Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Around the NFC West: QB beauty contest
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Reed Albergotti of the Wall Street Journal says Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Hill and Kurt Warner rank among the 10 most handsome quarterbacks in the NFL, based on research showing a relationship between facial symmetry and perceived attractiveness. Albergotti: "Scientific research overwhelmingly points to facial symmetry as an indicator of success. Studies show infants with more symmetrical faces are given more attention. Symmetrical workers also tend to earn more. Football is supposed to be egalitarian, of course. The players with the strongest and most accurate throwing arms should become the quarterbacks while the biggest, most powerful players should be linemen. Somewhere along the way, it seems, good-looking kids are steered toward the glamour position."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals want second-year cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to become more disciplined in adhering to his assignments. The Packers had fun at Rodgers-Cromartie's expense in the Cardinals' most recent exhibition game. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I would say he's a young player that at times is undisciplined, and it's our job, and it's our defensive leaders' job, to get him on the same page. I think he was disappointed in the way he played, embarrassed, and he worked in practice a lot harder. Hopefully, that will translate to a better game. I still like the young man as a football player. He's got tremendous talent and we're going to continue to work with him to see if we can establish more consistency."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Whisenhunt's anger over his team's performance against the Packers has subsided. Expect the Cardinals' starters to get limited work in the final exhibition game.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind tackles competition for spots on the Cardinals' roster.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers cornerback Nate Clements took notice upon seeing Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald posing shirtless on a magazine cover (left). "I thought you had to have abs for that," Clements joked. Brown: "Clements might want to be careful with his quips, considering he’s going to have to cover the coverboy in the 49ers’ regular-season opener in Arizona on Sept. 13. Fitzgerald is coming off a dazzling postseason and a trip to the Super Bowl; Clements is in his ninth season and still searching for his first postseason appearance. Moreover, Clements has endured some rough patches during the preseason games, including allowing a few big gainers against Dallas on Saturday."
Also from Brown: 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye would like to run the ball 60 percent of the time. More on that in a bit.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat projects the 53-man roster for the 49ers. He keeps J.J. Finley at Bear Pascoe's expense and expects the 49ers to pick up a free-agent fullback, which makes sense after the team lost Zak Keasey to injury.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' starting offensive line worked together for the first time since left guard David Baas suffered a torn plantar fascia Aug. 4.
Also from Barrows: Nate Davis needs more reps to better grasp the 49ers' offense.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune forecasts the Seahawks' initial 53-man roster for the 2009 season. He puts Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu on the team at receiver, releasing Jordan Kent. Joe Newton is the choice over Cameron Morrah as the third tight end. Kyle Williams makes it at tackle.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Michael Bumpus' release from the Seahawks shows how much more depth Seattle has at the position this season. Injuries forced Bumpus into the starting lineup for a game last season.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't hesitate to affix blame for the Rams' roster predicament. Miklasz: "These drafts were conducted by head coach coach Scott Linehan and GM Jay Zygmunt. Both are gone from Rams Park. Horrible personnel decisions were a substantial part of their demise, and the impact is still reverberating. The new regime of GM Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo inherited a stripped-down roster and will need plenty of time to clean up the mess caused by Linehan and Zygmunt."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo asked players to support the team's personnel decisions after St. Louis traded 2006 first-round choice Tye Hill to the Falcons for a 2010 seventh-round pick. Accepting so little in return for Hill suggests the Rams might have released him anyway. Spagnuolo stopped short of endorsing Jonathan Wade as a likely starter now that Hill is gone. Spagnuolo: "Wade's play has improved this preseason, but he's the first to admit he needs further improvement across the board. When asked what he liked about Wade, Spagnuolo sidestepped the question, perhaps another indication he's keeping his options open."
Also from Thomas: Joe Klopfenstein's excellent measurable skills never translated to production on the field.
More from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring questions about the Rams' depth at cornerback after the team traded Hill. Thomas: "I do question the depth behind Hill. Like the draft picks and free agents he has brought here, Devaney will be judged over time."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch backs the Rams as the new football leadership parts with high-profile players from the past, including Hill. Burwell: "The people whose fingerprints are on the crime of this century are long gone, and here was all the stark evidence why."
Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com translates the message Rams management sent through its recent moves. Gordon: "Everybody has to earn their job here. Hill’s first-round draft status didn’t help him whatsoever."