Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Around the NFC West: All things Manning
By Mike Sando
Thank you, Indianapolis Colts, for at least temporarily changing the subject from bounties to where Peyton Manning might play next.
Arizona and Seattle have quickly emerged as teams with interest in the soon-to-be-released Colts quarterback.
Both teams have quite a bit to offer.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Manning's health will be pivotal to the Cardinals' interest. The team has until March 17 to make a decision on Kevin Kolb. Somers: "Numerous people already are handicapping where Manning will play. I think Arizona makes more sense than the Jets, for instance, because I doubt Manning wants to play in the same area as his brother, Eli. The Redskins have a need, but coach Mike Shanahan has a firm belief in his offense. He likes to control every facet of the football operations. And anyone signing Manning will have to show flexibility in adapting to his desires and strengths. The Seahawks have a need, too, and a very good defense. But to whom will Manning throw?" Noted: I think Manning would have little trouble taking on his brother or anyone else, just based on his competitive nature. But that is just a guess. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and possibly Reggie Wayne would be receiving options for Manning in Seattle. Doug Baldwin would be another option. He led the NFC West in yards per target last season (9.3) and ranked among the NFL leaders in third-down receptions for first downs.
Also from Somers: Darnell Dockett explains why he would welcome Manning to Arizona. Noted: There should be absolutely no offense taken by the Cardinals' other quarterbacks. Manning is one of the all-time greats. Any team without an established quarterback should at least consider him. Supporting Kevin Kolb or John Skelton over Manning would be borderline disingenuous, in my view, based on those players' résumés.
Brian Nemhauser of hawkblogger.com lays out potential risks associated with bringing Manning to Seattle. Nemhauser: "The Seahawks are onto something great with the patient approach to building a roster through the draft. Patience has not even been all that necessary given the amount of talent added in just two drafts. Going big on Manning feels like it could put the entire process at risk without enough reward to justify that risk."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about the Seahawks while handicapping where Manning might land: "It's hard to come up with a reason why Seattle wouldn't be interested. The Seahawks' proliferation of close losses last season showed just how close they might be to contending, and they don't have a long-term investment currently in place at quarterback. Also, it's not like signing Manning would preclude the possibility of developing a younger quarterback behind him. The bigger question is whether Manning would want to come and play in the NFL's most isolated outpost in a stadium that's outdoors in a city known for precipitation."
Michael Simeona of 710ESPN Seattle links to a fun Marshawn Lynch video that made the rounds Tuesday. Noted: Those wondering how a newly signed running back spends his discretionary income might learn something here.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expects the NFL to suspend Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff: "Coach Williams has shown contrition for his actions and continues to cooperate with the NFL in this investigation. Out of respect for the NFL's ongoing process, we will refrain from commenting until the league has come to a final decision on all aspects of this matter." Noted: Williams did show contrition in the statement he released. He is presumably doing the same while meeting with league officials. I'm not sure sustained public contrition is in his nature. How he handles these allegations over the long term will shape perceptions about him.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch raises questions about criticisms of Williams. Miklasz: "I suppose I'm confused. Here you had this outlaw, renegade, out of control coach setting up bounties and sharpening a goon squad to wipe out helpless QBs with dirty hits ... and where was the NFL? Did the NFL miss all of the dirty deeds? Wouldn't you expect more fines than this? Did the folks in the NFL office miss all of these tawdry, disgusting 'kill shots' on QBs? Makes no sense. There seems to be an obvious disconnect between the Williams' reputation and the reality." Noted: Looks like the NFL will punish Williams for a bounty system that allegedly encouraged dirty hits, independent of whether that system produced an unusual number of such hits.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News explains why he thinks the 49ers will show no interest in Manning. Kawakami: "The 49ers of Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh aren’t in this for headline-grabbing media circus shows. They’re the far, far opposite of that–they love the blue-collar, no-frills attitude, which keeps the locker room calm and happy and everybody feeling like they’re equal parts of the machine. In this construction, nobody’s bigger than anybody else–theoretically. Crazy big free-agent signings would mess up that balance. If you need a reminder, just flick back to last year’s free-agency period, when 49ers Nation was going nuts while Baalke let the first week or so of F/A go by with nary a splashy move."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers reject Dexter Manley's suggestion Bill Walsh's teams had a bounty out on him. Brown: "Craig Walsh said his father and Manley had a history but that 'it wasn't a vendetta.' He said Bill Walsh made a point of identifying the 49ers who would play pivotal roles in momentum-changing plays. And, on the eve of the game, Walsh would make those players stand up in front of the team and make them vow to fulfill their assignment. On Sept. 10, 1984, one of those key players was tight end Russ Francis, a top-notch blocker, whose crackback block on Manley would be crucial to opening up a running play for Wendell Tyler. ... Francis delivered as promised on "Monday Night Football" -- providing a crushing shot that Craig Walsh (who was on the sideline) said knocked Manley off his feet. The other 49ers players went nuts because they knew it was coming and because it was the key to the play -- just as the coach had drawn it up."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com thinks Saints receiver Robert Meachem could make sense for the 49ers.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee quotes Baalke as saying the team remains focused on re-signing Alex Smith and hasn't even discussed Manning internally. Baalke: "We haven't had Peyton in here nor are we even talking about those things internally right now. ... Is he going to play? I don't know. That's for the doctors to make the decision on and for him himself." Noted: Manning isn't even eligible to visit another team until the Colts release him. All signs point to the 49ers going with Smith and Kaepernick as their top two quarterbacks, but as long as Smith remains unsigned, other options have to be at least remotely in play. And the 49ers have presumably discussed those options internally.
The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says attempts to block the 49ers' new stadium project met defeat in court.