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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Around the NFC West: Taylor Mays' future

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com checks in with 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell. Unable to work with players, Donatell and the other 49ers coaches are working with one another. Donatell: "We'll watch tons of tape together. That's how you grow together -- just getting tuned up together. We do it a bunch of hours and weekends because we like it." Donatell also offered thoughts on second-year safety Taylor Mays: "This is a young player, going into Year 2. That's when a lot of guys spike, especially when you're a high-profile guy like he was. If you think about that first year, it's a whirlwind. He got some valuable playing time. I see a lot of traits. He should spike in this system." That seems to be the most optimistic assessment on Mays I've heard coming from the 49ers in quite a while.

The 49ers' announced Tim Ryan's addition to their preseason TV broadcast team. Ryan has worked 12 of the 49ers' last 48 regular-season games for Fox. He grew up in San Jose, lives there currently and played with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh when both were with the Chicago Bears. Ryan: "I grew up loving the 49ers."

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle offers a primer on new 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Ostler: "Kaepernick is adopted. First Rick and Teresa had a son, Kyle, now 33. They had two more sons who died in early infancy because of heart defects. Doctors told the Kaepernicks, 'No more.' Too late; Teresa was pregnant and had a healthy daughter, Devon, now 29. But there was a void left by the two sons who died, so six years later, the Kaepernicks adopted Colin."

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Kaepernick could play as a rookie even though he's unlikely to start.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Packers receiver Greg Jennings joined Cardinals players at the workouts Larry Fitzgerald has organized. Meanwhile, Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein laments the absence of organized team activities this offseason. Sendlein: "No matter what, the team is different every year. Minicamps and OTAs (organized team activities) are when you really build together as a team. Thankfully, some of us are still out here, building on that."

Also from Somers: Thoughts on Alan Faneca's retirement following one season with the Cardinals. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "He summed it up exactly right when he said going into camp that he wasn't going to be the player he was six years ago, but he was good enough. He played at a level that we thought was still very good. ... He was a powerful man, a big man for a guard. But the thing that was most impressive was his ability to think on the move and make assessments in a situation where it happens so fast. He had such a great feel for the game."

More from Somers: Faneca's retirement was no surprise, but the Cardinals do not have young players on the roster to replace him.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Faneca's leadership and toughness set him apart. Urban: "For the time being, veteran Rex Hadnot would figure to plug into Faneca’s left guard spot, although with so much left to be sorted in the offseason, depth charts don’t mean much right now. Fellow 2010 interior starters, center Lyle Sendlein and right guard Deuce Lutui, also have contracts that are expiring."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Pete Carroll and Mike Holmgren are the only Seahawks coaches to win a division title in their first season with the team. Holmgren and Chuck Knox were the only ones with winning records during their first seasons.

Also from Farnsworth: a look back at Carroll's first season with Seattle.

More from Farnsworth: Carroll's recent speech to Associated Press Sports Editors.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says there was "no malice" intended when Chester Pitts and Raheem Brock put together a video mocking commissioner Roger Goodell. I'm sure players would feel the same way if Goodell put together a video mocking them.

Also from O'Neil: a more expansive look at the video from Pitts and Brock. Pitts' impersonation of Barack Obama was spot-on, by the way.

Michael Lombardi of NFL.com suggests Darren Sproles as a possible free-agent target for the Rams as the team searches for a backup running back. Lombardi: "Sproles would be to the Rams what Danny Woodhead has been to the Patriots. He would allow Sam Bradford to have an effective check-down option, is a great screen runner, and his talents would force teams to defend the middle of the field, thus taking pressure off the outside receivers. Think of St. Louis being like the 2010 New England offense. With new Rams tight end Lance Kendricks being like Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, Danny Amendola being similar and as effective as Wes Welker, and Sproles being Woodhead, the Rams would be explosive. One third-down back, and the Rams are on their way to being a top-five scoring offense."

David Kvidahl of stlhighschoolsports.com says former Rams assistant strength and conditioning coach Chuck Faucette has taken a job as head coach at the high school level.