Monday, February 27, 2012
Around the NFC West: 'Audacious visions'
By Mike Sando
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL scouting combine wraps up this week in a relatively new venue.
Lucas Oil Stadium was also site of the Super Bowl this year.
The San Francisco 49ers will not be playing host to the combine at any point, but they appear likely to land a Super Bowl after securing necessary financing for a new stadium, to be ready for the 2014 or 2015 season.
Getting a stadium built in California stands as an upset for the 49ers and their ownership.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News checks in with 49ers president and minority owner Gideon Yu, who credits CEO Jed York for laying out grand visions. Yu: "I’ve worked for a lot of guys in the past that have audacious big visions. Jed ranks up there with those guys that were set to change the world -- going out to change the world. Jed in his own way is doing the same thing. His audacious goal, audacious visions are the ones we as a team went out and implemented. So getting this stadium financed in what amounts to a year before everybody thought that we would -- you never thought we would -- but we did the best we could to get it done a year ahead of time. That started from Jed asking a very simple question, which was, it looked like things were going well with the NFL, going well with our team, there’s some good tailwinds here, because of the new CBA, the new television deal: ‘Is there a chance to get a fully financed stadium right now?’ We went out there, tested the market, and sure enough, the market was ready for us. And what credit do I get? The credit that I get is making sure that what Jed laid down for us was executed."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers safety Dashon Goldson is looking for an agent after firing Drew Rosenhaus. Barrows: "Goldson hired Rosenhaus in 2010 in an effort to secure a lucrative, long-term contract. Goldson was impressed with the five-year, $37 million deal Rosenhaus secured for safety Antrel Rolle with the New York Giants. Goldson, however, failed to get a similar offer when he hit the free-agent market last summer. The 49ers offered him a five-year, $25 million deal, but Goldson and Rosenhaus turned it down in the belief that there were richer offers available. There were not, and Goldson ended up signing a one-year, $2 million contract with the 49ers instead."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' desire to secure pass-rush help might be best satisfied by investing a first-round draft choice. O'Neil: "In the past 10 seasons, there have been 12 rookies who had 10 or more sacks. Eleven of those 12 players were drafted in the first round, which tells you that pass rushers capable of making an immediate impact are like snowmen in Seattle: They don't tend to last more than a day."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Seahawks general manager John Schneider had this to say about Matt Flynn during the John Clayton Show: "Matt is a championship kid, he really is. We drafted real him late -- I think it was the sixth or seventh round -- in Green Bay and you know he's done a really nice job. Those guys have done a great job of developing him over there. He's one of those guys who steps in the locker room and has instant respect."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for thoughts on the NFC West. Whisenhunt: "All those questions about the NFC West being a weak division dried up pretty quick. We all know San Francisco had a really good year. A lot of teams respected the way we played and the way Seattle played, not so much maybe from a won-loss record, even though we both did better in the second half of the season, but I certainly think in the way our teams were physical, the way they went about the game. Let me tell you something, no matter what you want to say about the Rams' record, they were a very physical football team as well, and they played hard, no matter what."
Also from Somers: thoughts on Andre Roberts and the Cardinals' perceived need for receiver help. Somers: "My early guess is that the Cardinals will pursue a free agent receiver, but one at a reasonable price. Their success in doing that will determine their plans for the draft. Either way, I don't see them taking a receiver high in this draft. They don't have a second-round pick, and they have more pressing needs. My sense is that coaches think any deficiency they might have at receiver can be rectified by better quarterback play."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Whisenhunt would welcome adding the Hall of Fame Game to the schedule in part because Arizona could use an additional exhibition game to get its quarterbacks ready.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams could bring back tackle Jason Smith. Thomas: "If the Rams truly are confident that Smith can return and stay healthy, that would lessen the need to expend a high pick -- such as their No. 2 overall selection -- on someone such as Southern California's Matt Kalil. Then again, counting on Smith and Rodger Saffold, who missed the last four games of 2011 because of a pectoral muscle injury, would be operating without a safety net."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com considers possibilities for the Rams with the No. 2 overall pick. Wagoner: "If the popular scenario in which the Rams trade down with Cleveland and end up with the No. 4 pick, many think the Rams would then be at the mercy of Minnesota when it comes to who they’d draft. The theory, as it goes, is that the Browns would obviously select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and then the Vikings would make the choice between Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon and USC tackle Matt Kalil. The Rams, then, would draft the player that Minnesota doesn’t select. Much like the Rams, the Vikings need help at both positions and Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier was non-committal but might have given a little clue which way the Vikings would go should that scenario play out."