Monday, May 21, 2012
Around the NFC West: Only 76 days to go
By Mike Sando
Good morning, NFC West, and welcome back from a s-s-s-low weekend in the division.
On the bright side, depending upon your perspective, we're only 76 days away from the Hall of Fame game between our own Arizona Cardinals and whichever New Orleans Saints employees remain in good standing with the NFL by Aug. 5.
While the Saints see rehab for their reputation, the Cardinals are focused on getting their running backs healthy.
Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams haven't played or practiced since undergoing knee surgeries. Wells underwent a less serious procedure, but his durability has been a concern dating to college. Williams is nine months into his rehab from a torn patella tendon; the one-year anniversary falls on Aug. 19.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals haven't done much to address the position, an indication both backs could be on track for 2012. Urban: "Williams, who is anxious to get back on the field right now, admits the team will likely not push him now, instead wanting to preserve him for camp. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team takes the same tact with Beanie. He's made that work before. Last season, Beanie didn’t get any summer work -- no one did, because of the lockout -- and he still had a career-high 1,047 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns and a 4.3 per-carry average despite battling his knee injury most of the season." Noted: Wells has missed five games in two seasons. He had 228 yards against St. Louis in Week 12 and a combined 198 yards in four subsequent games to end the 2011 season.
Also from Urban: Undrafted rookie receiver Stanley Arukwe ran the 40-yard dash in a wind-aided 4.19 seconds this offseason.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams general manager Les Snead for thoughts on where the team has improved this offseason. Snead on the defensive line: "We've got two young ends (in Chris Long and Robert Quinn). We've added (Kendall) Langford. We've got Darell Scott coming back. Bam! You throw in (Michael) Brockers, and all of a sudden that unit gets strong. Now the DL becomes a dominant unit."
Also from Thomas: Joe Long, brother of Jake, clears his own path.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls for calm over the Rams' stadium situation. Miklasz: "Less than 20 years ago, this region put up a lot of money to attract the Rams and enhance the convention-hosting capability in downtown St. Louis. We may ultimately decide to reject the allocation of additional public money for the stadium/convention center. Before our initial investment is essentially thrown in the river, before we dismiss the possibility of Kroenke and the NFL stepping in as our financial partners in this endeavor, we should at least make a sincere effort to see if this investment makes sense. That will require calm, rational discussion."
Howard Balzer outlines salary details for recent Rams additions Mario Haggan and Barry Richardson.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has this to say about Jim Harbaugh's recent comments regarding Michael Crabtree's sure hands: "I was reminded of last offseason when Harbaugh said Alex Smith was a 'very accurate passer.' Or when he said Smith was an 'elite' quarterback. Or when he insisted Smith deserved a spot in the Pro Bowl. Not only does Harbaugh always back his players publicly, he pumps up the players that are in need of a little inflating. Last year that was Smith, who had been kicked around like no other 49er in the last quarter century but who responded with the best season of his career. This year Crabtree may be getting the same kind of treatment."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers still have only one proven return specialist: Ted Ginn Jr.
Also from Maiocco: big plays for a 49ers Hall of Fame.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers assorted 49ers notes, including this one: "Rather than report to the 49ers offseason conditioning program, franchise-tagged safety Dashon Goldson headed to South Florida and has hooked up with Bommarito Performance Systems. Among the 49ers who’ve previously worked with trainer Pete Bommarito are Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Kendall Hunter, Ricky Jean Francois, Tavaris Gooden and rookie Cam Johnson."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team felt as though seventh-round draft choice Greg Scruggs was a bargain. A turf-toe injury slowed the defensive lineman at Louisville last season. Farnsworth: "Where Scruggs fits with the Seahawks remains to be seen, but for now he is working as a pass-rusher from the three-technique tackle spot as well as at the five-technique end position in the base defense -- a backup role that was filled last season by Anthony Hargrove, who signed with the Green Bay Packers in free agency."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with former Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna, who is teaching math and coaching football at his high school alma mater. O'Neil: "It's not hard to imagine a former NFL quarterback filling his afternoons with football. It's tougher to imagine that same man -- a guy who was making $3 million last year -- arriving on campus at 7 a.m. and bringing breakfast for kids who need extra help, hosting a home room and then teaching two periods of algebra."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin remembers one game more than any other last season: the one against Cleveland, when Baldwin finished with no receptions during a 6-3 defeat.