I think it is nice to have quality options and depth to provide fresh legs and pressure depending on down and distance situations.

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