NFC West: Charley Casserly

Kurt Warner was always an easy interview. He had to lead the NFL in yards after the question.

The retired Arizona Cardinals quarterback was right on target Monday when Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix asked him about recent speculation suggesting Peyton Manning could land in the desert. The audio includes Charley Casserly's comments on Arizona and Manning.

Warner's take was twofold: If Manning is healthy enough to play, Manning will finish his career with Indianapolis. If Manning somehow hits the market, of course the Cardinals should pursue him.

"I just really have a hard time believing (the Colts would part with Manning) and I think it would be an injustice to him if he can play and he didn't end up his career in Indianapolis," Warner said.

The interview concludes with Warner's thoughts on San Francisco against New Orleans in the divisional playoff round. He sees only one way the 49ers can beat the Saints: by running the ball to limit possessions, and by getting more pressure on Drew Brees than recent opponents have gotten.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at the Cardinals' 2010 draft choices, with an eye toward their roles for the coming season. On John Skelton: "The Cardinals don't want him to start in 2011, but are excited about his future. I think Whisenhunt and his staff would be content to enter the season with a veteran as the starter, Skelton as the No.2, and either Rich Bartel or Max Hall as the No. 3. Bartel has the edge there right now. Skelton has a strong arm and showed poise in his four starts last season. He can move around in the pocket, too. What he didn't show was accuracy, completing just 47.6 percent of his passes. The Cardinals don't think there is a sure thing at quarterback in the 2011 draft and are expected to look for a veteran to provide a bridge to the future. Skelton might just have the skills to be that future. If the off-season plans work out, Skelton will be able to sit and learn this season." Hall has gone from undrafted free-agent long shot to surprise backup to starter to fighting for a roster spot with Bartel -- in less than one calendar year.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com thinks the team will select a defensive player with the fifth overall choice.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Jeff Bryant's versatility might have hurt him in balloting for the Seahawks' 35th anniversary team. He was tough to classify. Farnsworth: "Bryant, in fact, is the only player in franchise history to start at all four spots on the D-line. He was the right end from his rookie season in 1982 until 1990, when the Seahawks drafted Cortez Kennedy and shifted to a 4-3 defense. But Bryant started 14 games that season at the right tackle spot Kennedy eventually would own. In 1991, Bryant replaced Joe Nash as the left tackle. In 1992, Bryant moved to left end to replace Jacob Green."

Also from Farnsworth: Nash shows humility in explaining the key to his 218-game career on the Seahawks' defensive line, noting that injuries to other players gave him chances for playing time. Nash wasn't even supposed to earn a roster spot, at least initially, after going to camp with the team in 1982 as an undrafted free agent from Boston College. Nash: "I was supposed to get cut, on the final cut. It was really weird because I was in this room with about 10 other guys who got cut [when the pro scouting director told him the team was trying to keep him]. I stayed in the room, which was kind of awkward because the guy I was rooming with turned back and said, 'What are you doing?' They ended up putting someone else on IR and I got to stay."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee gets thoughts from Charley Casserly on LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson relative to Champ Bailey as the 49ers consider their options in the secondary. Casserly: "[Bailey] had great hands and an ability to focus on the ball. There are times that I think Peterson should make more plays on the ball than he does. That's something that I'd spend some time looking into if I was thinking of drafting him. ... That's no slight on Peterson. Champ has been to 10 Pro Bowls." Casserly was with the Redskins when they selected Bailey.

Carl Steward of Bay Area News Group checks in with Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson for thoughts on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Johnson played under Harbaugh at the University of San Diego. Johnson: "Even if we don't get together, there's always going to be a mutual relationship between us. There's a lot of respect there, because I know what he did for me as a player. I know how much I grew to love him and his family. I felt like it was more than just a coach-player type of thing."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers visited with Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor as the team considered its options at the position. Veteran Aubrayo Franklin is unsigned for 2011. Maiocco: "The 49ers are doing their homework on Taylor, who transferred from Penn State. Taylor left Penn State after he was suspended for his role in an on-campus fight in 2007. He finished strong at Baylor, and was one of the week's more impressive players at the Senior Bowl."

Also from Maiocco: He defends his decision to name Jason Smith the Rams' worst draft choice since 2006. Maiocco: "The problem with the Rams is that there were a lot of bad picks from which to choose. Hill and Adam Carriker were given strong consideration. But the reason I went with Smith is because of where he was chosen. He was the No. 2 overall pick. And he is playing right tackle. Nobody takes a right tackle with the No. 2 overall selection. The fact that a rookie selected at the top of the second round (Rodger Saffold) was inserted at left tackle over the No. 2 overall pick from the year before is astounding." Hill would be my choice given that he started only 21 games for the Rams. Carriker started 25 games for the Rams before emerging as a 16-game starter with Washington last season. Hill owns four starts over two seasons since leaving the Rams. Smith projects as a long-term starter. That's why drafting offensive linemen early tends to be a low-risk proposition. Even the disappointing ones tend to start for a long time while providing at least above-average play. That has been the case with Robert Gallery in Oakland.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams season-ticket holders. Most of the ones surveyed are holding onto their money until the labor situation is clearer. Said one fan: "I was so geeked up for this season. We're kind of losing enthusiasm a little bit because you don't know what's going to transpire. I want them to get this (settled) soon because you don't want to lose the excitement -- you know what I mean? ... I'm going to hold my money during the unknown. Who knows? We might not have football this August. Or a shortened season. I don't want you just sitting on my money. I'll hold my own."

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