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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch catches up with former Rams coach Jim Haslett, who kept his job with the team long enough to miss out on opportunities elsewhere. He's coaching in the UFL. Thomas: "Haslett said the hand of John Shaw was in his dismissal, even though Shaw had stepped down from team president to club adviser just a few weeks earlier. He said the Rams might have won a couple of more games had he been allowed to fire some assistants after taking over for Scott Linehan. Haslett wouldn't name names, but he said Shaw and owner Chip Rosenbloom wouldn't let him make staff changes, one of which almost certainly would have been the firing of offensive coordinator Al Saunders during the bye week that preceded Haslett's first game as interim had coach." Haslett pointed to Steven Jackson's injury as the turning point in the season.
VanRam of Turf Show Times says the Rams' future in St. Louis depends largely on minority owner Stan Kroenke.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers and first-round choice Michael Crabtree are "far apart" in negotiations. One thing I wondered was whether Crabtree might see himself as the best receiver in the draft, even though he was the second one taken. Maiocco: "There are indications that it will be a challenge for the 49ers to get Crabtree signed before the start of training camp. Again, there is still a lot of time to get something accomplished -- and only two first-round picks have signed deals -- but the 49ers and Crabtree are currently far apart in their negotiations."
49ers scout Ethan Waugh explains what scouts have been doing since the draft. Waugh: "After having time with family, we quickly jumped right back into our duties with the 49ers. The starting point is the NFS (National Football Scouting) spring meeting that is held each year in Florida. This scouting 'combine' shares information among its member clubs on each of the players in the 2010 draft class. Essentially, they have a team of scouts that spends all of spring 2009 working on the 2010 class while we are still concerned with the current year's draft." I have covered the NFL since 1998 and do not recall ever knowing that. Thanks for sharing.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the Cardinals' wide receivers -- pretty good group -- and tight ends. He doesn't expect much from Early Doucet. Somers: "Steve Breaston and Jerheme Urban give the Cardinals great depth. Both proved they could make plays when called upon. Early Doucet, a third-round pick in 2008, is going to have a hard time getting on the field. Sean Morey, an excellent special teams player, takes one receiver's spot on game day. Urban is a contributor on special teams, while Doucet hasn't proven he can do that. That's five receivers ahead of Doucet on game day."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com expects Anquan Boldin to report to training camp on time despite contractual dissatisfaction.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind breaks down the Cardinals' running backs.
John Morgan of Field Gulls gives the Seahawks an A-plus at linebacker while rallying to Lofa Tatupu's defense. This is part of a broader package on NFC West linebackers. Morgan: "What makes Tatupu special though is his leadership. I shy from celebrating what is often a media creation, but Tatupu isn't a presence or a legend, he's player that smartly audibles stunts, picks out routes and points out plays before they happen. That is, he isn't the kind of leader that contributes swagger, he's the kind that teaches, directs and maximizes the talent around him. Kind of like Mike Singletary. Mike Singletary the player, that is."