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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Around the NFC West: Rams' RB options

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes the Rams' situation at running back this way: "I think the Rams have delayed the almost-annual 'effort' to add a quality change-of-pace back behind Steven Jackson to the point where we're on the cusp of wondering if the Rams should be thinking about a successor instead. I myself think Jackson has two or three more top-tier seasons under his belt. (And if you think that way, it might be a year or two early to be thinking about a successor.) He turns 28 in July. If [they] don't think Jackson has two or three top years left, then I could see where you might be thinking more strongly about Mark Ingram." My thoughts here.

Also from Thomas: Some experts say the Rams need an owner-friendly collective bargaining agreement to succeed in St. Louis over the long term.

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis examines the value of Wonderlic scores, noting that former Rams receiver Kevin Curtis scored 48 out of 50 on the exam. Softli: "Some high-profile players have scored low on the test. This year's top talent with single-digit scores includes Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson. However, both will get drafted in the top 10 picks. Years ago, quarterbacks Dan Marino and Vince Young both scored 16 on the test, though Young scored a six on his first attempt. There is no correlation between this test, Pro Bowlers, and Hall of Famers or busts."

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com says coach Pete Carroll has embarked on a four-city coaching clinic tour. Malcolmson: "The coaches workshop attracted high school and college coaches, along with various business executives and community leaders, who hope to employ many of Carroll’s teaching and leadership techniques to their spheres of influence. With a wide range of speakers, the workshop featured 'four quarters' of learning, going from self-discovery to 'learn your learner' to the importance of practice to 'perform in the absence of fear.' "

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about the Seahawks and the 25th overall choice in the 2011 draft: "Well, if Seahawks are on the clock at No. 25 and Mark Ingram is still there, the Seahawks would have to look long and hard at that one, and it would be tough to justify passing up a young back with that power and that talent just because you have Marshawn Lynch signed for another year. Remember back in [2005] when a quarterback went tumbling down the draft order, and Green Bay -- with John Schneider in that front office -- didn't have a pronounced need at quarterback. But they took Aaron Rodgers."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers his own list of 10 best NFL head coaches after seeing the version ESPN.com put together. He ranks Ken Whisenhunt eighth. Somers: "To me, the list emphasizes the importance of having great talent evaluators, a consistent philosophy and the importance of ownership staying out of most football decisions. That's certainly what Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton and Tom Coughlin have. So do the Falcons and the Ravens. A year ago, a case could be made that the Cardinals were moving in that direction, but a 5-11 record in 2010 suggests otherwise."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the team has closed the door to its draft room, an indication the Cardinals are getting serious about putting together their draft boards (yes, the team has more than one).

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Colin Kaepernick's athleticism could appeal to the 49ers, who have identified athleticism and accuracy as top traits in a quarterback. Barrows: "Kaepernick ran for 1,206 yards last season and scored 20 touchdowns on the ground. He is the only player in NCAA history with more than 4,000 rushing yards and more than 10,000 passing yards. But the Turlock native is careful to describe himself not as a rushing quarterback but as a quarterback who can extend plays with his feet."