Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates Mike Holmgren's visit with the Browns regarding a front-office position. O'Neill: "The fact that a formal meeting is taking place now shows Holmgren is seeking a resolution on where he will work next season. Holmgren said two weeks ago on his weekly radio show that he would be interested in talking to Seahawks owner Paul Allen or CEO Tod Leiweke about returning to the team." I can't see Holmgren rushing to take a job in Cleveland without waiting to see what other options might come available.
Also from O'Neil: a chat transcript featuring defense of Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. O'Neill: "I know that Greg Knapp has become someone targeted by fans. And that's understandable because the offense has been awful. But I'll ask this. What's the worst part of Seattle's offense? It's the offensive line. How many of the starting offensive linemen were added after Knapp's addition (i.e. are these the linemen he said he wanted?). The answer is Max Unger who has shown growth this year."
More from O'Neil: I initially missed this humorous look at the dance between Holmgren and the Seahawks.
Patrick McManamon of the Akron Beacon-Journal says Browns owner Randy Lerner is working hard to convince Holmgren that the job is for him. McManamon: "It's not known if Holmgren would accept a job immediately; he's a thoughtful guy who probably would want to think things through. But Browns owner Randy Lerner is working hard to convince Holmgren the Browns would be right for him."
Also from McManamon: why the Browns would be wise to hire Holmgren. McManamon: "Holmgren would have to prove he can judge, scout and choose talent, because there were issues in Seattle. But there are two factors that seem to lean to the positive end of things if he takes over. Holmgren would be doing one job, not two. And, if the Miami Dolphins model is followed, he would be hiring a GM as well. Which means there would be another layer of responsibility in the building, which means more people contributing to what we hope would be smart decisions. Holmgren's role, should he choose to accept it, would be to guide the ship."
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer cites a source saying the Browns might have to pay $10 million per year to land Holmgren. I cannot see many teams paying that much for the guy who hires the guy (general manager) who hires the guy (head coach). But the Browns probably would have to pay a premium to land Holmgren.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Nate Burleson hopes to play despite suffering a high-ankle sprain. Burleson: "I have a high tolerance for pain. I was able to go back in after I hurt it, so that's a good sign right there. Obviously, I want to get on the field and make plays. I was on the way to 1,000 yards and that was important to me. So we'll see what happens."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to find something positive from the Cardinals' 24-9 defeat at San Francisco in Week 14. Whisenhunt: "Our guys played hard, they didn't quit fighting. But seven turnovers ... it's very hard to overcome that. The only thing I will say positive about the game is, that with 12 minutes left, we were down by one score and we had the football." That seemed almost impossible, but there was still a sense the Cardinals would turn over the ball again, and they did.
Also from McManaman: The Cardinals aren't sure if Larry Fitzgerald will play in Week 15, but the wide receiver's knee injury does not appear serious. Safety Matt Ware's status remains unclear. More from Whisenhunt on the loss to the 49ers: "It's disappointing, but more so for our fans and the people who have supported us. It's tough enough for our football team. And it's tough because it's a division opponent that beat us twice this year. That burns in your gut. But it doesn't change the fact that we understand who we are, that we've played good football and more times than not, the team that showed up last Sunday against Minnesota is the one that showed up. And if we can get that team to continue to show up like we've done a good portion of the season, we'll be just fine."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Richie Incognito took the high road after the Rams released him, expressing no hard feelings toward coach Steve Spagnuolo or general manager Billy Devaney. Incognito: "We had a great conversation just talking football and life. At the end of the day it’s a business decision. I’m a professional ... onward and upward. I passed along to Spags and Billy. I told them they’re doing a wonderful job. I really do think Spags is doing a great job. It’s obvious what the team needs here, and it’s talent. It’s not a lack of coaching. And it’s not a lack of desire. It’s just a lack of talent right now. And they’ll get that sorted out. They’re the right men for the job."
Also from Thomas: The Rams are facing their second local blackout of the season Sunday. About 8,000 tickets remain unsold. The team plans to honor former defensive lineman Merlin Olsen, who is battling cancer.
More from Thomas: The Rams have placed left guard Jacob Bell on injured reserve. That means they'll have two new starting guards for the final three games. They are already missing right tackle Jason Smith. The offseason cannot arrive quickly enough.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers a player-by-player review of the 49ers' performance against the Cardinals in Week 14. On guard Chilo Rachal: "Started at right guard, and played a solid game. Gave up pressure to Darnell Dockett in first quarter, resulting in hit on Alex Smith. ... Got to the second level to make block on Karlos Dansby on Gore's 31-yard pickup in the second quarter. ... Pulled to make block on Gerald Hayes to enable Frank Gore to pick up 10 yards in the third quarter."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers pass-rusher Ahmad Brooks is a "rare talent" in Mike Singletary's eyes. Barrows: "But Brooks' transition from inside linebacker, which is what he was to start the 2008 season, to outside linebacker has been a slow process. During the 2008 season, the 49ers realized Brooks was a better fit as a pass rusher and they began giving him repetitions as a defensive end on the scout team. Brooks went through the 2009 offseason as Parys Haralson's back up at Will outside linebacker."
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers are the only team with a losing record to have a turnover differential of plus-four or better. Getting seven turnovers in one game skewed the totals. Also, cornerback Shawntae Spencer fared well against Fitzgerald, in part because he was familiar with the Arizona receiver after covering him for two years of college practices at Pitt.
Also from Crumpacker: Frank Gore has a good chance to reach 1,000 yards rushing this season.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says information passed along through Maiocco's Twitter account during the Michael Crabtree negotiations might have helped the 49ers reach an agreement on their terms. Kawakami: "(York) and his negotiators were locked in the long talks held at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto. It was clear they were close, but there were still issues. York left the talks (scooting past Maiocco without comment), then logged onto the Web, and read one particular Maiocco item: That Crabtree was overheard telling friend/advisor MC Hammer to 'get it done.' Right after reading that, York checked in with his negotiators and heard that Crabtree’s people were asking for a few more things. With the knowledge of what Crabtree told Hammer, and believing that Maiocco had captured the essence of Crabtree’s desire to sign, York told his guys not to bend." Hilarious.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says York called in to the 49ers postgame show unannounced. Some owners, coaches and executives insist they don't hear or read what those in the media are saying about the team. We can assume York is not one of them.