Thursday, August 26, 2010
Around the NFC West: New era for Rams
By Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says NFL owners needed less than an hour to approve Stan Kroenke's bid to purchase majority ownership in the Rams. Thomas: "Kroenke has until December 2014 to be fully compliant with NFL cross-ownership rules. That gives him four years to work out a financially efficient way to actually sell the Nuggets and Avalanche to Josh Kroenke, or another family member. Those familiar with the sale process say Kroenke isn't entirely sure how he's going to do that at this point but is considering several options."
Also from Thomas: Shahid Khan bows out gracefully.
More from Thomas: Chip Rosenbloom reflects on his family's ownership of the Rams. Thomas: "Rosenbloom made it a point to stay out of the spotlight Wednesday. He respectfully declined an invitation to join Kroenke at a news conference following the owners' vote. And he quietly checked out of the hotel where the meetings were held a couple of hours before the meeting concluded, heading to the airport for the flight back home."
Brian Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sees Kroenke as the right man to own the Rams, even though he doesn't necessarily trust the billionaire. Burwell: "Until Kroenke agrees to a new lease agreement, or the Rams are playing in a new stadium in the greater St. Louis area — or two other NFL franchises end up in Los Angeles over the next five years -- I will continue to raise an eyebrow to his every move when it concerns the long-term future of the Rams in St. Louis. ... Yet in spite of my ever-diligent distrust of the man, here's why Kroenke still could and should be great for the Rams. He will hit the ground running. Because he is no stranger to the workings of the organization, there will be no learning curve. He knows how everything works, and just as important, what doesn't work. And I would be surprised if everyone in the organization doesn't already understand that the clock has been ticking on their evaluations for more than a year."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expects Kroenke to evaluate the Rams' structure.
Also from the Post-Dispatch: a recent Rams ownership timeline.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Leon Washington impressed during practice Wednesday. Washington will start for the Seahawks this week.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers notes from Seahawks practice, including this one: "Ben Hamilton worked as the second-unit center on Tuesday. He watched Wednesday's practice at one point with an ice bag on his knee. Chester Pitts was on the field, but was limited. Extremely limited, and he also iced the knee after individual drills."
Also from O'Neil: a look at the Seahawks' roster on defense. O'Neil: "Lawyer Milloy and Earl Thomas are lined up as the starting safeties, but behind that duo is a logjam of players that includes former starter Jordan Babineaux, a fifth-round pick in Kam Chancellor the team probably doesn't want to cut and free-agent addition Kevin Ellison, who has a bad knee, but all he did last year was start nine games for the San Diego Chargers."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Seahawks tight end John Carlson isn't sweating too much over a couple dropped passes.
John Morgan of Field Gulls appreciates Mike Williams' sure hands.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in from the Cardinals' spirited practices with the Tennessee Titans. Somers: "The pass-rush session between the Cardinals' offensive line and the Titans' defense was the only serious threat to decorum. The Titans' front four is relentless, and the Cardinals started to take offense to what they viewed as extracurricular behavior. Cardinals backups Jeremy Bridges and Rex Hadnot ratcheted things up a notch with some talking. After the Titans were stopped on snap, Hadnot said, 'No soup for you!' Bridges did some hitting and talking, prompting one Titans player to ask later if Bridges had eaten enough biscuits."
Also from Somers: "Matt Leinart continues to play with the starting unit and backup Derek Anderson got some work with the starters, too. Rookie Max Hall worked some with the second unit. Leinart looked sharp in the two-minute drill, driving the team down the field. Anderson looked decent and Hall was in command, too."
More from Somers: a chat transcript with his thoughts on the quarterback situation in Arizona. Somers: "I sense some worry. Staff is waiting for Leinart to make the plays he should. But it's not as if Anderson is pushing him. I think the staff feels comfortable the line, backs and receivers will be fine. ... Some people I talked to think Leinart is not looking downfield long enough. It seems to be he's a little cautious of making a mistake. The go route to Williams was an aggressive play call on 3rd and 1. Coaches wanted to see how Leinart would handle it."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Greg Toler was working at right cornerback with the Cardinals' first-team defense.
Also from Urban: Were there unrealistic expectations for the Cardinals' offensive line?
More from Urban: Ken Whisenhunt and Jeff Fisher sounded satisfied with the work their teams got in practice.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 20 players missed 49ers practice for various reasons, but Ted Ginn Jr. was not one of them. Maiocco: "Quarterback Alex Smith hit receiver Ted Ginn with 29-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone, over the coverage of Patrick Stoudamire. Ginn narrowly avoided running into a table in an empty hospitality tent. Ginn spiked the ball in the tent." I'm often amused by the seemingly arbitrary rules coaches set for practices. They'll ban cell phones or drink containers among spectators, only to let sponsors set up tables within a few yards of the fields.
Also from Maiocco: Phillip Adams is making a positive impression with the 49ers.
More from Maiocco: The 49ers held their morning practice in full pads.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee updates 49ers position battles. Barrows: "At the beginning of training camp, four players -- Brandon Jones, Jason Hill, Dominique Zeigler and Kyle Williams -- were competing for perhaps two spots. Jones is out of the running and Williams is out with a toe injury. (He was seen walking in a boot today). But while Williams has been recuperating, no one has stepped forward to take his place as the top punt returner."
Also from Barrows: Defense prevails in a staple of 49ers practice.
Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat looks at the 49ers' return game.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News explains the reasoning behind the "ownership" drills the 49ers run in practice. It's a chance for players to call the plays.
Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News checks in with former 49ers standout Bryant Young.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers do not want Ginn returning punts.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says there's evidence Smith's experience in the 49ers' offense is paying off.