Around the NFC West: Cardinals' hierarchy

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
9:16
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Figuring out who makes the personnel decisions for the Arizona Cardinals isn't easy.

More than any team in the NFC West, the Cardinals seem to take a group approach involving general manager Rod Graves, coach Ken Whisenhunt, president Michael Bidwill, and vice president of player personnel Steve Keim.

All four have been together since 2007, when Whisenhunt became coach.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Keim's role has grown, making him a logical candidate to succeed Graves in the GM role. Bickley: "Keim isn't a general manager by title. But he talks like one. He acts like one. He's not shy with his opinions. Recent draft classes reveal a franchise operating in sync, and a team enjoying a steady influx of young players. He knows what Ken Whisenhunt wants in a player, and over time, has earned the coach's trust." Noted: Sounds like an invitation to compare recent draft classes for NFC West teams. I'll take a look this week, although comparing one team's draft success against that of another can be tricky. For example, in recent seasons, the Cardinals have drafted later in the first round on average than any team in the division, about 19th overall since 2009. That compares to about eighth overall for St. Louis, 13th overall for Seattle and 15th overall for San Francisco.

Also from Bickley: The Cardinals have reason to consider legal action after losing 3,200 parking spots at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee runs through the San Francisco 49ers' undrafted free-agent class. Barrows: "Among the standouts are the three Stanford players, Chris Owusu, Matt Masifilo and Michael Thomas, and running back Jewel Hampton, whom I wrote about earlier in the week. Also of note is Clemson's Kourtnei Brown, who has Aldon Smith-like dimensions and who ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.6-second range."

Also from Barrows: Perrish Cox's legal troubles aren't finished. The cornerback, acquitted on criminal sexual assault charges, faces a civil suit stemming from the case.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame welcomed Marcus Trufant and Jacob Green as members. Trufant: "This is a very cool deal. Just the whole organization in general is a good deal. There are a lot of important people here who have done a lot of good things in this area for a long time -- and they haven’t done it to make a lot of money, they’re doing it for the community and they’re doing it for the kids. So just to be mentioned in the same light as those people, it’s a big deal to me."

Also from Farnsworth: a look at the Seahawks' quarterback competition. Coach Pete Carroll: "There’s no timeline. The format is really just to do everything I can to organize it and orchestrate it so that they get a legit shot at showing what they can do with all the guys that are available. We’re going to have to mix and match it, and just make it a real cool process, and hopefully it will show itself somewhere down the road and we'll figure it out then."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Carroll seems to be welcoming the quarterback competition in Seattle, counter to the way most coaches view uncertainty at the position.

Art Thiel of Sports Press Northwest says the Seahawks haven't had a quarterback competition like their current once since Matt Hasselbeck and Trent Dilfer were competing a decade ago.

Liz Mathews of 710ESPN Seattle passes along thoughts from Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill regarding the evolution of his game. Hill: "I wanted to hurt you and hit you harder than you hit me. That's how I played, and I think it caused a lot of injuries early on in my career. Now that I'm getting older, I'm more about making the tackle -- just get the man down. I want to play the way that I played, just in a more veteran way, you know?"

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle thinks Gus Bradley, the Seahawks' defensive coordinator, projects as a head coaching candidate. Noted: Not many coordinators keep their jobs when a team changes head coaches. Bradley did, remaining in the role after the switch from Jim Mora to Pete Carroll. Mora had planned to name Dan Quinn coordinator, but Bradley impressed him so much during his interview that Mora decided to make him coordinator instead.

Albert Breer of NFL Network runs through Rams GM Les Snead's priority list for St. Louis this offseason: "Snead, formerly personnel director for the Atlanta Falcons, was hired by the Rams in mid-February. His self-imposed directive since then has been to focus on four aspects of roster management. They were, in order, to assess the strengths and weaknesses of his new club; deal the second pick in the draft; prepare for and complete free agency; and then do the same with the draft. ... Snead can unpack and find a place to live now. His vision for the Rams, in this job he spent the better part of two decades preparing, is beginning to take shape."

Katie Felts of KDSK.com checks in with new Rams coach Jeff Fisher.

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