Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Around the NFC West: Jim Harbaugh mum
By Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wasn't the only NFL person taking a conservative approach at the combine. Maiocco: "These were different days at the scouting combine with the lockout looming. Typically, free agency is right around the corner. When all the team executives and agents gathered in one place, downtown Indianapolis turned into ground zero for tampering. Illegal free-agency deals were not always struck at the combine, but agents would know which teams were the serious players for the top free agents. This year, there was little of that going on, one agent said. Teams were ultra-cautious about discussing players who are set to become free agents. There will not be free agency this year until the owners and the union agree on a new collective bargaining agreement."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Texas A&M pass-rusher Von Miller might not be available when the 49ers select at No. 7 overall. Barrows: "Von Miller is turning heads at the combine the way that Aaron Curry did two years ago. Curry was picked fourth overall by the Seahawks in 2009 even though he wasn't known as a sack master. Miller is, which makes you figure he could go at least as high. Miller proved today the extra nine pounds he gained in February wouldn't slow him down. He's still fast -- he ran an official 4.51-second 40 -- and fluid enough to play all over the field. Another thing that scouts like about him: arm length. They measured 34 inches, which, to put it in perspective, is a half inch longer than Cal's Cameron Jordan, who is two inches taller and 40 pounds heavier."
Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News says former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci has the team selecting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson first overall.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team has re-signed cornerback Kennard Cox, a contributor on special teams. Farnsworth: "Cox played in 11 games and his highlight play was blocking a punt in the Week 12 game against the Kansas City Chiefs that rookie Earl Thomas returned for a touchdown."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune points to offensive line and quarterback as areas the Seahawks could address in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. Williams: "Still a little early to pin down, but OL still is a glaring weakness, and I like Mike Pouncey because he can play both guard and center. And he will make an impact right away. But don't discount the fact they might take a QB there."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who had little choice but to move past the team's 16-6 defeat at Seattle in Week 17. Thomas: "Shurmur was part of a rebuilding process in St. Louis, helping the Rams crawl out of a 1-15 hole in 2009 to a 7-9 finish last season. He'll face a similar task in Cleveland, where the Browns have had only one winning season since 2002. In St. Louis, Shurmur played a major role in the development of quarterback Sam Bradford and spent tons of time with him over the past year. But things materialized so quickly with the Browns and have been so hectic since, that Shurmur never had a chance for much of a goodbye with Bradford."
ESPN's Adam Schefter says via ESPN Insider that the Cardinals quietly extended a restricted free-agent tender to wide receiver Steve Breaston. Breaston has played four seasons. He could qualify as an unrestricted free agent under a new labor deal, if and when one is reached. Breaston's totals for receptions have fallen from 77 to 55 to 47 over the past three seasons. He remains valuable to the team as a receiver and as a leader by example. The game-saving tackle and forced fumble he made at St. Louis in the 2010 regular-season opener symbolized that value. Knee problems stand as the only significant long-term concern for Breaston, whose role has changed since the team traded Anquan Boldin to Baltimore. Larry Fitzgerald's potential free agency following the 2011 season could heighten the importance of keeping Breaston.