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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Around the NFC West: Staff shuffling

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Ben Malcolmson of usctrojans.com says Chris Carlisle is leaving USC to become strength and conditioning coach for the Seahawks. Mike Clark had held the position for Seattle since January 2004. The Seahawks suffered lots of injuries in recent seasons, leading some fans to ask about the work Clark and his staff were doing. It was pretty much impossible to know whether the team should have done anything different. Carlisle: "I want people to know that I'm walking away, not running. There's not a reason for me to leave except that this is a great opportunity for me to continue my career and take a step in my evolution as a strength coach. Also, this is an opportunity to work with Pete Carroll, which is a heck of an opportunity and one that's very difficult to turn down. Lane Kiffin and the USC administration wanted me to stay and I really appreciate that."

Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette says Packers assistant strength and conditioning coach Mondray Gee will join the Seahawks in a similar role. Dougherty: "Gee, 33, worked seven years as a strength and conditioning assistant for the Detroit Lions before the Packers hired him in 2008. New Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hired Gee presumably on the recommendation of John Schneider, Seattle's new general manager and a high-level personnel executive for the Packers from 2002 until last week."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll from Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl practices. O'Neil: "Carroll didn't have to look very far for one idea Monday afternoon when USC safety Taylor Mays had the most ooh-inspiring hit of the South team's practice. Mays kept Citadel receiver Andre Roberts from coming down with the ball. Carroll coached Mays in college. Could Seattle bring Mays back to Seattle, where he attended O'Dea or will Seattle find that bedrock of a left tackle, a quarterback, or an offensive player who's a home-run threat in the open field? Those are the questions Carroll, [general manager John] Schneider and Seattle will be asking in three months of draft preparation that began in earnest on Monday in the opposite corner of the country."

Also from O'Neil: Former Seahawks quarterback and assistant coach Jim Zorn hopes to coach somewhere in 2010.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic takes an in-depth look at the Cardinals' situation at linebacker. Karlos Dansby could leave in free agency. Clark Haggans probably exceeded expectations in 2009. Chike Okeafor probably will not be back. Somers: "The Cardinals likely will replace him with a younger player, perhaps Will Davis or Cody Brown, rookies in 2009. Brown, a second-round pick, suffered a dislocated wrist in training camp and was on injured reserve all year. That basically made his rookie season a wasted one. He is making the transition from defensive end in college, so it's going to take for him to develop. Davis, a sixth-round pick, is further ahead. By mid-season, he was starting to show some pass-rush skills and was taking snaps away from veteran Bertrand Berry, who retired at the end of the season. A knee injury delayed Davis' progress, but he showed signs of being a real steal in the draft."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says longtime Rams trainer Jim Anderson isn't sure why coach Steve Spagnuolo fired him. Anderson: "What did I not do that was expected? Or what can I do differently if I have a situation in the future where I want to be an athletic trainer? Like I said, (Spagnuolo) didn't feel at the time that he had any response to that. He just felt the organization would be better off with a change." That's the way it works in the NFL. It's not always personal. A new coach often wants his own medical people or trainers or strength coaches, etc. Thomas: "Longtime employees at Rams Park are on eggshells again, as their numbers continue to dwindle. The massive organizational shakeup means very few employees are left who moved with the team to St. Louis from California in 1995."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers could use a return specialist with the ability to add punch on offense. Percy Harvin and Reggie Bush stand out as examples. Barrows: "After selecting Michael Crabtree last year with the 10th pick, the 49ers likely will pass on wide receivers this season. But a running back who could complement the between-the-tackles running style of Frank Gore could be a nice fit."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers were neither elite at quarterback or on defense this season, an indication they've got a ways to go before challenging the best teams in the NFC. Coach Mike Singletary also has questions to answer. Maiocco: "Singletary has some incredible traits as a coach. He is tough, demanding and he listens to the needs and wants of those who work for him. Singletary is a self-described 'big-picture guy.' That might be fine, but only if there are extraordinary people taking care of the small details for him. And that's where I have my biggest doubts about whether the 49ers are ready to take that next step." A coach without a strong background as a coordinator will always be more reliant on his staff. That was one of the issues raised when the team hired Singletary over Greg Manusky and others.

John Cote of the San Francisco Chronicle updates the 49ers' efforts to build a new stadium in Santa Clara.