Monday, January 31, 2011
Around the NFC West: Warner's advice
By Mike Sando
Jim Corbett of USA Today says former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner offers advice to Green Bay for beating the Steelers' defense. Warner passed for 377 yards against Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl two years ago, turning a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit into a lead: "When we played Pittsburgh, my contention was, 'Let's spread them out and attack them. The one concern our coaches had was leaving a short (unprotected) edge (for blitzers). That was the reason we didn't get into it until the second half when we were down. They didn't want those guys hitting me the whole game. That's the cat-and-mouse game. I don't know if the coaches think now, looking back, 'Yeah, we should have done it earlier.'" One big difference in this Super Bowl: Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers moves much better than Warner moved, giving him a better chance to avoid the rush.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Alex Smith controls his future more than the 49ers control it (given that San Francisco obviously would not name Smith its franchise player). Maiocco: "Smith, who turns 27 in May, is likely to be one of the top quarterbacks available on the open market. He should have multiple options when it comes to selecting where he wishes to play next season. Several sources close to Smith told Comcast SportsNet at the conclusion of the season that the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft planned on a change of scenery after six turbulent seasons with the 49ers." Smith probably would benefit from a change of scenery. The 49ers changed more than scenery when they replaced coach Mike Singletary with Jim Harbaugh. They added an offensive-minded head coach with a quarterback's pedigree -- a combination Smith hasn't experienced during his NFL tenure, and one that could help him improve. Moving on still might be best for Smith, but both sides should at least consider continuing the relationship on new terms.
John Morgan of Field Gulls suggests the Seahawks could have a hard time finding depth behind Red Bryant, their most important run defender last season. Morgan: "He's huge, has great length, natural power and his combine-certified five flat showing in the forty is still eye popping. But depth must be found, because Seattle created this monster of a position to feature Bryant's talent, and with that talent comes a lengthy and worrisome injury history. If that depth cannot be found through free agency or trade, Seattle might entertain someone like Phil Taylor of Baylor. He's being talked about as a nose tackle, but every jumbo defensive tackle that enters the draft is talked about as a nose tackle."At least the Seahawks know what they want at the position. They couldn't be sure before this season whether Bryant would succeed in the role. Improving other aspects of the defense could take pressure off Bryant as well.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch examines whether the Rams should consider pursuing former NFL receiver Plaxico Burress, who was with the Giants when Steve Spagnuolo was their defensive coordinator. Miklasz: "I'm not sure why anyone believes Burress can walk out of prison, jump into a huddle at Rams Park, and be the answer. That strikes me as pretty naive. Is Burress worth a look? Sure. Could he be a role player, a contributor? That's possible, depending on what he has left. But I think the Rams need to be more ambitious if the opportunity arises to land a WR. If they have a chance -- depending on free agency under the new system, whenever that's in place -- to get a guy that's been making plays and honing skills the last couple of years instead of sitting in a jail cell, then that should be the play. And the Rams need to draft a wideout, too. Maybe even in the 1st round depending on who is there at No. 14 overall."