Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Around the NFC West: Carroll's passion
By Mike Sando
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spoke uninterrupted for nearly 12 minutes to begin his first news conference as Seahawks coach. O'Neil: "This is the new voice of Seattle's franchise, and get ready. He talks fast and with a mix of passion and humor. This was Carroll's show Tuesday, something that now could be said about the franchise in general."
Also from O'Neil: Expect Jeremy Bates and Alex Gibbs to join Carroll's staff. Also, CEO Tod Leiweke apologizes to former coach Jim Mora. Leiweke: "While I apologized, it was also just one of those difficult awkward moments you find yourself in. Jim knew we were going to go have substantive discussions last week. We didn't know where those were going to come out. None of this was preordained. It was a fluid situation. The only thing preordained is we had to fix things here because what took place the last two years, to win nine games -- and with all due respect, four of those to the St. Louis Rams -- is simply not sustainable." Leiweke has repeatedly discounted victory totals by pointing out that some were against the Rams. That has to go over well in St. Louis.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Carroll's former players anticipate a smooth transition back to the NFL. Lawyer Milloy dates himself with this testimonial: "This is a guy who sat me down in his office and told me I was going to be the Tim McDonald in his defense. At the time, in my second year, I was like, 'Ah, what are you talking about?' "
Also from Farnsworth: Carroll's presence is palpable. Leiweke: "He's kind of the king of L.A."
More from Farnsworth: Carroll stresses competing. Carroll: "What you’ll hear a lot from us in this program, this program is about competition. We'll see in all aspects of the work that we do that we will be in a relentless pursuit of a competitive edge in everything we’re doing. We're going to compete like crazy. Maybe like you’ve never seen. And I hope that will be the theme that will rise to us and that will be the most important part of it, because we are in the most competitive world that you can be in in the NFL. I can’t wait to get this thing underway. I can’t wait to get it started."
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times liked what he saw from Carroll in the coach's first news conference as Seahawks coach. Brewer: "Carroll was honest, raw, introspective, real. During the 40 minutes he spoke, his genuine enthusiasm and self-deprecating candor became so captivating that it obstructed skepticism about his so-so NFL record. Of course, as soon as he was done talking, the skepticism resumed, but, hey, trust isn't built in a day."
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says it's tough to know how Carroll will fare. USC fans initially shunned him. Kelley: "When the rancor reached a crescendo, the school had to shut down the phones and turn off its e-mail. Protests against Carroll went viral. But at USC, the haters became lovers. Carroll was the unvarnished truth. He was the answer. He won two national championships, won at least a share of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles and finished 97-19 in nine seasons. He resurrected a ramshackle program. Now at a much higher level, he's being asked to do it again."
Greg Johnson of seattlepi.com sees more exclamation points in the Seahawks' immediate future.
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune tried to keep pace with Carroll at the news conference. It wasn't easy. McGrath: "Pete Carroll talks almost as fast as he thinks, and he thinks so fast you can imagine him working the New York Times crossword with his right hand as he turns the pages of a Solzhenitsyn novel with his left hand -- something to occupy him as he’s preparing the braised sweetbreads with mushroom sauce on the stove while breaking down an opponent’s zone-blitz tendencies on the speaker phone."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks interviewed John Schneider and Marc Ross for their general manager's job.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are using their experience to their advantage. Quarterback Kurt Warner: "I think the biggest thing is to try to just be a bit of a calming presence in these kinds of situations. You understand things are going to happen, crazy scenarios, and you understand that the teams that you're playing are all good."
Also from Somers: Injured receiver Anquan Boldin hopes to practice this week. Also, Russ Grimm expects to interview with the Bills for their head coaching job. Somers: "The time of the interview has not been set. According to NFL rules, the Bills can interview Grimm this week, but with the Cardinals playing Saturday, time is an issue. The interview would have to be conducted at a place and time of convenience to the Cardinals. It could happen Wednesday or Thursday evening in Arizona, or on Sunday, the day after the divisional playoff."
More from Somers: Cardinals players have received $42,000 for their postseason efforts so far, including $21,000 for winning the NFC West and playing in the wild-card round. The other $21,000 is for beating the Packers.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says inside linebacker Gerald Hayes was wearing a walking boot Tuesday, although it was unclear whether the injury was serious.
Also from Urban: The Cardinals' secondary is seeking redemption after a rough outing against the Packers. Urban: "Michael Adams said the secondary as a group was angry when they first watched the video of the game, but he did note the group had a hand in helping sack Rodgers five times while the Cards’ defense also forced three key turnovers. And in an interesting twist, the secondary was not only part of the turnover on the first play of the game -- DRC’s pick -- but also a turnover on the last play of the game, when Adams recovered from a four-penalty day to force a fumble that led to the game-winning points."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says former Rams coach Jim Haslett is the new defensive coordinator for the Redskins. Thomas: "After three seasons in St. Louis, including the last 12 games of 2008 as the Rams’ interim head coach, Haslett spent this past season as head coach of the Florida Tuskers of the fledgling United Football League. The Tuskers went unbeaten in the regular season, but were upset by the Las Vegas Locomotives in the UFL title game. Haslett met with Washington team officials earlier this week. Haslett became the front runner for the job once Mike Zimmer agreed to stay in Cincinnati as Bengals defensive coordinator."
Also from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring his thoughts on the quarterback position. Thomas thinks the Rams would have a better chance landing Michael Vick than Donovan McNabb if they wanted to target an Eagles quarterback. Thomas: "Since Spags spent so many years with the Eagles, their roster also bears watching. I think there has been some discussion of Vick. I guess it's possible the Rams would give up picks for the right player, particularly if it's an uncapped year, meaning there are many more restricted free agents than usual."
Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat lists 10 questions facing the Rams this offseason. Who will start at quarterback? Rodenbush: "In 2009, Rams quarterbacks combined to throw 12 touchdowns against 21 interceptions and completed 57.5 percent of their passes. Their TD total ranked 29th in the NFL and would have been worse if not for a 36-yard scoring pass from kicker Josh Brown to Daniel Fells during the team’s 17-10 win at Detroit on Nov. 1."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks the 49ers still have plans for Glen Coffee despite a 2.7-yard average last season. Coffee was a preseason sensation. It's far too early to write him off.
Also from Barrows: The 49ers have signed fullback Jehuu Caulcrick to a future contract.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have restructured the business side of their operation at the expense of Andy Dolich, team president Jed York announced to employees. Maiocco: "York will also assume the new title of chief executive officer. The new CMO will report directly to York, along with general manager Scot McCloughan, as well as chief financial officer Larry MacNeil, and executive vice president of football administration Lal Heneghan. During the transition, Dolich will remain as a senior advisor, York said. In Dolich's two years with the 49ers, he improved customer service for 49ers season-ticket holders, York said."
Also from Maiocco: an early look at how the 49ers might proceed in the draft. Maiocco on the 13th overall choice: "Like a year ago, the first thought is the 49ers will take their highest-rated offensive tackle. But the 49ers don't need to 'each' in this spot because they have another pick just a few slots later. If a cornerback, defensive lineman or linebacker falls to them, they're in the spot to choose one. One player who -- based on watching the BCS title game -- seems like a good fit would be Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. He reportedly has great passion and football smarts. Takeo Spikes is entering his 13th season and the final year of his contract. The 49ers were smitten with USC linebacker Rey Maualuga last year and tempted to move up a few spots in the second round to get him. They also wanted Lance Briggs a couple years ago. So the 49ers would love to get another young impressive player to line up next to Patrick Willis."
Lisa Fernandez of the San Jose Mercury News has a 49ers stadium update.