Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Around the NFC West: Saints smack talk
By Mike Sando
The San Francisco 49ers visit the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 25 this season.
The pregame show is already under way.
Saints linebacker Scott Shanle blasted 49ers safety Donte Whitner after Whitner suggested his team's character would prevent San Francisco from engaging in the bounty tactics that landed New Orleans in trouble this offseason.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has the play-by-play. Shanle via Twitter: "Guy needs to shut his mouth and mind his own business. Don't remember them winning the superbowl. U still ringless. We got one and working on two now. Try to keep up." Noted: Now, now. Both guys are out of line here. Whitner suggested over-the-line comments from former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams reflected the character of Saints players. That wasn't fair. But the fact that Shanle, not Whitner, has a Super Bowl ring has more to do with Drew Brees and the Saints' team than it has to do with a linebacker such as Shanle. The fact that Whitner does not have a Super Bowl ring has more to do with the quarterbacks and teams Whitner has played with throughout his career, not anything Whitner has done wrong.
Also from Barrows: a chat transcript in which he says Colin Kaepernick appears in good position to win the No. 2 job behind Alex Smith. Barrows: "I think it's Kaepernick's job to lose. He's looked a lot more accurate in [training camp] than he did in the spring. It may have been that that he was working on weaknesses in the spring -- hey, that's what spring ball is for -- which skewed the perception of him. Johnson has by far the sweetest delivery and mechanics. But despite that, the ball doesn't always end up where it should."
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers tight end Delanie Walker deserves credit for returning so quickly from a broken jaw last season. Walker also comments on his future with the team and how he played last season. Walker: "I had a great year blocking. And that was a big concern people had about me. Can he block? And I showed it last year. So I think everyone knows that I can catch the ball and I can make things happen once I have it in my hands. I’m playing for the Niners. When that time (free agency) comes, we’ll see what happens."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says defense dominated the Seahawks' fourth day of training camp. O'Neil: "The defense had the upper hand in Tuesday's practice with three notable interceptions (two of them on passes thrown by rookie Russell Wilson). Rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner picked off a pass thrown by Wilson. So did rookie safety Winston Guy. The play of the day in the eyes of Pete Carroll, however, was when rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin chased down a reverse from behind, knocking the ball out."
Brian McIntyre of NFL.com breaks down the Seahawks' new contract with defensive end Chris Clemons. McIntyre: "Clemons received a $6.5 million signing bonus and his $2 million base salary in 2012 is fully guaranteed. The $8.5 million more than doubles the $3.85 million in base salary and incentives Clemons could have made this season. ... Clemons is slated to earn $6 million in base salary in 2013, but just $1.5 million of that is fully guaranteed, bringing the official guarantee in the new contract to $10 million." Noted: Clemons was not in optimum position to maximize this deal because of his age (30) and the fact that a season remained on his previous deal.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals expect Kevin Kolb to start the team's exhibition opener Sunday if the quarterback resumes practicing Wednesday, as expected.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com analyzes the numbers at cornerback, where five players on the roster have started more than one regular-season game. Mike Adams is working in the nickel role at present. William Gay: "Everyone wants to compete and start, but that’s not the main focus. You want a good group, so if a team comes at us with more than two or three receivers, we have quality corners that can match that. Out of a whole game, say there are 70 defensive plays, your third corner is going to play 30 to 45 plays. Everybody’s goal in the league is to be a starter as soon as you get to the league, but the way the game has evolved, there are a lot of ways to be involved."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sees good things from Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Burwell: "He's relatively healthy again, and with an additional 10 pounds of muscle added during the offseason, he intends to stay healthy. And if he does, we should see more than flashes of his potential. We should see the full realization of every prediction that he can be as good and dangerous as a young Troy Aikman. That's the sort of ability he displays as he strong-arms balls into ridiculously tight windows in heavy coverage. That's the sort of ability he flashes when he lofts splendid spirals on 50-yard bombs down the sidelines."
Also from Burwell: Rams players are eager to put on the pads. Defensive tackle Kendall Langford, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 309 pounds, higher than his listed weight of 295: "Big, tough and physical? Yeah, I'm all of the above. I'm a big, tough guy. I'm a physical player. I'm ready to get this thing going. I can't emphasize enough how much I'm ready to get the pads on."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Chris Long's new deal with the Rams includes $50 million in new money, to be paid beginning in 2013. Long's salary for 2012 remains unchanged at $10.3 million. Thomas: "Because nothing was done to Long’s 2012 salary, he still counts $18.3 million against the salary cap this year -- the extension creates no cap relief in '12. But that is indicative of how the Rams have handled contracts under executive vice president Kevin Demoff. He doesn’t like back-loading contracts. As much as possible, it’s a pay-as-you-go approach."
Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the latest on overweight Rams rookie Rokevious Watkins.