Around the NFC West: Bounties and more

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
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The NFC West weekend began with St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams apologizing for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.

It ended with the NFL summoning Williams to New York amid lingering questions.

What could happen to Williams as evidence against him accumulates? John Clayton and I discussed the possibilities Saturday.

Albert Breer of NFL.com says the league would like to hand down punishment before its league meetings in late March, allowing affected teams to adjust accordingly. Noted: The Rams appear to be in strong position to carry on without Williams, should that be necessary. Their head coach, Jeff Fisher, and assistant head coach, Dave McGinnis, have both worked as defensive coordinators.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers Rams fans temporary relief from all things relating to bounties, sizing up the team's prospects for trading the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. Noted: This is a good piece and a subject I'll analyze on the blog later Monday. One question would be whether the Redskins might be the only team drafting among the top six with serious interest in Robert Griffin III.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com revisits hits the Saints put on Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner during a playoff game after the 2009 season. Urban: "There were other times in that game, though, when it did look like the Saints were going after Warner and specifically, his head (Warner had suffered through a concussion earlier that season.) Warner got hit a few times up high, but the Saints were only flagged for one personal foul, a roughing-the-passer by linebacker Scott Shanle. Warner at the time wasn’t thrilled about the hits, either. Warner said the (Bobby) McCray hit was clean, even if it didn’t feel that good."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the punishment New Orleans' defense unleashed on the 49ers' quarterbacks in the 2011 exhibition opener "makes a little more sense" in light of the bounty investigation. Maiocco: "The 49ers also faced the Saints twice in the regular season and one more time in the playoffs during the time frame in which the bounty system was in place. The 49ers sustained no known significant injuries due to any illegal hits. Coincidentally, 49ers safety Donte Whitner knocked running back Pierre Thomas from the game with a legal helmet-to-helmet hit that caused a fumble early in the 49ers' 36-32 victory in an NFC divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers thoughts on the Saints' bounties in relation to the 49ers, including this one: "Did the Saints’ bounties come at any 49ers’ expense? Obviously the most concerning injury among the 49ers this past postseason was to Ted Ginn Jr., who left their divisional playoff game with a knee injury, an injury that kept him out of the NFC final that saw the New York Giants capitalize on mistakes by Ginn’s replacement as the punt returner, Kyle Williams. Ginn, after aggravating an ankle injury, appeared to hurt his knee on a collision with a Saints player on a play in which Ginn drew a pass-interference penalty. Ginn tried lining up for the next play but went down and was done for the season. I have no reason to think his injury was a result of any Saints misconduct."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times does not expect the Seahawks to use the franchise tag for defensive end Red Bryant because the cost would be more than $10 million for one season. Noted: Bryant has played a big part in the Seahawks' run defense over the past couple seasons. He also showed an ability to block field goal attempts last season. Seattle values his presence in the locker room as well. Those things make Bryant valuable to Seattle. The role Seahawks coaches have created for Bryant makes him a better fit in Seattle than he would be elsewhere. Re-signing gives Bryant his best chance at sustained success. Seems like the sides should be able to work out something. Both sides should value one another more than they value the alternatives.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com revisits comments fullback Michael Robinson made regarding the newly re-signed Marshawn Lynch last season. Farnsworth: "During the season, and on several occasions, Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson marveled at what Lynch was able to accomplish – especially the way he accomplished it. At one point, Robinson said he never had seen a back generate as much power on one leg as Lynch – which explains his ability to emerge from piles of would-be tacklers and gain yards that just don’t seem to be there."

Also from Farnsworth: The Seahawks have a new FieldTurf Revolution Fiber playing surface. They're also replacing scoreboards.

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