Around the NFC West: Seattle's receivers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Clark Judge of CBS SportsLine singles out five things to know about the Seahawks. His No.1 concern: the situation at receiver. Specifically, Judge raises concerns about the absence of a receiver to stretch the defense. A question: When was the last time Mike Holmgren had that type of receiver? The answer: Joey Galloway, and Holmgren promptly traded him. The team tried to draft such a receiver in Koren Robinson, but the Seahawks enjoyed much greater success after getting rid of him. The best team in Seahawks history made a Super Bowl run when Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram suffered significant injuries. Joe Jurevicius didn't stretch defenses, but he caught the ball and made clutch plays. A deep threat would certainly help in theory, but Holmgren has managed to run his offense without one.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune sees very good things from Seahawks rookie tight end John Carlson. The Seahawks will improve if they can call plays without regard for which running backs and tight ends are on the field. In recent seasons, they wouldn't want Shaun Alexander in the backfield to pass block, and they wouldn't want tight end Jerramy Stevens on the field to seal the edge in the running game, and they wouldn't want tight end Will Heller in the game if they needed a tight end to release far downfield. Holmgren very much likes the idea of keeping an open playbook without being limited by one-dimensional personnel at running back and tight end.

At 49ers camp, first-round defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer and veteran receiver Ashley Lelie are back at practice, Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows report.

Barrows describes the 49ers as divided over their quarterbacks. The way he sees things, offensive coordinator Mike Martz favors J.T. O'Sullivan because they were together in Detroit; coach Mike Nolan favors Shaun Hill because Hill won games for the team late last season; and general manager Scot McCloughan favors Alex Smith because drafting Smith first overall was McCloughan's first major personnel decision. Of course, Nolan was above McCloughan in the personnel command chain at that time, but his falling out with Smith last season surely had an impact.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider scores another victory for O'Sullivan in practice. The 49ers have said they'll make the quarterback decision by committee, but would they really force the team to start someone other than Martz's choice? Something to consider if you think Martz would be inclined to favor O'Sullivan.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are much better off at cornerback after drafting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Arizona's improvement at corner comes as the NFC West's passing games are in transition. The Rams are lining up without Isaac Bruce for the first time since 1993. The 49ers don't have a starting quarterback. The Seahawks are still settling on their rotation at receiver while Deion Branch recovers from knee surgery.
Mike Detillier of houmatoday.com takes a look at how veteran NFL players would fit if they changed teams. He gives Shawne Merriman to the Rams, Ben Roethlisberger to the 49ers, Walter Jones to the Cardinals and cruiserweight champion Steve Smith to the Seahawks. I think it's a fun read.