Thursday, May 24, 2012
Around the NFC West: Revisiting 2010 crop
By Mike Sando
NFC West teams owned six first-round choices in the 2010 NFL draft.
Sam Bradford, Russell Okung, Anthony Davis, Earl Thomas, Mike Iupati and Dan Williams were the selections.
One of them has emerged as a Pro Bowl performer (Thomas). Another has shown signs of reaching that level (Iupati).
One has been up and down to this point, subsequently drawing high marks from his coach for his footwork and overall improvement this offseason (Davis). Another is coming off a rough second season and learning his third offensive system in as many years (Bradford).
That leaves Okung and Williams in another category: highly valued players coming off season-ending surgeries.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says Williams has reported to the Cardinals' organized team activities in much better shape than when the nose tackle reported to camp following the lockout last offseason. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "He had conditioning at the end of practice (Tuesday), and he made it, which is a great sign for where we are. The big thing with Dan is there have been a lot of players who have told him how much they are counting on him this year. And I think that has an impact on Dan. He's working hard, have to give him a lot of credit, especially coming back from the arm. But I'm excited to see how he continues to progress."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Greg Toler as the cornerback works his way back from knee surgery. Toler is wearing a brace in practice.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh stands by his comments about Michael Crabtree owning the best hands of any receiver the coach has ever seen. Also, Alex Boone is the starting right guard at this point, with Daniel Kilgore as the backup center. Harbaugh: "The comment stands on its own merit. I know you guys have dissected it about every which way it can be dissected. But it is literal. It is a literal fact, what I believe as I see it and believe it to be."
Also from Maiocco: Andy Lee's new deal is for $20.5 million over six years, with $7.1 million in the first two years.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers this from Alex Smith regarding the quarterback's rapport with Crabtree: "We're a little further along. I feel good about body language and things like that. The thing I'm excited for him is not only is it his first offseason, he's healthy. I think he's excited about that. He's feeling really good. It shows up here. He's running better than he ever has since I've seen him."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says much is on the line for Smith this season.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith sees no problem with the 49ers' No. 29 ranking in passing yards per game given how the team played overall. Smith: "I could absolutely care less on yards per game. I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what, you’re like the Carolina Panthers and you're going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though." Noted: Does anyone care much about passing yards per game?
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Kellen Winslow has no hard feelings about being traded to Seattle, according to Winslow's famous father. The elder Winslow, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune: "This came out of the blue that the trade was going to be going down. I was hoping he would be traded someplace that had the possibility of making the playoffs. He was happy. He knew Coach (Pete) Carroll from his days of being recruited to USC. So there is knowledge there. So many people take a trade as something negative. And it’s not. He may not fit in one team’s plan, but you fit in another team’s plan. So it is a good thing. In today’s game, a player moving around is nothing new. It is rare to see a guy stay with one team, unless you’re a quarterback or a left tackle."
Also from Farnsworth: Local product Donny Lisowski has impressed the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. Carroll: "I like Donny Lisowski. He was all over the place out here. I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. Then he went out here and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him. I think he’ll surprise you. I’m anxious to see what he can do on special teams, and all kinds of stuff. He’s a playmaker and was all over the field."
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle explains why he thinks the quarterback job is Matt Flynn's to lose in Seattle.
Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Winslow's former landlord is trying to recoup $133,000 in alleged damages. Winslow's attorney denies any wrongdoing.
Danny Kelly of Field Gulls offers Winslow-related thoughts from Seahawks general manager John Schneider, as told to PFT Live. Schneider: "First and foremost, we've been looking for that position. We've been looking for a guy that can get down the field. Obviously, Kellen's been very productive the past couple of years down in Tampa Bay, I think second only to Jimmy Giles in team history. Secondly, I have a great relationship with Mark Dominik. We've known each other probably fifteen, twenty years now. When you have a strong relationship with someone like that, you're able to share situations, share experiences, and be able to work rather quickly with each other, and we have a specific trust level in place, and we were able to work it out."
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and select teammates. Rookie receiver Chris Givens, on Bradford: "He makes everything a lot easier for us. He's everything I heard about and more. He makes every throw, and he's always on point. He's just a great leader. He does a good job of picking us up after practice, working on the things where we had mistakes. Even during practice, he's there in our ear telling us 'Good job,' whether it was a bad play or a good play."
Also from Nelson: a look at the Rams' tight ends.