Thursday, March 25, 2010
Around the NFC West: Rams and Bradford
By Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides more evidence the Rams are leaning toward drafting quarterback Sam Bradford. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "Everything you hear about him, that's said, it's legit. He walks into a room, you can see he's a quarterback. That was impressive to me."
Also from Thomas: Rumors linking the Rams to Donovan McNabb are "utterly ridiculous" in general manager Billy Devaney's eyes.
More from Thomas: The Rams have had preliminary discussions with Bradford and other players the team could select first overall, according to executive vice president Kevin Demoff. Thomas: "Demoff doesn't think the current uncapped year and labor impasse between players and club owners will affect negotiations. But complicating a quick deal could be the proposed sale of the Rams to Urbana, Ill., businessman Shahid Khan. Khan's purchase of the Rams could be completed in May, in which case payment of any roster bonus due the player selected No. 1 overall could simply be postponed until then."
Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com sees no reason for the Rams to pursue McNabb.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says during a chat that Scot McCloughan's departure could affect some players the former GM seemed to value. Barrows: "There was a lot of talk that Alex Smith could be vulnerable with McCloughan on the outs. I never bought that. But I wonder about a few other guys like Cody Wallace, Brandon Jones, Nate Clements and Tarell Brown. I'm not saying these guys will be cut. What I'm saying is that the front office had seemed to value them more than the coaching staff."
Also from Barrows: "The team is in capable hands between now and the draft. The vast majority of the evaluation already has been done. And with director of pro personnel Tom Gamble, who has 22 years of experience, helping run the show on draft day, there's every reason to believe that it will go smoothly as well. The much larger question is what happens after the draft."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Alex Smith posted better numbers in 2009 than any current NFC West quarterback.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks appear uninterested in trading quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. O'Neil: "If Seattle was going to move Hasselbeck, it probably would have already happened because there is this team in Cleveland now run by this guy who used to coach Hasselbeck who was searching for a quarterback."
Ron Borges of the Boston Herald checks in with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who can only blame himself if things don't work out in Seattle. Borges: "Today, Carroll realizes what it takes to win is a not always-benevolent dictatorship. It requires a head coach, not a camp counselor. It requires one rope with everyone pulling on the same end, not an atmosphere in which some are free to creep up the back stairs to management in order to undercut his authority. Just as importantly, it will not demand any cartoons in the newspaper like one that still haunts him."
Brian McIntyre of scout.com passes along quotes from Carroll praising Seahawks receiver Deion Branch. Carroll: "He’s a big-time player. I’ve seen him now on the field, throwing the ball around with a few players the couple days I was out (in Seattle). He’s gifted. He’s a natural player. He’s got terrific quickness. He’s got all the instincts. Terrific hands. With a good personality. The way he finished last year, the last four games of the year, he really looked good. He looked like a really good football player. It took him a little bit to get comfortable last year coming back from the stuff he dealt with. Once he got going, he looked like a very good player. Hopefully, we can utilize his talents and make sure he’s going to be a big factor for us."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sees no evidence suggesting the Cardinals have interest in McNabb. Naming Matt Leinart the starter and signing Derek Anderson in free agency pretty much solved the position for Arizona in 2010.
Also from Somers: catching up with former Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica, remembered for suffering a torn ACL upon landing following a celebratory jump. Gramatica kicked in the game after the injury. Gramatica: "I had a field goal and couple extra points. The coolest thing about that injury is Pat Tillman kicked off for us after I got hurt. I have some great memories with Pat Tillman. My rookie year we were coming back in a van from the kickoff luncheon. I remember Pat telling me, 'Just remember, football is what you love to do, but at the end of the day, you have to live simple. Just keep it simple.'"
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with running back Beanie Wells, who is ramping up for his second NFL season. Urban: "Wells is trying to use the offseason to get an even better start to his sophomore season. His rookie offseason was slowed when he couldn’t participate in most offseason work thanks to Ohio State’s late end to the school year. This year, without a draft for which to prepare, he feels like he’s already had a ton of free time. It makes Wells that much more anxious to get started on his football work."