Around the NFC West: Allen back with 49ers?
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat isn't reading too much into Larry Allen's potential interest in returning to the 49ers. Allen, 36, appeared headed for retirement before telling line coach George Warhop he might want to return. The 49ers have moved on without him. As Maiocco notes, Adam Snyder might be better suited for the 49ers' pass-blocking scheme under new coordinator Mike Martz. Allen has long been one of the NFL's toughest and most feared offensive linemen, but his prime years are well behind him.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says Allen's agent, Marvin Demoff, indicated last month that Allen was working out and in touch with teams. FitzGerald also quotes general manager Scot McCloughan on free-agent linebacker Takeo Spikes. "He is somebody we talk about," McCloughan said. Spikes recently visited the Lions. He started 14 games for the Eagles last season, but they cut him after his lone season in Philadelphia. Spikes, 31, is coming off shoulder surgery.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests the Rams won't rush left tackle Orlando Pace back into full-contact work after two injury-shortened seasons. "Orlando is in great shape," coach Scott Linehan said. "He has really worked and has got himself in a good spot. It's a matter of what the docs say. I think they just want to see if he's ready to take that next step as far as contact. Not to be overly cautious, but he's had two bad-luck injuries two years in a row." Keeping Pace healthy should be the Rams' top priority at training camp. The Rams can field a playoff-caliber offense with Pace in the lineup. The job becomes much harder without him.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News asks five questions for the 49ers heading into training camp. Brown focuses on Martz's potential impact, defensive upgrades, whether Vernon Davis can become one of the few tight ends to flourish under Martz, Patrick Willis and the offensive line. My top 49ers-related question: Can Martz save Alex Smith?
Darrin Beene of the Tacoma News Tribune identifies six potential problem areas for the Seahawks heading into camp. He touches on the offensive line, running backs, receivers, kickers, defensive line and coaching staff. Let me add a seventh: Have the Seahawks finally found a capable all-around tight end in rookie John Carlson? At their best, the Seahawks had enough going for them in other areas -- up front and in the backfield -- to overcome flawed play at the position. The offense isn't what it was in those areas. Mike Holmgren needs a tight end he can trust in all situations.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have made little apparent progress in contract talks with several veterans, including Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett and Kurt Warner. That might be partially because the team is focused on signing its draft picks.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com provides context for the signing of second-round choice Calais Campbell. "Campbell, a 6-foot-8, 282-pounder out of Miami, dropped in the draft after a disappointing junior season. But the Cardinals see the potential as a good fit in their 3-4 defensive looks and an ability to make a difference at the left end spot in which Darnell Dockett turned in a Pro Bowl season a season ago." Defensive depth was a significant liability for the Cardinals last season.
Mike Kahn of seahawks.com offers a look inside the Seahawks' new facility. The team officially moves in Aug. 18. The new headquarters, located on the shores of Lake Washington in suburban Renton, will provide a dramatic upgrade for the Seahawks. Money talks in free agency, but state-of-the-art facilities can help break ties. The Seahawks outgrew their current facility in Kirkland years ago.