Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have not been notified of any plans to rename Qwest Field following a merger between Qwest and CenturyLink. The current name is corporate, of course, but it has become ingrained enough to evoke strong feelings among fans. The stadium was called Seahawks Stadium when it opened for the 2002 season. O'Neil: "In 2008, Safeco was acquired by Liberty Mutual Group, but the name of the Mariners' stadium remained Safeco Field. However, CenturyLink does have a presence in Washington that predates the merger with an office located in Gig Harbor."
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune explains the Qwest phenomenon: "The stadium name with the silly spelling has grown on me. It’s got an identity so vivid, even the downtown Seattle cab drivers understand 'Qwest Field,' especially if you add: 'For the football game, where all the traffic is. Three blocks away is close enough.' CenturyLink sounds like a industrial company that manufactures ugly fences separating old tires and crab grass from the sidewalk. Then I see those words cramped together with the capital letter in the middle -- CenturyLink -- and I need some space."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic updates the Cardinals' efforts to renew and sell season-ticket packages. The team, like the league, is proceeding as though the regular season will begin on time. I'd be curious to know the retention rate for the Cardinals in a tough economy and following a 5-11 season. Somers: "The Cardinals don't disclose the number of people on their season-ticket waiting list but say it's in the thousands."
Also from Somers: a look at Pro Football Focus analysis showing a lack of elusiveness from Cardinals running back Beanie Wells. Said analyst Sam Monson: "As I'm sure you know, the Cardinals' run blocking is pretty poor. When a halfback starts to lose confidence in the blocking, he'll start to hesitate behind the line, look to bounce runs outside and away from designed holes, and generally makes everybody look worse. Also, as you pointed out, the Cardinals poor QB play will have been a factor. Teams didn't respect the passing game at all, and they were able to key in on the running back. It's not all Wells, and this probably isn't a fair comparison, (but) Adrian Peterson has graded out much better in the past with similar problems." Peterson is better, obviously, but he also hasn't played a full season with Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton as his quarterbacks, or for a team that has struggled so badly on defense.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says during a chat that he gets no sense new Rams owner Stan Kroenke is preparing a big shakeup that would affect general manager Billy Devaney or top executive Kevin Demoff. Thomas suggests both would likely remain even if Kroenke hired a team president. Thomas: "My strong sense is that neither Devaney nor Demoff is in any kind of job jeopardy. If Kroenke brings in HIS guy, I think it will be as someone to oversee the day-to-day operations. Keep in mind, Demoff essentially has replaced three people (John Shaw, Jay Zygmunt and Bob Wallace) so you could make a case that the Rams are a little light on upper management."
Also from Thomas: Devaney explains what he said to James Carville after the political commentator said he thought the 2012 Republican presidential field looked as bad as the NFC West. Devaney: "If I wasn't working in the NFC West, it's a great line. ... Here we're sitting in this big hall, you got owners, head coaches, general managers, and they're laughing their (rear ends) off. So you know, it burns you a little bit. And I care about my team. ... I said, 'Carville.' He came over and said, 'Hey, how are you?' I said, 'I'm Billy Devaney. I work for the Rams in the NFC West. And that comment about the NFC West, you can take it and shove it up your (rear end).'"
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has the 49ers selecting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson in his updated mock draft. Maiocco: "Nice size, great speed ... huge need."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Von Miller's visit with the 49ers is scheduled for April 13-14. Barrows: "The 49ers also have a visit scheduled with North Carolina's Ryan Taylor on April 6 and 7. Taylor is a 6-4, 250-pound fullback/H-back, who is intriguing as a receiver out of the backfield. Last season, Taylor caught 36 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers are interested in fullbacks, which were a big part of Jim Harbaugh's Stanford offense. Running backs coach Tom Rathman spent a long time with Stanford fullback Owen Marecic at that school's pro day last week."
Andrew S. Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle says Santa Clara is acting in the interests of a new 49ers stadium in defiance of California Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to strike down publicly funded redevelopment groups. Ross: "In an ad hoc meeting Monday night, the Santa Clara City Council voted to transfer $4 million in redevelopment agency funds to a San Francisco 49er entity, Forty Niners Stadium LLC, for 'make ready' work on a new 49er stadium that may never get built."
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider looks at the 49ers' tight ends. Lynch: "Now (new coach Jim) Harbaugh has possibly the most talented tight end in the league in Vernon Davis and a brilliant understudy in Delanie Walker. Harbaugh is catching Davis just when the four-year starter is starting to blossom. Davis could always pull off the spectacular, but he struggled at the mundane, like running the proper route, catching the pass, and remembering the snap count. But last season, Davis cut down on all of those mistakes."
Michael Lombardi of NFL.com says the 49ers, not just the Cardinals, could have interest in Marc Bulger this offseason. Lombardi: "The 49ers are thinking about bringing Alex Smith back as a backup, allowing new coach Jim Harbaugh to determine if he can become the player they hoped he would become when they drafted him. The 49ers must be divergent in their thinking. They are in a bad spot in the first round and must hope for a mistake from the teams in front of them needing a quarterback. The 49ers need to address the short- and long-term issues, and might even think about trying to move up in the draft to put themselves in position to acquire either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. However, without a mistake, the 49ers will have to rely on their evaluation skills deciding which 'other' quarterback can fit their scheme. Is it Jake Locker? Colin Kaepernick? Christian Ponder? Don't rule the 49ers out of the Carson Palmer sweeps if the Bengals decide to draft one. And I would fully expect them to make a play for Bulger once the free-agent market opens."