Monday, February 7, 2011
Around the NFC West: Cardinals' structure
By Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic checks in with Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner. He also questions the Cardinals' organizational structure. Somers: "The Cardinals don't have a strong general manager. Rod Graves is friendly, pliable, sincere and a great ambassador for Bidwill interests. He came to the desert as a $100,000 scout, hiked his annual salary to around $1.5 million, and I celebrate his good fortune. But he's not a team builder, and his ascension represents the primary flaw in the organization's design. Consequently, Whisenhunt has been stretched thin at times, forced to get involved in areas that shift his focus from his primary obligation: leading men who have the talent to win football games." Whisenhunt does seem to feel a need to get involved in areas ideally left to others, including contract negotiations. His involvement in Anquan Boldin's situation personalized the dispute in a manner that was not productive.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects the Cardinals to hire a defensive coordinator by the end of the week.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says players felt empty watching Super Bowl festivities from afar.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Marshall Faulk felt some anxiety as the Hall of Fame announcement approach. Thomas: "It was the kind of nervousness and anxiety that he hadn't felt since his playing days. Then his game-day instincts took over and he calmed. And then he heard his name. From the Desire Projects in New Orleans to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Faulk's football journey was complete as he became the first Ram from their 'Greatest Show on Turf'' days to be elected to the Hall."
Also from Thomas: Former Rams defensive tackle Ryan Pickett was happy to be back in the Super Bowl. Thomas: "Following his rookie season, when he was a backup, Pickett started the next four seasons for the Rams at defensive tackle and played well. He was a very active player for the position, averaging 96 tackles a season from 2002 through 2005. But in one of several personnel blunders by the Rams during those days, the team made next to no effort to re-sign Pickett when his original contract expired after the '05 season. They spent the next several years looking for replacements."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers thoughts on the Rams' owners, past and present.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com sends Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller to the 49ers with the seventh overall choice in his first mock draft of the year. Under this scenario, quarterback Blaine Gabbert lands in Arizona with the fifth overall choice. Maiocco has receiver Julio Jones going to the Rams at No. 14 and quarterback Ryan Mallett going to the Seahawks at No. 25. These projections make sense from a need standpoint.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers, like the Rams, are installing a new offensive system, but they're worse off than St. Louis because they don't have their starting quarterback. Barrows: "Which helps explain why Harbaugh has been so rosy and complimentary of Alex Smith in recent weeks. The quarterback who gives the 49ers the best chance to hit the ground running after a turbulence-filled offseason is Smith. He's familiar with all the offensive players and is good friends with many of them. He lives just minutes from the team's facility. And he's played in a West Coast system before -- in 2005 when Packers coach Mike McCarthy was the offensive coordinator."
Also from Barrows: a Jim Harbaugh profile. Barrows: "Look at Harbaugh's résumé and you'll find an odd overlap. From 1993-2001 he was both an NFL quarterback and an assistant coach at Western Kentucky. When the school's football program ran out of money and was in danger of being dropped, Harbaugh became certified as a college coach and spent the NFL offseasons recruiting -– gratis –- for his father."
Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times says Seahawks assistant coach Rocky Seto apparently is not leaving the team to coach at UCLA. Foster: "Seto, as assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, was offered and accepted the job Tuesday night, but the offer was rescinded the following day, according to the person close to the negotiations. ... According to people in the program who are not authorized to talk about the search, (Rick) Neuheisel approached then Stanford defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who was not interested, and interviewed former Florida defensive co-coordinators Teryl Austin and Chuck Heater. Fangio is now with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, Austin became an assistant with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens and Heater was hired as Temple’s defensive coordinator."