49ers OC Mike McDaniel highlighted veteran WR Mohamed Sanu as a player that going to be “tough to beat out” for a roster spot.
“Mohamed Sanu is a player that we have history with, not just last year briefly, but in Atlanta for 2016. And, I think Mohamed Sanu serves as a good vision for a lot of the young guys because this dude came back in great shape and with something to prove,” McDaniel said. “You can tell that he doesn’t expect anything that to be given to him, and he’s trying to earn his spot on this team. So it was very exciting to see him perform. He was doing very well. And, if he comes back to training camp in that same shape, he’s going to be a guy that is going to be tough to beat out for that final 53 roster.”
Sanu will be a part of a positional battle during training camp for the third receiver spot on the 49ers offense. At the minimum, it appears Sanu is on track to serve as quality depth behind WR’s Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
Cardinals’ veteran CB Robert Alford has yet another chance waiting for him in 2021 after injuries have partially derailed his career for consecutive seasons. Alford made it clear that he hasn’t thought about retiring at all despite being bitten by the injury bug.
“Not at all, man,” Alford said, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “I’m not ready to hang it up at all. You’re always going to have dark times in anything that you do. If you love what you do, you’re going to use that to motivate you, and that’s what I’ve done with these last two years. I had to come back here. I had something to prove.”
Alford was originally due to count $9 million on the 2021 salary cap, but the Cardinals released him to save $7.5 million in cap space. They then signed him a few days later for the veteran minimum, which HC Kliff Kingsbury says Alford campaigned for.
“He basically told us ‘Hey I want to come back, I owe you guys, so I’ll come back for whatever deal because I owe the organization, I owe the Cardinals, and want to prove y’all were right about me.'” Kingsbury said. “We respect that a ton.”
Cardinals’ S Budda Baker says that Alford was effectively another coach on the sideline and remained heavily involved with the team despite his season-ending injuries.
“He’s a guy who is a big talker, a guy who loves the game, a guy who, last year, who had a season-ending injury and would still go to meetings, still goes to practice and watch practice and help young guys out, even help older guys out and seeing things,” Baker said. “Now that’s he’s on the field I know he’s excited and looks like the great Robert Alford, a fresh Robert Alford and I’m excited to see him play.”
Alford knows there is talk about him being unable to return to the same level at this point, but says he will use the negative comments as motivation.
“I hear the chatter,” Alford said. “I use it as motivation. But at the end of the day, all I can do is tell guys who wrote articles like that to stay tuned. Come to practice. I see it. I’m not a guy who is going to argue with nobody on social media. I let my play talk. I’ll tell them, just stay tuned.”
Rams WR Van Jefferson believes he has a better handle on what it takes to succeed in the NFL after his rookie season.
“I would say I’m more comfortable now. If I had to be honest, last year I was a rookie coming in and my head spinning and stuff like that, but I think I’m more comfortable now,” Jefferson said, via Rams Wire. “Last year was a lot of learning steps that I needed to learn, a lot of things I needed to know about the offense. But this offseason, me just honing in on the playbook, I’m a lot more comfortable. Like I said, rookie year, it was just a lot of things thrown at me but I handled it well, but I think this year, I’m really better at it and more comfortable in the offense.”
Jefferson added that a full offseason in person will be beneficial to his development.
“I think it’s very beneficial,” he said. “I think last year with the Zoom – the Zoom helped – but I think for me, I would rather do it. That’s the kind of learner I am. So I think now being here is kind of beneficial, being on the field and actually going through the plays and stuff like that. I think it’s helping me out more. I’m glad that the rookies get to experience this, as well. They can come in and learn things a lot quicker and do it themselves, so I think it’s very beneficial.”