Monday, July 11, 2011
Around the NFC West: Fitzgerald's future
By Mike Sando
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com sizes up the team's wide receivers. Who will start opposite Larry Fitzgerald? It might not be Steve Breaston. Urban: "That’s because Breaston is likely to end up as a free agent, and his return is cloudy. It could well depend on the level of interest Breaston has should he hit the open market. Breaston started last season as a top key target for the Cards, especially with Fitzgerald coming back from a knee injury. Then Breaston had minor knee surgery himself, and by the end of the season, his role was cut into by rookie Andre Roberts." Fitzgerald's future is obviously critical for the position. The extended lockout has prevented the team from adding a quarterback and laying the groundwork for a deal with Fitzgerald. There is still time. Getting a deal done before the season would be ideal.
Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News updates the 49ers' efforts to sell tickets for their proposed Santa Clara stadium. Rosenberg: "The Santa Clara City Council late Tuesday unanimously approved a contract with New Jersey-based Legends Hospitality to sell season tickets for the $987 million stadium next to Great America. Legends said it plans to hire sales reps later this year and will start selling seats in January. They plan to launch a long-term marketing campaign, as the building is not slated to open until 2015."
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson, who could become a veteran option for the 49ers based on his background with coach Jim Harbaugh. Branch: "Johnson, who has one year remaining on his contract, acknowledged Thursday his desire to reunite with Harbaugh. But his primary message at Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco was to spread the word regarding the Fam 1st Family Foundation he's created with his cousin, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are scheduled to open training camp July 28, provided the lockout ends in time. Harbaugh recently withdrew from a golf tournament scheduled for this week, just in case a labor agreement comes together quickly.
Also from Maiocco: Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick and first-year coach Jim Harbaugh were together for a banquet in Carson City, Nev. Kaepernick: "I'm just going to lay it all on the line. It's up to Coach Harbaugh and his staff but I'm going to do all I can to get that starting spot."
Bob Padecky of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Harbaugh's handling of the quarterback competition between Kaepernick and Alex Smith will prove telling. Padecky: "Here’s hoping Harbaugh keeps his word about the quarterback battle and leaves politics out of it. Harbaugh will go a long way in defining himself by how he treats the Smith-Kaepernick situation. And if he hasn’t felt the heavy weight of politics on his shoulders yet, Harbaugh will. He’s head coach of the 49ers. Politics is part of the job description." Harbaugh has put the focus on Smith this offseason. There are no real expectations for Kaepernick right away. That puts Kaepernick in a good position heading toward camp.
The 49ers' website details plans to commemorate the team's first Super Bowl championship with a screening of Super Bowl XVI at team headquarters July 23.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com asks fans to name the best player in franchise history. Walter Jones would probably get my vote.
Also from Farnsworth: a look at Tom Catlin's impact as the Seahawks' defensive coordinator in 1990.
More from Farnsworth: Jones was an easy choice at left tackle on the Seahawks' 35th anniversary team.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Kerry Collins' retirement from the Titans makes Tennessee a more natural landing spot for Matt Hasselbeck if the veteran quarterback does not re-sign with Seattle. Our own Paul Kuharsky thinks Hasselbeck will top the Titans' list of veteran options at the position. Hasselbeck's strong connections to the Titans' front office make the fit appealing on some levels even though it's hard to imagine Hasselbeck wanting to relocate his family to Tennessee at this stage of his career. Would the Titans offer substantially more money and security? Jake Locker projects as their starter for 2012.
Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis says the Rams plan to hold training camp at their headquarters near St. Louis, although the team has not yet made an announcement. The Rams had considered multiple venues this offseason. The held camp at their headquarters last year. The team's facility offers easy access for fans, but hot and humid weather can make practices hard on players. Coach Steve Spagnuolo seemed to take that into account last year, drawing praise from some veteran players, notably running back Steven Jackson.