Thursday, September 24, 2009
Around the NFC West: 49ers need Crabtree?
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers will eventually need a wide receiver with the skills Michael Crabtree appears to possess. Jenkins: "Since the 1970 merger, only one other team, the 1972 Dolphins, ever won the Super Bowl with the league's top ground game. Singletary would have loved coaching that team, with co-1,000-yard rushers Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, but it was the presence of wide receiver Paul Warfield that made those Dolphins unstoppable."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat has this to say about the 49ers' tampering charges against the Jets regarding Crabtree: "The 49ers believe they have a strong case against the New York Jets, a source said. After all, they know from first-hand knowledge the kind of evidence that is likely to sway NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who ruled against the 49ers in a tampering case. Goodell determined the 49ers had improper communications with the agent for Chicago Bears' Lance Briggs around the time of the 2007 trade deadline."
Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post offers new thoughts on the Crabtree situation. Brandt: "Why, one would reasonably ask, would a player turn down guaranteed money in the $17-million range and an APY (average per year) of over $4 million to roll the dice on an uncertain future? The most likely answer is that another team has intimated in subtle (or not-so-subtle) terms that if Crabtree takes that alternative, he will not regret it financially."
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle previews the Week 3 matchup between Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. Peterson points to his 2007 game against the 49ers as the worst of his career. Peterson: "That's a game that sticks in my mind. It's the worst game of my career. I don't take it lightly. I give praise to San Francisco's defense. They have some good guys. They play football like football should be played on the defensive side of the ball. I felt like I was being attacked by bees in that game."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says playing the 49ers is a big deal for Peterson after the 49ers held him to 3 yards on 14 carries during a 2007 game between the teams.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers stopped Peterson for a loss or no gain on eight of his 14 carries.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have had 32 return specialists since the 2000 season. Danny Amendola is No. 33. The Rams have allowed 11 kickoff-return touchdowns and scored only one of their own since Tony Horne's last return for the team in 2000.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie James Laurinaitis has 24 tackles through two games and keeps working to get better. Laurinaitis: "I like to watch the not-so-good plays and look for things I can improve. I've been that way my whole life. It didn't matter if it was at Ohio State or at Wayzata High School (in Plymouth, Minn.). Every game, I always went up to my coach and said, 'All right, what do I need to improve? What do I need to understand better?' "
Also from Coats: Center Jason Brown impressed the Rams by returning to practice three days after suffering a sprained knee. Also, the Rams' captains for Week 3 are Adam Goldberg (offense), James Butler (defense) and Chris Chamberlain (special teams).
Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis says Amendola caught a deep pass from Marc Bulger early in practice.
Turf Show Times' VanRam sees 'signs of life' from the Rams' offensive line.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' defense could be better prepared for Peyton Manning after working against Kurt Warner in practice. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis: "If there was a camp to be in this year to prepare for Peyton, it would have been ours."
Also from Somers: Larry Fitzgerald's father wasn't happy with Marcus Fitzgerald's comments about Kurt Warner, but quarterback and receiver seemed to be unfazed.
Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 previews the Colts-Cardinals matchup by looking at which team has the edge in various categories. On the tight ends: "This one was easy. The Cardinals may have the worst tight end corps in the league, while Dallas Clark is number one in total receiving yards after two weeks. See the Monday night football game this week."
Jim Moore of seattlepi.com makes the case for Justin Forsett as the Seahawks' starting running back. Forsett generally plays in the Seahawks' three-receiver package with one tight end.
John Morgan of Field Gulls answers Seahawks-related questions for ESPNChicago.com as the Bears prepare to visit Qwest Field. Morgan: "Seneca Wallace may never be a starting quarterback, but he is a very good backup. Mike Holmgren attempted to mold Wallace into a pocket passer, and though he's not, the training has done him good. He is more comfortable in the pocket and has developed some ability to read the defense."
Matt Pitman of 710ESPN Seattle links to audio from conversations with Wallace and Deion Branch. Branch said he was ready to play in Week 2, but coach Jim Mora decided to hold him out another week.
Dave Wyman of 710ESPN Seattle takes a closer look at Matt Hasselbeck's options on the play when the quarterback scrambled and suffered a broken rib. Wyman: "So my point is that Matt's scramble created a very difficult situation for the San Francisco defense and it was instrumental in the ease of that [subsequent] touchdown."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times revisits comments from Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, who suggested Seattle invested an "exorbitant amount" in receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Angelo in March: "Houshmandzadeh is a fine receiver. Would we have entertained him? Yes, but we wanted to see what his marketplace was. In this case, we felt like it was an exorbitant amount of money. Remember, he was a No. 2 in Cincinnati. That's not to say that what Seattle did wasn't right for them; their situation is different in my mind than ours. They had an inordinate amount of injuries with receivers and they felt like they needed to get somebody that was established and healthy."
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune quotes Houshmandzadeh this way: "Man, the Bears ain't holler at me. Jerry Angelo probably didn't even think I could play. So I'm going to show him Sunday.''
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times says Seahawks coach Jim Mora is projecting optimism amid injuries.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Matt Hasselbeck could play Sunday even if he doesn't practice during the week.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings, who is back in the starting lineup.