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Thursday, June 3, 2010
Around the NFC West: Carroll's lessons

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe visits Seahawks headquarters as part of a piece looking at what went wrong for Pete Carroll in New England, with an eye toward what might be different this time. Breer: "Everyone who was in New England and with the Patriots from 1997-99 remembers the back stairs. That’s where veterans retreated when they didn’t like what their coaches were telling them. That’s the route you took to the offices of the owners and Bobby Grier’s personnel department to air grievances over the coach’s head. That’s the place where Carroll’s juice in the Patriots organization went to die." Carroll:  "It was horrible. That’s not leadership. But that existed, yeah. That was there and [the front office] thought it was kind of cool. They liked it like that. I think the ownership, they wanted information and they thought that was the way to get it. And really, in all fairness to the Krafts, they didn’t know yet how to do it, they were just figuring it out." Carroll's obviously close relationship with Seahawks general manager John Schneider should remove a lot of the stress from his current coaching efforts.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic had this to say after watching Adrian Wilson pick off Matt Leinart during a red-zone play: "The team continued to work on its red zone package today. It's hard to judge because a good play by the defense can mean just the opposite by the offense. For instance: QB Matt Leinart forced one pass to Larry Fitzgerald, and strong safety Adrian Wilson picked it off. Nice play by a Pro Bowl safety. A learning experience for a quarterback. As someone once said, we're talking about practice."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com provides a photo of Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein connecting on a field-goal try to bail out the offense from running. Sendlein was the only one of 10 non-kickers to connect. Urban: "Guys like Matt Leinart, Adrian Wilson and Calais Campbell need to work on their form, I think."

Also from Urban: Cornerbacks Justin Miller and Trumaine McBride are trying to revive their careers with Arizona. Urban: "Miller signed after trying out with the team during minicamp. McBride was signed back in January, with the team already knowing it would need cornerback depth. That need has only increased, with veteran Ralph Brown not returning and starter Bryant McFadden dealt in a draft-weekend trade."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Craig Dahl, the safety most likely to start if the Rams do not re-sign Oshiomogho Atogwe. Coats: "The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Dahl, 24, originally signed with the New York Giants in 2007 -- Steve Spagnuolo's first of two seasons there as defensive coordinator -- as an undrafted rookie out of North Dakota State. He played in nine games and started twice that year until tearing a ligament in his left knee near the end of the season. A torn ligament in his right knee in the subsequent preseason kept him from playing in 2008. The Rams picked him up as a free agent in March 2009. Then Dahl missed the first two games last year with a pulled hamstring. He suited up on Week 3 and found himself at strong safety after James Butler went down with a knee injury on the second play against Green Bay."

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says LenDale White's recent release from the Seahawks shows why the Rams shouldn't be pursuing players with questionable motives. Balzer: "Say what you will about this process of rebuilding, but general manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo are trying to accomplish it with quality people, in addition to having football ability. It's clear that teams can win without the LenDale Whites of the world."

Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat offers comments from Spagnuolo regarding Dahl and Atogwe. Spagnuolo on the former: "(Dahl) is experienced in the system, and he really is good that way. He works his butt off physically, takes a lot of pride in his body, and he works well with James Butler. They’ve been together in the whole thing, so there’s some cohesiveness there. That helps. There’s some confidence there. They’re used to the system, so all of that kind of mends well for the defense."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers added South Carolina State cornerback Phillip Adams despite grainy college game tape. Maiocco: "On the low-quality film distributed to NFL teams, Adams showed his aggressiveness in run support, as well as an ability to break on the ball and jump routes. But he could struggle against NFL-quality receivers who can set up a young cornerback."

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers aren't pursuing Atogwe. Maiocco: "The 49ers invested a second-round draft pick in safety Taylor Mays, which appeared to signal the organization was not interested in paying big money for a free-agent safety. If the 49ers were to spend money on a veteran safety, they would likely prefer to sign Dashon Goldson to a contract extension. Atogwe turns 29 this month. Goldson, who turns 26 in September, showed major improvement late in the season after a rough beginning to his first year as the starting free safety."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee shows where 49ers players rank in terms of NFL jersey sales. Patrick Willis ranks No. 19, with the Rams' Sam Bradford at No. 6 and the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald at No. 13. Tim Tebow is at No. 1.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' lack of interest in Atogwe shows faith in Goldson.

Also from Barber: a look at players new to the 49ers since this time last year. Barber: "Five years ago, Dre Bly and Walt Harris would have formed one of the best corner tandems in the league. Those days are gone, though, and the addition of at least five viable cover men seems to have made the unit deeper."