Thursday, April 19, 2012
Around the NFC West: Williams' good week
By Mike Sando
Gregg Williams' image rehabilitation took a couple steps forward this week, helping his case for eventual reinstatement from an indefinite bounty suspension.
The St. Louis Rams' would-be defensive coordinator reportedly helped out tornado victims early in the week. And even though audio tapes revealed him targeting specific San Francisco players for injuries before a playoff game last season, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke and cornerback Carlos Rogers offered public support for him Wednesday.
Over time, these sorts of developments make it easier to envision Williams rehabilitating his image sufficiently for the NFL to strongly consider giving him another chance. We're still early in that process, of course.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Baalke reached out to Williams, his former co-worker with the Washington Redskins. Baalke called Williams a friend and said, "I don't view him any differently today than I did 20 days ago."
Also from Barrows: Baalke cites Malcolm Gladwell in explaining why quick draft-related decisions often are the best ones. Of course, those quick decisions are made after years of research. They're not hunches.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers will poll players before deciding whether to remain on the road between games against Minnesota and the Jets.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle passes along coach Jim Harbaugh's comments on Randy Moss staying away from the team until April 30. The 49ers expect Moss to arrive in time for on-field work and football-related preparation. The team remains in the conditioning phase of its program.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune says the Bears have reached agreement with former 49ers guard Chilo Rachal, an unrestricted free agent. The 49ers had decided to move on from Rachal this offseason.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers insights into the Rams' 2012 schedule. Miklasz: "A huge factor in schedule being so front-loaded with home games is the availability of the Dome. Because of other events booked into the convention center/stadium, several dates in the second half of the season were unavailable for scheduling Rams' home games. That's an issue. I'm sure this will be a point of negotiations in the discussions for a new lease agreement. Not that anyone realistically expects the rebuilding Rams to contend for a playoff spot this season, but to have a fighting chance they'll have to rack some wins early, and take advantage of having three of four at home before traveling to London. Because the schedule turns against them pretty quickly."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the recently re-signed Kellen Clemens already knows the Rams' offense from his days with Brian Schottenheimer and the New York Jets.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers updates from Rams minicamps, with this info on the offensive line: "Jeff Fisher confirmed Wednesday that as it stands, Rodger Saffold will continue to work on the left side with Jason Smith on the right. For now, the open left guard job is being filled by a combination of Robert Turner and Bryan Mattison. Quinn Ojinnaka has been considered as well. Not that any of that means much of anything this early in the game. Much more will be known following the final veteran minicamp in June when the Rams have a full roster."
Also from Wagoner: Smith is back from his concussion.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals cleared room under their salary cap by restructuring their contract with veteran center Lyle Sendlein. Urban: "Sendlein’s cap number was supposed to be $3.25 million, and the move shrinks that number to $1.975 million. Fellow lineman Daryn Colledge did the same kind of thing earlier in the offseason. The Cards have been snug against the cap most of the offseason." Noted: The move means the cap number for Sendlein will rise for future seasons. The cap itself will not increase as much as once expected.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com rounds up various mock draft projections for Seattle, with the following thoughts from Nolan Nawrocki regarding cornerback Stephon Gilmore as one option: "Pete Carroll’s defense thrives on the size and physicality of its cornerbacks. Gilmore has the size desired to hem the line at a premium position of need, a prime reason why cornerbacks such as Gilmore and Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick could be drafted in the top 15."