Around the NFC West: 49ers on the field
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle outlines issues facing the 49ers with nearly six months left until the regular season. The quarterback situation is one of them, again.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat takes a quick look at the 49ers' first offseason practices.
Also from Maiocco: He profiles new 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Maiocco: "During his Michigan State career, from 1965 to '67, Raye was the only black quarterback starting at the NCAA Division I level. He played a central role [in] one of the most memorable games in college history. Michigan State and Notre Dame entered their late-season 1966 game with unbeaten records. Notre Dame was ranked No. 1, while Michigan State was No. 2. The game ended in controversy as Notre Dame coach Ara Paraseghian elected to run out the clock and settle for a 10-10 tie rather than go for the win in the closing minutes. The teams shared the national championship."
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News profiles the 49ers' quarterbacks. Brown: "Assuming he has recovered from his second shoulder surgery, [Alex] Smith still possesses the best raw tools among 49ers passers. His confidence was shaken by an ill-fated pairing with coach Mike Nolan, but Smith is young enough to rebound."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee previews the 49ers' practices. Free safety Mark Roman plans to pursue a potential trade until June. At that point, he would report to the 49ers.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams general manager Billy Devaney was impressed by Eugene Monroe's pro day. The team is also working toward agreements with Billy Bajema and Gus Frerotte.
VanRam of Turf Show Times runs through some Rams-related notes. VanRam: "The Rams have requested a private workout with Penn State WR Derrick Williams. Williams is likely a second round pick, and an intriguing player for the new offense. According to this scouting report from Mocking the Draft, Williams has great after-the-catch ability and intelligence, two features which could be real assets in a system that gives the WRs a little range."
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports checks in with former Rams and 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz for a look at the 2006 quarterback draft class. Martz on Matt Leinart: "There is a maturation process you have to go through as a quarterback. He's lucky that he's on a good team where he hasn't had to play a lot yet and he's had Kurt to watch and learn from. That can be really valuable for a quarterback. Eventually, he'll have to go in there and get beat up a little and succeed under duress."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Anthony Becht is the latest tight end to compete for a job in Arizona. Urban: "Becht, 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, had just six catches last season but played in all 16 games for the eighth season in a row. His teams have had seven 1,000-yard rushers in his nine NFL seasons and Becht has 178 career receptions for 1,450 yards."
John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up Ruskell's draft priorities. He notes that Ruskell, while with Seattle, has drafted only one player, a long-snapper, from a non-BCS school.
Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts links to Bucky Brooks' SI.com story suggesting the Seahawks are poised for a big turnaround in 2009. He thinks new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has the right pieces for his offense. Brooks: "With [Julius] Jones and T.J. Duckett in the fold, Knapp inherits a pair of runners who should thrive in this scheme. Jones, who had two 100-yard games last season, is a decisive runner who is most effective running between the tackles. Though his season was viewed as a disappointment, the six-year pro averaged a respectable 4.4 yards per carry and didn't receive nearly enough touches [he only averaged 10.5 rushing attempts a game in 2008] to determine if he could cut it as a feature back."
Also from Steffes hopes this is the draft Seattle uses to revamp its offense. Steffes: "They found a great young tight end last year, but just about every other position could use some youth."