Thursday, October 29, 2009
Around the NFC West: Walter Jones' future
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks tackle Walter Jones has earned the benefit of the doubt if he wants to continue playing next season. Boling: "When he arrived in 1997, he was the best lineman on the field with his first step. He ran the 40 in the 4.6-second range at well over 300 pounds. He had a dancer’s feet and a wire-walker’s balance. I’ve been in attendance at almost every down he’s played for the Seahawks, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him off-balance. At times early in his career, on those 'reach' plays toward the sideline, he might block the entire side of an opposing defense, sealing off the end first, scraping off him to flatten a linebacker, and then hustling up the field to scare the wits out of a safety who dared try to support the run."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says cornerback Marcus Trufant will play in Seattle's nickel defense against the Cowboys in Week 8.
Also from Farnsworth: Jones hopes to continue his career next season. Jones turns 36 in January. The odds are against him. Jones: "I still love the game. I still love playing the game. That’s my approach, that I know I can still go out there and compete with the best of them. So I know if I take this time and get myself right, I still can go out there and compete with the best of them."
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the news on Jones stings even though everyone could see it coming.
Jim Moore of seattlepi.com thinks it's time for Jones to retire. Moore: "Part of me hopes he makes it all the way back and is a productive contributor next season. But a bigger part of me thinks he should hang it up. In his comments to the media, Jones sounded like an aging boxer who doesn't know when it's time to retire. You argue again that Jones should be able to go out on his own terms. But in the NFL, how often does that happen? And what's wrong with these terms -- ending a brilliant career as one of the best tackles in pro football history?"
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks are awaiting word from Dr. James Andrews regarding Lofa Tatupu's injured left pectoral.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals aren't quite ready to name Beanie Wells their starter at running back -- yet. Coach Ken Whisenhunt did say he has seen a "dramatic" difference in how Wells is protecting the football after struggling with fumbles. McManaman: "For now, Whisenhunt is perfectly comfortable using a two-back system with (Tim) Hightower and Wells, along with third-down back Jason Wright. All three scored against the Giants, a first for three Cardinals backs in one game since 2004."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have a dangerous look. Kurt Warner: "Even last year, when we had good times and bad, I don't know if we ever believed we could go anywhere and play against anybody and beat anybody. I think that's what you've seen this year. Even though we haven't played great football all season long, you've seen us go on the road and win some games in tough environments."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com cites a Sports Illustrated players poll showing Larry Fitzgerald as the most dangerous receiver in the league. Anquan Boldin ranked seventh.
Also from Urban: The Cardinals' victory over the Panthers in the playoffs has had long-term implications.
More from Urban: Arizona's secondary played well against the Giants despite injuries.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals were 0-5 in recent East Coast games heading into their divisional-round playoff victory against Carolina last season.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' David Vobora kept busy during his four-game suspension. Thomas: "According to Vobora and his agent, he was suspended for using a banned substance that was found in a tainted workout supplement. The NFL began a supplement certification program in 2004, and the supplement used by Vobora was not league certified. Vobora's agent, Marc Lillibridge, said Vobora called the NFL's supplement hotline, read the ingredients over the phone, and was told that none of the ingredients would produce a positive test. But since the supplement was not a league-certified product, Vobora was suspended after testing positive. Lillibridge told the Post-Dispatch earlier this week that a lawsuit is still planned against the company that produces the supplement."
More from Thomas: The Rams need their passing game to get going if they hope to beat the Lions. Thomas: "The Lions have one of the worst pass defenses known to man. Some way, some how, the Rams’ receiver corps — yes, the Rams’ receiver corps -- must exploit this weakness. Mr. Avery, here’s your chance for a breakout Sunday."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with the Rams' specialists after the team lost snapper Chris Massey to a season-ending knee injury.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News Democrat says Vobora had a hard time watching his teammates play games on TV.
Turf Show Times asks whether the Rams went for the best player available when they selected Jason Smith.
Brian Stull of 101ESPN.com says supplements should be regulated by the FDA.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers safety Dashon Goldson will wear the radio headset in his helmet after linebacker Patrick Willis struggled to relay information properly. Barrows: "Mike Singletary said that Willis already had a lot of pre-snap responsibilities and furthermore, it was difficult for the members of the secondary to get last-minute calls considering that Willis is in front of them and facing the wrong way."
Also from Barrows: Cornerback Tarell Brown signs a contract extension. Brown: "I kind of wanted to get it out of the way. I didn't want it to be a distraction to the team. I sat down with my family, talked to a lot of different people and got some good feedback from a lot of guys and older veterans. I felt like it was a positive thing to do, and I jumped on it." With all due respect to Brown, under what circumstances would his contract situation be a distraction to the team? He has started one game in three seasons.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers will have a very hard time beating out the Cardinals in the NFC West, contrary to his expectations.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News revisits Alex Smith's first NFL start. It wasn't pretty. The Colts picked him off four times. "The goal was five," then-Colts cornerback Nick Harper said at the time.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the 49ers could benefit from having Goldson wear the radio headset on defense.