Thursday, January 12, 2012
Around the NFC West: Kroenke on hold
By Mike Sando
Just a hunch, but I'm guessing billionaire NFL owners such as the St. Louis Rams' Stan Kroenke don't enjoy spending a week on hold, listening to the same song over and over.
Surely Kroenke and the Rams will not wait much longer for Jeff Fisher to decide which team he'll coach next. Will they?
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Kroenke has played these games before and shouldn't lose for reasons of economics. Burwell: "This is a game Kroenke is quite familiar to playing. If winning the Jeff Fisher Sweepstakes comes down to who is willing to dig the deepest into his substantially deep pockets -- and Fisher isn't looking to become the first NFL head coach to pull down sick, franchise quarterback money -- Kroenke can win this game, because he's played it before. The renowned manager of Kroenke's professional soccer team in England, Arsene Wenger, earns a staggering $7 million a year to work the sidelines for Arsenal."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams need better players if they expect to succeed under any head coach, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams continue to consider candidates beyond Fisher. Thomas: "League sources have confirmed that the Rams plan to interview New Orleans assistant coach Aaron Kromer as well as Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski."
Terry McCormick of National Football Post reflects on whether Fisher might be leaning toward the Dolphins. McCormick: "Fisher, according to what sources indicate to NFP, could be in line to make upwards of $8 million a year on a contract for five years from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. There have been reports that while Fisher was previously leaning toward the Rams, the possibility of the team going back to Los Angeles is something he wants no part of, having been coach of the Houston Oilers during their transition to becoming the Tennessee Titans." Noted: If that is indeed a concern for Fisher, any decision he makes to join a team other than the Rams will make it appear as though the Rams could not assure him the team would remain in St. Louis.
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck thinks the Seahawks would be wise to pursue Matt Flynn or Brian Hoyer this offseason. Hasselbeck: "I think that the only backup quarterback that played better than Matt Flynn in the preseason was Brian Hoyer. I think Brian Hoyer, without question, can be a very good starting quarterback in the NFL."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune likes the budding rivalries in the NFC West. Boling: "One might cheer for New Orleans, hoping the Saints cause San Francisco to suffer grievous humiliation in Saturday’s playoff match because, as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But deferred gratification might come if the 49ers went on a streak and won the Super Bowl, knowing they’d then be forced to pick last on draft day, and also might be more vulnerable to a let-down and laxity next season. Either way, it is relevant now that there is reason for fans around here to care about the fate of their rivals -- because they finally have rivals."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic updates the Todd Haley situation in relation to the Cardinals. Haley is scheduled to interview with the Jets. Somers: "Cardinals officials are believed to have spoken with Haley at least twice about returning to Arizona, where he was offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008. Mike Miller is currently the offensive coordinator, but the recent firing of Chris Miller created an opening as quarterbacks coach. Offensive-line coach Russ Grimm and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens have been offered new contracts but have yet to sign them. Coaches have been on vacation this week."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are benefiting from quarterback Alex Smith's study habits. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman: "He's extremely sharp, but it comes down to the way he prepares, his will to succeed, his commitment to winning, commitment to the team. In Alex's case, he's going to be in the office with us at night, nailing things down. I told him next year or in the future, he might be able to get home and get to bed a little earlier. If we ever get an offseason, we can get together and iron some of these things out. Really, he's on the details. We're thankful for that."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says clogging inside passing lanes is a top priority for the 49ers, according to Justin Smith.
Alex Espinoza of 49ers.com says going against Justin Smith in practice is a great learning experience, but also a painful one, for young offensive linemen such as Daniel Kilgore.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Vernon Davis is feeling much more comfortable with the 49ers' offense in recent weeks.