Thursday, January 27, 2011
Around the NFC West: Fitz's generosity
By Mike Sando
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Larry Fitzgerald's offer to fly Cardinals fans to the Pro Bowl produced a result more meaningful than anticipated. The winner, like Fitzgerald's late mother, had battled cancer. Fitzgerald: "I was touched after he told me how much weight he lost and the battle to stay alive and how his wife was there every step in the way helping him to get back to health. That's how we supported my mother as a family. God is good."
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic checks in with former Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown, who somewhat inexplicably turned down the Bears to remain with a UFL franchise. McCown: "There were times when I wondered what the heck I was thinking, and I don't know too many people who would've done something like this. But I made my decision, I stuck with it, and I believe in my heart I'm a better person and a better player. Does that mean I'll get another opportunity? I don't know."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with former NFL center Jeremy Newberry for thoughts on new Seahawks line coach Tom Cable. Newberry: "These guys are in for a rude awakening as far as the tempo of practice and how they're going to work under him. The guy is intense as hell. He cares about what he does. He loves his players, but it's going to be a rude awakening because the tempo, you can't wait to go to team drills and 9-on-7 just to get a break from individual with that guy."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks players aren't excited about extending the regular season to 18 games. Boling: "The Seahawks finished the 16-game regular season with 15 players out for the season on the injured-reserve list. Of players expected to be starters, only eight made it through all 16 games … and just one of those (center Chris Spencer) was on offense. And Spencer played much of the season with a broken hand. Will the quality of the product be enhanced? Hardly. Besides, did anybody really need to see the race for the NFC West title go an extra two weeks?"
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams aren't rushing to hire a quarterbacks coach. New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will work closely with quarterback Sam Bradford. McDaniels remained in St. Louis while coach Steve Spagnuolo and others headed to the Senior Bowl. Spagnuolo: "I want to get back there and sit down with Josh. We've got to hone in on [the quarterback coach]. Josh has done it both ways as a coordinator. Josh has had a quarterback coach, and has not had one. He'll still have a lot to do with the quarterback even if we do have a quarterback coach."
Also from Thomas: Drafting a receiver might mean finding one after the first round for the Rams. Thomas: "Besides (Leonard) Hankerson, there are several other wideouts here who could go in Rounds 2 through 4. Among them are: San Diego State's Vincent Brown, who had a breakout year in 2010; Nebraska's speedy Niles Paul, who also had kickoff return value; and the talented Boise State tandem of Titus Young and Austin Pettis."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com continues his game-by game look at the Rams' 2011 season.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 2011 marks the first time in recent memory a 49ers coaching staff has not attended Senior Bowl practices. General manager Trent Baalke: "Well, there's nothing to that. If the coaches would've been on staff and ready to go, they'd certainly be down here. The reason they're not down here is because most of them just came in as of Monday and coach [Jim Harbaugh] just felt it was a better opportunity to get them all together, get them working on the schedule for the offseason."
Also from Maiocco: Frank Gore's agent says the running back is "feeling great" during his recovery from a hip injury and on pace to play in 2011 without restriction.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says former 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky would not have moved Taylor Mays into the starting lineup if the decision had been his to make. According to Manusky, most safeties need three offseasons to grow into the role.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers 49ers notes, including one about assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown taking a job with the Panthers.