Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Around the NFC West: Amukamara top CB?
By Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says former 49ers cornerback Eric Davis sees Prince Amukamara becoming a better, more versatile cornerback than Patrick Peterson. Davis: "Both are can't-miss guys. When you talk about athletic ability, Peterson is the better athlete. He's not a lot better, but he's the better athlete. Now, if you're talking about playing the cornerback position in the NFL, Amukamara has a higher ceiling. He works better in space. His body movement allows him to work better in space and play multiple defenses. Peterson is eventually going to be a safety. He lost weight this year to play at 210. He came into camp smaller. But when you look at two or three years into the league, he'll be a 225-pound guy, easily. He'll be a safety more in the mold of Ed Reed instead of a corner. I don't look at him as (Darrelle) Revis or Nnamdi (Asomugha). He's a lot bigger than those guys." Amukamara's college coach, Bo Pelini, was the 49ers' assistant secondary coach when Davis played for the team.
Also from Maiocco: The 49ers are scheduled to play on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1972. He also notes the long list of 49ers opponents with unsettled quarterback situations. Matt Hasselbeck, Josh Johnson, Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb are in flux. Maiocco: "What color uniform will Alex Smith be wearing? You'd think Alex Smith is only coming back to the 49ers if he can't get a multi-year deal from another team. Might the Cardinals be that team? In his only start against the Cardinals last season, Smith threw for 276 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was Smith's most passing yards in a victory in his career."
More from Maiocco: Christian Ponder could be the best fit for San Francisco among quarterbacks in the NFL draft based in part on how his personality could fit with coach Jim Harbaugh.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee takes a game-by-game look at the 49ers' schedule for 2011. Will the Oct. 16 game at Detroit feature Smith leading the 49ers against the Shaun Hill-led Lions? As Barrows notes, with Matthew Stafford's injury history, you never know.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat passes along thoughts from Harbaugh on facing his brother, John, in a Thanksgiving game at Baltimore. Jim Harbaugh on NFL Network: "One thing I can probably can tell you right now is, we’re not going to have time to socialize the day of game."
Also from Branch: For the first time since 2006, the Cardinals and 49ers will not play on Monday night.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News offers game-by-game thoughts on the 49ers' schedule, including this one on an Oct. 30 game against Cleveland: "The Browns have won three consecutive games against San Francisco. How long ago was the 49ers’ last win? They survived late touchdown catches by Webster Slaughter and Ozzie Newsome and got a late field goal from Mike Cofer to win 20-17 on Oct. 28, 1990." I was surprised to learn that Newsome was still playing in 1990. It was his last season.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com says the team has had success with the seventh overall choice in past drafts.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times caught up with Hasselbeck at a charity function, asking about the quarterback's contract situation. Hasselbeck: "We talked before the season and we talked about doing a deal before the season. I went to lunch with John Schneider, we had a great lunch. We talked about it. He said, 'Hey, we're trying to do it. If we don't do it, are you going to offended?' No. Never. And then we talked some during. We just talked. But I think that both sides know that without the labor agreement, you would have to take a leap of faith on some stuff."
Also from O'Neil: thoughts on the Seahawks' 2011 regular-season schedule. On the Seahawks' home opener, set for Sept. 25 against Arizona: "Seahawks have won seven of their past eight regular-season home openers, and they have allowed a total of six points in the past two home openers."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals face the NFL's easiest 2011 schedule based on 2010 records.
Also from Somers: The Cardinals play eight games in 2011 against teams currently unsettled at quarterback. Four of those are against NFC West rivals San Francisco and Seattle.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers Ken Whisenhunt's thoughts on the Cardinals' 2011 schedule. The team has no games in prime time. Urban: "Ken Whisenhunt looked over the 2011 Cardinals’ regular-season schedule and was reminded of 2004. That year, when he was offensive coordinator for the Steelers, Pittsburgh went 15-1 with a schedule that featured all Sunday games except one, when the Steelers beat the Ravens on a Saturday."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' schedule, complete with two Monday night games. shows the team is heading in the right direction. Also, general manager Billy Devaney feels good enough about the roster to consider trading up in the draft. Devaney: "You know how it was around here. In the past, we had so many needs to fill and had to find a way to put this foundation together. We couldn't afford to trade away any of our picks because we had so many needs, so many holes. Then again, in years past, there also was no need to move up because, unfortunately, we were already at No. 1 or No. 2. But things are a little better now. I'm not saying now we're just one player away from putting this thing together. But on the same token, I feel good about our foundation. So if (a potential trade) was something reasonable -- I'm not saying a high pick -- I would feel more willing to do it than in years past."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says during a chat that wide receiver is "easily" the Rams' biggest need heading into the 2011 draft. Thomas: "All you had to do was watch the Seattle game to close the season to see how much trouble Rams wide receivers had consistently beating one-on-one coverage. The Rams were noticeably improved on offense last year, and still scored only 17 points. They need to add another touchdown a game to be truly competitive."