Around the NFC West: Leinart's readiness

January, 22, 2010
1/22/10
9:30
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Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says he thinks Matt Leinart's accuracy would improve with time. Somers: "Leinart has to re-gain the trust of his receivers. Everyone can say all the right things about believing in him, but Leinart's inaccuracy this season eroded confidence among the receiving corps. That group loves (Kurt) Warner for many reasons, mainly because the Cardinals are going to throw a lot with him in the lineup. But Warner also did his best to protect his receivers, to keep them from taking big hits. When Leinart is throwing high passes, as has been his tendency, receivers tend to get a little skittish. With more practice time and confidence, Leinart should be able to correct that problem."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com explains why he'll miss retiring Cardinals veteran Bertrand Berry. Urban: "Including playoffs, Berry led the Cardinals with eight sacks this season. In the end, I’ll remember Bertrand’s ability to still have his shining moments on a football field, delivering his trademark whistle pull -- he was the B-Train, after all -- following every sack. I’ll remember Bertrand Berry going out on his own terms."

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 looks at Neil Rackers' value to the Cardinals. That value is much higher when Rackers is healthy. Coach Ken Whisenhunt sounded frustrated after Rackers' injuries contributed to a poor performance against the Saints in the NFC divisional round, as if Whisenhunt had been told Rackers would be fine.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says former Seahawks assistant and University of Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson has landed with Mike Holmgren in Cleveland. Gilbertson has a job in personnel. He could easily slide over to the coaching staff if Holmgren returned to the sideline or the Browns wanted him to help install Holmgren's offense.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with CEO Tod Leiweke, who expresses relief following an organizational overhaul. Leiweke: "I'm satisfied, but I also would say it’s been super hard. Tim Ruskell is a friend of mine. Jim Mora is a friend of mine. I think there probably are a few things I might have done a little different, but it also was a different circumstance. It's the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have hired Sherman Smith to coach their running backs.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says an uncapped year would hurt the Rams by making it harder for them to supplement their roster in free agency. Executive Kevin Demoff: "It limits the player pool. It's going to be a challenging dynamic for all teams on how you get better, how you compete for players, and where you find the players that make your team better. Especially if you're a team that's still rebuilding. ... I think everybody can look at what we did last year in free agency and it was a very discernible pattern. Younger players with great character who weren't injury-prone, who we thought had upside."

Also from the Post-Dispatch: a look at potential free agents who could help the Rams.

More from the Post-Dispatch: a look at players who would become free agents only if the NFL extended the collective bargaining agreement.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wouldn't be surprised if Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke decided to sell his 40 percent share of the team, better positioning Kroenke to buy a soccer team. Miklasz: "Once upon a time, Kroenke was accessible and visible at Rams games, but he’s completely gone underground in an attempt to stay away from reporters. So no one has been able to determine whether Howard Hughes -- I mean, Kroenke -- wants to keep his 40 percent share of the Rams under new ownership or sell that 40 percent to new owners."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' addition of former Chiefs assistants Jimmy Raye, Kurt Schottenheimer and Mike Solari isn't such a bad thing. Barrows: "The three offenses that Raye ran in Kansas City from 1998-2000 finished No. 19, No. 12 and No. 8 in total offense. They put up some huge yardage totals, particularly through the air. The Chiefs finished fifth in passing in 2000. But as Solari pointed out today in a conference call, he had some sturdy offensive linemen up front. Those Chiefs teams boasted perennial Pro Bowlers in Willie Roaf and Will Shields as well as an up-and-comer in Brian Waters."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers agreed to let Chris Foerster leave for the Redskins after Foerster said he wanted to move closer to family on the East Coast. Having Solari available certainly had to ease the decision. Singletary: "When I talked to Chris this morning, I just told him that I believe things work out for a reason. I told Chris this morning, 'Best of luck to you, and I hope everything goes well.' I had an interview set up with Mike Solari and my wife and I felt like that would be -- everything would work itself out."

Also from Maiocco: Solari was Singletary's first choice for an offensive line coach when Singletary interviewed for head-coaching jobs in 2006 and 2007.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Solari fits what Singletary wants in terms of promoting "physicality" up front. Brown: "Solari said he would continue to evaluate the 49ers' current personnel. He planned on developing a group capable of multiple styles -- wide zones, tight zones and man-blocking -- because opposing defenses bring so many variations. During his 11 seasons in Kansas City, the Chiefs ranked in the top 10 for rushing offense seven times. Solari was one of just six assistant coaches in Chiefs history to record more than a decade of service with the franchise."

David Fucillo of Niners Nation provides transcripts from conference calls featuring Solari and Singletary.

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