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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Around the NFC West: Bradford on changes

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has mixed feelings about learning a new offensive system. Bradford: "If you look at what Josh (McDaniels) has done with some of his offenses in the past, what his quarterbacks have been able to do, I'm extremely excited for this opportunity. I can't wait to get into the (playbook) with him and just learn about what we're going to do next year. Obviously, I'm going to have to learn a lot. But I feel like I was able to handle everything that they threw at me last year. Having a year's experience under my belt, I think it'll even make this process easier." I suspect Bradford will fare well under McDaniels, but what happens if McDaniels leverages this job into another head-coaching opportunity? Who takes over then?

Also from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring thoughts on the draft and tight end. Thomas: "It's tough to read the Rams' tight end picture right now. Will they re-sign Daniel Fells? Can Mike Hoomanawanui stay healthy? How much are the Rams expecting out of Fendi Onobun? If the answer is no, no, and not much, the Rams do need to think about upgrading the position." They should expect quite a bit from Hoomanawanui while trying to upgrade around him. Onobun looked better without pads than with them.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com takes a look at the 49ers' receivers and how they performed in 2010. On Michael Crabtree: "It certainly was not a failure of a season for Crabtree, but there will always be great expectations for him because he was chosen with the No. 10 overall pick and then caused a scene with a contract stalemate that delayed the start of his career. According to STATS, Inc., Crabtree tied for 16th in the NFL in two categories: percentage of receptions for first downs (72.7) and dropped passes (seven)." Crabtree seemed frustrated at times. I suspect the 49ers will get much more from him if their quarterback situation improves.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks out which players mock drafts are sending to the 49ers. Barrows: "We're still three months away, but as of now most draft gurus seem to think the 49ers will take a quarterback with pick no. 7, and that that quarterback will be Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. Indeed, most of the scouts, gurus, etc. I spoke with at last week's Senior Bowl thought that Gabbert would be the first quarterback taken. Gabbert is an underclassman and thus wasn't at the Senior Bowl. We'll learn a lot more about him at the combine later this month."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at potential candidates for the Cardinals' defensive coordinator job. Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton: "It would be a heck of an opportunity because they've got the pieces there. I've seen them on film. Hopefully just some fine tuning and you're right back there making that (playoff) run."

Also from Somers: Another potential candidate, Keith Butler, explains what he likes in an outside linebacker. Butler: "If you got a guy who in his whole college career was in a three-point stance, all he's looking at is tight ends' butts and tackles' butts. You have to stand up and ask him to see the whole formation. It's a big deal. A lot of time if you have a kid who played linebacker in high school and a little bit in college, it's an easier transition," he said. "But if you've got a kid who has been strictly a defensive end, it's a harder transition, a lot harder."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com rounds up stories regarding potential candidates for the Cardinals' defensive coordinator job. Urban: "Nothing will happen until Monday or Tuesday of next week, when Ken Whisenhunt will ask for permission to whomever he is looking at (and I would guess that would include Dick LeBeau, since a) his contract is expiring and b) since he has waited this long, there’s no reason not to inquire). Miami assistant head coach Todd Bowles remains a candidate too. And I’d think the entire process -- depending on how many interviews Whiz lines up -- would come to a conclusion fairly soon after."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals need help at outside linebacker.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says during a Seahawks chat that he would not select Washington quarterback Jake Locker in the first round. O'Neil: "And I say that as someone who really enjoyed watching Jake play collegiately at Washington. But he's had five years of coaching -- the past two of them with a well-regarded offensive mind -- and there are still serious questions about his accuracy and his ability to read defenses. Drafting any quarterback is a risk. I just think those facts would lead me to look elsewhere with a first-round pick."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com explains why he thinks Cortez Kennedy should land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Farnsworth, a Hall of Fame voter until last year: "The point I focused on in my 2009 presentation was the fact that too few people saw just how good -- no, dominating -- Kennedy was because, well, he played his entire career in Seattle and also did it for some pretty bad teams. In his 11-year career, Kennedy appeared in only one playoff game, and that came in 1999 -- his next-to-last season."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune compares the Seahawks' offensive stats from 2010 to those from 2009. Williams, noting that the yardage total fell from 5,059 to 4,765: "Both teams have one thing in common -- the offensive coordinators (Greg Knapp in 2009, Jeremy Bates in 2010) were fired at season’s end. For comparison, the Seahawks finished with 4,385 net yards in Mike Holmgren’s final season in 2008, and 5,583 yards in 2007. The franchise record is 5,915 yards in 2005."