Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Around the NFC West: Pro Bowl moves
By Mike Sando
The NFC would have a hard time fielding a Pro Bowl secondary without its Western division.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com notes that the NFL has added Seattle's Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner to the NFC squad after the San Francisco 49ers' Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers withdrew from the game, citing injuries. Chancellor and Browner were alternates. Arizona's Adrian Wilson is also one of the safeties, as is Seattle's Earl Thomas. This means three-fourths of the Seahawks' secondary is in the Pro Bowl even though arguably the team's best corner, Richard Sherman, did not make it. Noted: Goldson and Rogers both have expiring contracts. Playing in the Pro Bowl would have meant spending the week hanging out with Green Bay's coaching staff. The Packers haven't been big spenders in free agency, but the Pro Bowl is one of the few places rules allow players from one team to hang out with coaches from another.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' Brian Jennings has been added to the NFC roster as a "need" player. Jennings is arguably the best long-snapper in the NFL. Maiocco: "Jennings, a 12-year veteran, will make his second career appearance in the Pro Bowl. He becomes the ninth 49ers player to be selected to play in this year's game, which is takes place Sunday in Honolulu. The eight 49ers players previously selected to the NFC roster are defensive backs Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers, defensive lineman Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis, running back Frank Gore, tackle Joe Staley, kicker David Akers and punter Andy Lee."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' need for wide receiver help is glaring after Michael Crabtree's single 3-yard reception accounted for all catches by San Francisco wideouts in the NFC title game. Kawakami: "The Giants’ three wide receivers combined to catch 16 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown Sunday, helping counterbalance the 49ers’ huge advantages in almost all other areas. It took two botched punt returns by Kyle Williams to set up the Giants for their game-deciding scores, but they would have been nowhere near the 49ers without their wide receivers. So as the 49ers hurtle into their offseason, upgrading their receiving corps has to be their central focus."
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle did not notice the Giants going out of their way to inflict a concussion upon Williams.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Jim Harbaugh's refusal to discuss his feelings smacks of emotional immaturity.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers thoughts on the Cardinals' chances for landing Peyton Manning, should the Colts part with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Somers: "Throwing to Larry Fitzgerald has to be an attractive prospect. With Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, the Cardinals have two talented young running backs. There are questions on the offensive line, however. The Cardinals' defense was stout over the last half of the season. Under Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals have proven they are willing to throw the ball and to mold their offense around the strengths of an older quarterback." Noted: Manning has never needed a strong offensive line. He has long proven how much quarterback play matters for avoiding sacks.
Also from Somers: Jerry Sullivan was briefly a candidate to rejoin the Cardinals. Noted: Seems like Bruce Arians would be a natural fit in Arizona after the Steelers decided against offering a new contract to him.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com provides a timeline for scheduled bonus payments to Manning and the Cardinals' Kevin Kolb. Manning is scheduled to receive $28 million from the Colts on March 8. Kolb is scheduled to receive $7 million from the Cardinals on March 17. Urban also notes that Hue Jackson could be interviewing with the Cardinals, per Charley Casserly. Noted: With free agency beginning March 13, the gap between bonus payments to Manning and Kolb would give the Cardinals time to explore their options with Manning, should the Colts decline to pay the bonus.
Also from Urban: Calais Campbell would not complain if the Cardinals named him their franchise player.
The Cardinals' Beanie Wells suggests he's undergoing surgery, presumably on the knee that bothered him this past season. Noted: Ryan Williams is also coming off surgery.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates Rams coaching moves after the team reached agreement with Dave McGinnis to join the staff as assistant head coach. Thomas: "Several other staff additions appear to be in the works but have not been made official, including Paul Boudreau as offensive line coach, Mike Waufle as defensive line coach, Rob Boras as tight ends coach and Tim Walton for what could be a job as assistant defensive coordinator/passing game."