Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Around the NFC West: Bigger Donnie Avery
By Mike Sando
Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says improved health at wide receiver is paying off for the Rams this offseason. Rodenbush on Donnie Avery: "Though Avery played all 16 games last season, he was bothered by a laundry list of injuries. His most serious injury came in the preseason, when he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. He returned in time for the season opener, but then experienced problems with his ribs, hamstring, hip and shoulder. This offseason, Avery started a weight lifting program and changed his diet. As a result, he has added around 15 pounds of muscle and gotten rid of the nagging pain."
Also from Thomas: Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell discuss Kroenke's bid to purchase full control of the team while complying with rules on cross-ownership. Goodell: "Stan has made it very clear that he wants to be compliant with NFL rules, and that he is willing to work towards finding a way to do that. And that's what our [finance] committee's willing to do."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams third-string quarterback Keith Null. Null: "These OTAs, as far as knowing the plays and calling the plays in the huddle, it's way easier than it was last year at this time," Null said. "Having one year under my belt, and then getting to go in and play four games, I'm taking all that with me ... and using that experience to help me."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says a new stadium in Santa Clara could help California land a Super Bowl for the first time since San Diego played host in 2003. Barrows: "The NFL Super Bowl Advisory Committee last month gave the stadium initiative a boost by saying that it supports the plan and will encourage a Super Bowl bid. The plan is to have the stadium ready by the 2014 season. A stadium must be fully operational for two full seasons before it can host the big game."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers haven't ruled out practicing with the Raiders again this offseason even though the teams play each other during the regular season. The teams also play in the preseason.
Also from Maiocco: Taylor Mays stands out at 49ers practices for his physical ability. Maiocco: "Mays worked with the third team last week, and he did not see a whole lot of action come his way. But when I observed him, he did look smooth in his backpedal and demonstrate tremendous closing speed. In college, Mays often went for the big hit. At the NFL level, the 49ers will want him to find the ball in the air and make a play. And instead of trying to deliver the bone-jarring collision every time, they'll want him to wrap up and make sure of the tackle. The 49ers do not have to rush Mays onto the field. Well-respected veteran Michael Lewis has been among the team's leading tacklers every season he's been with the club. The safeties must know the defense and be able to communicate adjustments quickly."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says cornerback Josh Wilson, speaking to a group of teachers, expressed pride in his academic and civic achievements beyond football. Wilson on his eighth-grade teacher: "She made a lasting impression,” he said. “I used to always finish my work before everybody. Especially in math -- whatever you could do in two seconds, I got do in one. So we’d have a 60-minute assignment and I’d finish it in 15 minutes. To me, that left 30 minutes to mess with everyone else in the class. So as soon as I would finish, she’d say, ‘Hey, why don’t you try this?’ And she’d give me extra work to do -- harder work. That was a turning point in my life, because I realized I could be better than what I was. I didn’t have to stay in the eighth grade. I could do ninth-grade work in the eighth grade. … She let me realize I could get out of this box. I didn’t need to conform to what everybody else wanted me to be."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says LenDale White is part of a "free-for-all" at running back for the Seahawks.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has high praise for Deion Branch and a place in the offense for him. Carroll: "We have a role we'd love to put him in and we were able to test him enough [in the first minicamp] so that was a great indication that he's going to be able to fit in just right. He looks like a very, very good football player."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune explains why the Seahawks keep churning the bottom of their roster. Carroll: "There’s no doubt we have moved a lot of guys in and out of here. I think that message is really clear. When you bring guys in, sometimes they show that this opportunity is all they needed to make a statement. We’re looking for the diamond in the rough, we’re looking for guys who will overcome the odds, and we want that environment around the club."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Carroll thinks the Seahawks have upgraded at quarterback by adding J.P. Losman. Carroll: "He has fantastic strength in his arm. Our guys had evaluated him coming out (of college) and really liked him. We know that he has had a lot of playing time that gives him some background. We think he gives us a chance to be more competitive. I already talked to Charlie [Whitehurst] about feeling the push from J.P. and that’s kind of how this goes. I think we have strengthened our quarterback position in potential, for sure. Now we have to get our guys playing well and we’ll see what happens. It’s going to take us a long time before we really know how this works out."
John Morgan of Field Gulls likes what he sees when watching Chris Clemons, acquired from the Eagles this offseason.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers a photo showing Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with the right half of his head shaved. Rodgers-Cromartie appears stronger through his arms in the photo.
Also from Urban: Free rent while staying at home is one perk for Cardinals players who grew up in the area. Urban: "The Cardinals have collected a handful of locals for their current offseason roster. (Darren) Mougey and quarterback Max Hall -- who grew up in Mesa and went to high school at Mountain View -- are fighting for roster spots. Two established veteran offensive linemen are also playing for the hometown team: guard Deuce Lutui (who remains unsigned as a restricted free agent and absent from workouts) from Mesa High School and center Lyle Sendlein, who actually played a season of varsity football with Mougey at Chaparral."