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Friday, May 28, 2010
Around the NFC West: Atogwe possibility

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Omar Kelly of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel says the Dolphins could have interest in Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, who could become a free agent next week. Kelly: "Unless the Dolphins sign Rams free agent O.J. Atogwe when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on June 1 -- which is a possibility considering the front office had interest in him in 2009 -- youth will likely be served at the position." It's rare to find a young, starting-caliber player available this time of year. Can the Rams re-sign Atogwe to a deal that makes all parties happy, at least in the short term? Atogwe was linked to Miami only in passing, so it's tough to know whether the Dolphins would be serious enough to outbid the team that knows Atogwe best and valued him enough to pay him more than $6.3 million last season.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman says the Rams should start Sam Bradford at quarterback beginning in Week 1. Tramel: "Physically, Bradford is ready. He’ll turn 23 in November. He’s 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. Mentally, no rookie quarterback is ready for the NFL, but Bradford is as ready to deal with the madness as any rookie could be. He’s smart and he’s calculated. I’m not saying Bradford will be a star, but NFL defenses won’t befuddle him." I'll offer some thoughts on this front in a bit.

Rod Mar of seahawks.com offers photos from organized team activities Thursday. Check out the shot of J.P. Losman in midair after releasing the ball. I have no idea whether he threw accurately on this play, but even if the pass were wayward, Losman looked like an athlete.

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com says the Seahawks will take 10 days off to recharge. Coach Pete Carroll warned players to avoid trouble. Carroll: "The actions you make represent who we are. As always, rule No. 1 is in effect."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Lawyer Milloy was working with the first-team defense in practices this week. The team is considering its options at strong safety. Rookie Earl Thomas will start at free safety. Milloy fits the Seahawks' defense for several reasons. He played for Carroll and secondary coach Jerry Gray previously. He's a hard hitter and strong tackler, and the Seahawks could use a veteran next to Thomas. Carroll: "Lawyer’s a fantastic pro. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever coached anywhere and he brings that. Plus, he's got a sense of the game that can help our guys."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have released free-agent defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger.

Also from O'Neil: an item quoting Chris Clemons as saying, "I felt comfortable when coach [Andy] Reid told me they were trading me out here because I knew looking at the situation in Seattle, they didn't have the pass-rushing pressure they wanted last year. I knew I still had that skill set. And that was something that I wanted to still prove to myself first of all that I could still do it. I never doubted myself, but you wonder what everybody else is thinking because they're not allowing you to do what they brought you in to do."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune mentions during an item on Justin Forsett that he remains "bullish" on Julius Jones as an effective runner for Seattle. Williams: "Forsett, 24, looks even quicker and more explosive than he did last season. And although he’s only 5-8, 195 pounds, Forsett is a good runner in between the tackles. The humble RB out of Cal believes he could be an every down runner in the league."

John Morgan of Field Gulls projects which college players could fit as the "Leo" pass-rusher in Seattle beginning in 2011.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt plans to continue calling the team's offensive plays. Somers: "Whisenhunt's long-term plan is to hand the play-calling job to an assistant, probably (Mike) Miller, because Whisenhunt views it as repaying a debt. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher gave Whisenhunt a chance to call plays by naming him offensive coordinator, and it gave Whisenhunt a big boost in becoming a head coach. (Todd)  Haley became a head coach after calling plays in the Cardinals' Super Bowl season."

Also from Somers: "All four quarterbacks were inconsistent Thursday, but Whisenhunt cautioned not to read too much into that. With new offensive schemes being introduced, receivers weren't always in the right places. (Matt) Leinart threw a nice long TD pass to Early Doucet in the third-down session. Leinart appears to be throwing with more power than in past years. Again, it's early to make any firm determinations."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com checks in with 49ers president Jed York, who continues to express confidence in quarterback Alex Smith. York: "We're very excited about Alex [Smith] this year. We know have some stability at the quarterback position, at the offensive coordinator position. When you turn over your offensive coordinator five years, six years in a row, it's very, very difficult on your offense. You need continuity."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports from a strategy session with 49ers coaches. Barrows: "It was like a trigonometry lesson taught in Greek. At one point today the offensive coordinator, Jimmy Raye, showed a chart of the formations, shifts and protections the 49ers had installed on the fourth day of OTAs last week. There were almost 70 different esoteric terms with names like 'Wolf Bob' to 'Cobra Stat.' I'm not going to give away any trade secrets in writing this -- Lord, I'm not sure I could if I wanted to -- but it definitely reminded me of learning a new language, one that uses hieroglyphics as much as words."

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offered this information from the session with 49ers coaches: "Manusky made a similar presentation for the defense, though it wasn't as nuanced. He said the three basic tasks on every play are 1) alignment, 2) angle of departure and 3) vision progression. That last one translates to 'watch the quarterback,' and it can narrow a play to half the field."