NFC West: Andy Dolich

Around the NFC West: Clinging to past

February, 4, 2010
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch passes along thoughts on the comments Jack Youngblood made about the Rams on his radio show. Youngblood took issue with the team's decision to fire long-time trainer Jim Anderson. Youngblood: "Jim Anderson is probably the finest trainer in the National Football League. He’s there 26, 27 years. The most experienced man in the building. Think about that. The most experienced pro football man in the building. And he gets let go. Why? I know for a fact that there’s no trainer in the National Football League that gave himself to his football team, to his players, better than Jim Anderson did." With all due respect, Youngblood has been retired for 25 years and probably hasn't conducted an audit of current training staffs across the league. The Rams certainly aren't going to say anything negative about an outgoing employee who served the team diligently for many years, but it's clear the new regime felt it was time for fresh blood in a key role. These sorts of moves will draw criticism until the new Rams regime shows evidence things are heading in the right direction. The Rams have no present. Until then, the distant past will look preferable.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams running back Marshall Faulk, who says the Bears' offensive players had better report to camp in shape now that Mike Martz is their offensive coordinator. Faulk: "This will be eye-opening (for Jay Cutler). He'll never have as much on his plate as he’ll have. ... Last year, it looked like he was bored in the (Chicago) offense. A little frustrated. If he’s frustrated (under Martz), it'll not be because he’s bored."

Also from Thomas: catching up with former Rams defensive back Todd Lyght.

Shawntae Spencer of the 49ers answers questions from fans on the team's Web site. Does he get nervous playing against elite receivers? Spencer: "Nervous? No! I have nothing to lose, everything to gain. They’re the stars, I’m just me. That’s how I look at it. The matchups with guys like Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson are usually for guys like Nate Clements or Walt Harris. It was kind of easier to dominate the No. 2 receiver in the past, but when I got a chance to go against the top receivers I embraced it."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' are allowing offensive quality-control coach Shane Day to interview with the Bears for a job as quarterbacks coach under Mike Martz. That is pretty standard.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democract says it's unlikely the 49ers will acquire Donovan McNabb from the Eagles because too many things would have to fall into place. I have questioned whether the Eagles would trade McNabb. If McNabb is available, of course the 49ers should investigate.

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers have promoted Paraag Marathe to executive vice president of football and business operations. Maiocco: "In his new role, Marathe will continue to report directly to general manager Scot McCloughan on football matters. He will now also report to 49ers president and CEO Jed York on the business side of the organization. Marathe will work alongside the chief marketing officer when an individual is hired for that newly opened position." The 49ers have tweaked their front-office roles this offseason, parting with chief operating officer Andy Dolich and creating a new position for chief marketing officer.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looks at several players the 49ers might not consider drafting in 2010, including Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody. Barrows: "He can be dominant at times and would be a big barrier between offensive players and Patrick Willis. But with Cody, you have to look at the cost-benefit ratio. How many snaps can you get from a guy who weighs 370 pounds? That question likely will push Cody to the bottom of the first round where a playoff team like the Chargers or Patriots will pounce."

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic draws comparisons between former USC teammates Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. Bush: "I spoke to Matt when I first heard that Kurt Warner was retiring, and I told him, 'You know what? It's time to go to work now. All eyes will be on you, and it's time to go to work.' I know he's capable of being a starting quarterback, a great quarterback in this league because I've seen it firsthand. I know this is a different level, but I know he's more than ready."

Darren Urban of says a 30-minute special on Kurt Warner's legacy will air on regional Arizona television before most likely making its way to the team Web site.

Also from Urban: Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald says nice things about Leinart on the Dan Patrick Show after Warner noted that it's tough to know how well Leinart will fare because the quarterback hasn't played much. Fitzgerald: "A lot of the experience Kurt is talking about (that Leinart didn’t get) is due to him. (Kurt) is a Hall of Fame player and Matt Leinart, having to back him up for so many years, it's made it difficult. It's not about Matt Leinart not being able to play. I just think it’s been how good Kurt’s been able to play. He really set the bar high."

Greg Johns of says former Seahawks Na'Shan Goddard and Marlon Favorite have surfaced at the Super Bowl as members of the Saints. Goddard played left tackle for the Seahawks in Mike Holmgren's final game as Seahawks head coach. The team had trouble running a play. That's no slam on Goddard, only a reflection of what can happen when a practice-squad player finds himself lining up against front-line talent in a game situation.

Earl Vaughan Jr. of the Fay Observer says Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry is having his high school jersey retired.

Around the NFC West: Carroll's passion

January, 13, 2010
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spoke uninterrupted for nearly 12 minutes to begin his first news conference as Seahawks coach. O'Neil: "This is the new voice of Seattle's franchise, and get ready. He talks fast and with a mix of passion and humor. This was Carroll's show Tuesday, something that now could be said about the franchise in general."

Also from O'Neil: Expect Jeremy Bates and Alex Gibbs to join Carroll's staff. Also, CEO Tod Leiweke apologizes to former coach Jim Mora. Leiweke: "While I apologized, it was also just one of those difficult awkward moments you find yourself in. Jim knew we were going to go have substantive discussions last week. We didn't know where those were going to come out. None of this was preordained. It was a fluid situation. The only thing preordained is we had to fix things here because what took place the last two years, to win nine games -- and with all due respect, four of those to the St. Louis Rams -- is simply not sustainable." Leiweke has repeatedly discounted victory totals by pointing out that some were against the Rams. That has to go over well in St. Louis.

Clare Farnsworth of says Carroll's former players anticipate a smooth transition back to the NFL. Lawyer Milloy dates himself with this testimonial: "This is a guy who sat me down in his office and told me I was going to be the Tim McDonald in his defense. At the time, in my second year, I was like, 'Ah, what are you talking about?' "

Also from Farnsworth: Carroll's presence is palpable. Leiweke: "He's kind of the king of L.A."

More from Farnsworth: Carroll stresses competing. Carroll: "What you’ll hear a lot from us in this program, this program is about competition. We'll see in all aspects of the work that we do that we will be in a relentless pursuit of a competitive edge in everything we’re doing. We're going to compete like crazy. Maybe like you’ve never seen. And I hope that will be the theme that will rise to us and that will be the most important part of it, because we are in the most competitive world that you can be in in the NFL. I can’t wait to get this thing underway. I can’t wait to get it started."

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times liked what he saw from Carroll in the coach's first news conference as Seahawks coach. Brewer: "Carroll was honest, raw, introspective, real. During the 40 minutes he spoke, his genuine enthusiasm and self-deprecating candor became so captivating that it obstructed skepticism about his so-so NFL record. Of course, as soon as he was done talking, the skepticism resumed, but, hey, trust isn't built in a day."

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says it's tough to know how Carroll will fare. USC fans initially shunned him. Kelley: "When the rancor reached a crescendo, the school had to shut down the phones and turn off its e-mail. Protests against Carroll went viral. But at USC, the haters became lovers. Carroll was the unvarnished truth. He was the answer. He won two national championships, won at least a share of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles and finished 97-19 in nine seasons. He resurrected a ramshackle program. Now at a much higher level, he's being asked to do it again."

Greg Johnson of sees more exclamation points in the Seahawks' immediate future.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune tried to keep pace with Carroll at the news conference. It wasn't easy. McGrath: "Pete Carroll talks almost as fast as he thinks, and he thinks so fast you can imagine him working the New York Times crossword with his right hand as he turns the pages of a Solzhenitsyn novel with his left hand -- something to occupy him as he’s preparing the braised sweetbreads with mushroom sauce on the stove while breaking down an opponent’s zone-blitz tendencies on the speaker phone."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks interviewed John Schneider and Marc Ross for their general manager's job.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are using their experience to their advantage. Quarterback Kurt Warner: "I think the biggest thing is to try to just be a bit of a calming presence in these kinds of situations. You understand things are going to happen, crazy scenarios, and you understand that the teams that you're playing are all good."

Also from Somers: Injured receiver Anquan Boldin hopes to practice this week. Also, Russ Grimm expects to interview with the Bills for their head coaching job. Somers: "The time of the interview has not been set. According to NFL rules, the Bills can interview Grimm this week, but with the Cardinals playing Saturday, time is an issue. The interview would have to be conducted at a place and time of convenience to the Cardinals. It could happen Wednesday or Thursday evening in Arizona, or on Sunday, the day after the divisional playoff."

More from Somers: Cardinals players have received $42,000 for their postseason efforts so far, including $21,000 for winning the NFC West and playing in the wild-card round. The other $21,000 is for beating the Packers.

Darren Urban of says inside linebacker Gerald Hayes was wearing a walking boot Tuesday, although it was unclear whether the injury was serious.

Also from Urban: The Cardinals' secondary is seeking redemption after a rough outing against the Packers. Urban: "Michael Adams said the secondary as a group was angry when they first watched the video of the game, but he did note the group had a hand in helping sack Rodgers five times while the Cards’ defense also forced three key turnovers. And in an interesting twist, the secondary was not only part of the turnover on the first play of the game -- DRC’s pick -- but also a turnover on the last play of the game, when Adams recovered from a four-penalty day to force a fumble that led to the game-winning points."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says former Rams coach Jim Haslett is the new defensive coordinator for the Redskins. Thomas: "After three seasons in St. Louis, including the last 12 games of 2008 as the Rams’ interim head coach, Haslett spent this past season as head coach of the Florida Tuskers of the fledgling United Football League. The Tuskers went unbeaten in the regular season, but were upset by the Las Vegas Locomotives in the UFL title game. Haslett met with Washington team officials earlier this week. Haslett became the front runner for the job once Mike Zimmer agreed to stay in Cincinnati as Bengals defensive coordinator."

Also from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring his thoughts on the quarterback position. Thomas thinks the Rams would have a better chance landing Michael Vick than Donovan McNabb if they wanted to target an Eagles quarterback. Thomas: "Since Spags spent so many years with the Eagles, their roster also bears watching. I think there has been some discussion of Vick. I guess it's possible the Rams would give up picks for the right player, particularly if it's an uncapped year, meaning there are many more restricted free agents than usual."

Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat lists 10 questions facing the Rams this offseason. Who will start at quarterback? Rodenbush: "In 2009, Rams quarterbacks combined to throw 12 touchdowns against 21 interceptions and completed 57.5 percent of their passes. Their TD total ranked 29th in the NFL and would have been worse if not for a 36-yard scoring pass from kicker Josh Brown to Daniel Fells during the team’s 17-10 win at Detroit on Nov. 1."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks the 49ers still have plans for Glen Coffee despite a 2.7-yard average last season. Coffee was a preseason sensation. It's far too early to write him off.

Also from Barrows: The 49ers have signed fullback Jehuu Caulcrick to a future contract.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have restructured the business side of their operation at the expense of Andy Dolich, team president Jed York announced to employees. Maiocco: "York will also assume the new title of chief executive officer. The new CMO will report directly to York, along with general manager Scot McCloughan, as well as chief financial officer Larry MacNeil, and executive vice president of football administration Lal Heneghan. During the transition, Dolich will remain as a senior advisor, York said. In Dolich's two years with the 49ers, he improved customer service for 49ers season-ticket holders, York said."

Also from Maiocco: an early look at how the 49ers might proceed in the draft. Maiocco on the 13th overall choice: "Like a year ago, the first thought is the 49ers will take their highest-rated offensive tackle. But the 49ers don't need to 'each' in this spot because they have another pick just a few slots later. If a cornerback, defensive lineman or linebacker falls to them, they're in the spot to choose one. One player who -- based on watching the BCS title game -- seems like a good fit would be Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. He reportedly has great passion and football smarts. Takeo Spikes is entering his 13th season and the final year of his contract. The 49ers were smitten with USC linebacker Rey Maualuga last year and tempted to move up a few spots in the second round to get him. They also wanted Lance Briggs a couple years ago. So the 49ers would love to get another young impressive player to line up next to Patrick Willis."

Lisa Fernandez of the San Jose Mercury News has a 49ers stadium update.

Around the NFC West: York to open up

February, 13, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Niners president Jed York and other leading team officials plan to take fans' questions during a 90-minute event for season-ticket holders Monday. Mike Singletary, Scott McCloughan and Andy Dolich will also be available. The team plans to stream the event live on its Web site. 

McCloughan's mailbag features answers to fans' questions, including an explanation for the three-digit offense. McCloughan: "The digit system is a numbering system for routes in the passing attack. It's the same system Norv Turner ran. I believe that Raye and Turner learned it all from Don Coryell. It's a numeric system for the route ran on a particular play."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers were in no hurry to re-sign Roderick Green even before the pass rusher's recent arrest.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides an update on Steve Spagnuolo's first weeks on the job as Rams coach. Thomas: "Spagnuolo also clarified the job descriptions of three coaches who when hired were given generic titles of offensive or defensive assistants: Frank Leonard will coach tight ends, Paul Ferraro will coach linebackers and Andre Curtis will coach safeties."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Spagnuolo is spending his time getting familiar with the Rams' personnel.

VanRam of Turf Show Times expects Spagnuolo's staff to avoid the types of differences that marked former coach Scott Linehan's relationship with former defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Kurt Warner's agent as saying the quarterback wants to continue playing. Contract talks have commenced.

Darren Urban of links to Warner's appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 singles out Steve Breaston as the Cardinals' most improved player during the 2008 season.

John Morgan of Field Gulls stands by the Seahawks' strength and conditioning coaches despite an injury-plagued 2008 season. He also thinks the Seahawks should have drafted a quarterback last offseason, even if the college crop appears worse now than it did in 2008. Morgan: "Seattle is again at square one in preparation for life after [Matt] Hasselbeck. It's not a great group of quarterbacks, and I think I overestimated them before getting a better look, but if Seattle's unwilling to take a plunge on a top quarterback talent, continually drafting marginal talent and seeing if one develops beats the hell out of effectively doing nothing."