The St. Louis Rams continue to operate without a general manager or much apparent urgency to hire one right away.
That should tell us something about the relative importance -- or unimportance -- of the role for the team at this stage of the offseason.
The Rams are not looking for someone to shake up the organization. They hired coach Jeff Fisher to do that. What they want from a GM, it appears, is the right fit with their higher-profile head coach. Organizational structure was critical to Fisher and the No. 1 reason he chose the Rams over the Miami Dolphins.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders what is taking so long. Miklasz: "Are some of the candidates shying away from the Rams because they sense that Fisher will have final say, and that the GM chair doesn't come equipped with any real authority? This isn't a shot at Fisher; after all, Stan Kroenke went all-in on him financially and brought the coach in here to be the lead football man. That said, we have been through this before, watching a coach trying to do too much in the overall running of the football operation and frankly, I don't want to see the Rams go there again. Fisher says he doesn't want to be that guy, that coaching is his priority." Noted: Fisher has never shown any inclination he wants to be a coach/GM type. The fact that he is participating in the hiring of a GM suggests he'll have significant control of the roster. The Rams have not stated clearly for the public exactly where Fisher's responsibilities end. The league defines a GM as "an individual who has (1) the authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the college draft, trades, terminations, and related decisions, and (2) the responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach." If the Rams are hiring that type of GM, making the move by March 1 could be important. If they wait past that date, they might have to wait past the draft to pull personnel people away from their current teams, according to the NFL's anti-tampering policy.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says receiver Doug Baldwin is putting in extra work to improve upon what stands as a breakout rookie season. Farnsworth: "While his receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and touchdown catches (four) ranked fourth, fourth and sixth among the rookie receivers in the league, he was first in third-down receptions (25), shared the lead in receptions of 20-plus yards (19) and was second in receiving first downs (40) and percentage of receptions that produced first downs (.784, 40 of 51)." Baldwin: "In all actuality, if you look at the numbers they’re real average for wide receivers in the NFL, and that’s not what I want to be known for. Regardless of me being undrafted, that’s not what I want my legacy to be."
Also from Farnsworth: a look at the Seahawks' offseason schedule.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers thoughts from Baldwin during a chat. Baldwin on his favorite receivers: "Andre Reed from the Buffalo Bills is my all-time favorite. Today I watch a lot of Steve Smith and Wes Welker as well as Brandon Marshall."
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle says the Seahawks should value Red Bryant over alternatives.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who has grand plans. Horton: "One of the things burning inside of me is, as a player I have won a Super Bowl, as an (assistant) coach I have won a Super Bowl, I’d like to win one as a coordinator and I’d like to win one as a head coach. No one has ever done that. I think it will happen. My only regret is we didn’t win an NCAA championship (when he played at Washington). We were close."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides a construction update from 49ers headquarters. Barrows: "Right now the work has been knocking down walls, ripping up parking lots and chopping down trees in an effort to make that area level. In the back of the building where the practice fields are located, there also have been changes. The hill -- dubbed Mt. Pain -- that Mike Singletary built in 2009 has been removed. It went unused in Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach and was in the way of the new road to the facility."
Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the construction isn't stopping regular team business. Lynch: "Running backs coach Tom Rathman, Starbucks beverage in hand, also headed in to break down film on potential free agents. Even the disappointment of the title game loss still lingers, the pulse of this team is still very much alive, even while the facility undergoes a heart transplant of sorts."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks back at the team's season on special teams.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sets the scene with Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith on the golf course. Kawakami: "It was yet another sign -- literal and metaphoric -- of the undeniable bond between Smith and Harbaugh, and the adrenaline boost the 49ers’ rise has given the Bay Area. Throughout the long round, Smith was the dutiful caddie, carefully raking the sand traps after Harbaugh blasted out and methodically searching through the dunes and trees whenever Harbaugh knocked tee shots deep into trouble. Smith didn’t read the greens for Harbaugh’s putts, but the two were talking and laughing the entire round."
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers safety Dashon Goldson would be "shocked" if he did not return to the team in 2012, according to remarks Goldson made during a radio interview.