NFC West: Joe Bugel

Newly enshrined Hall of Famer Russ Grimm coaches more than the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line. Defensive players also benefit from the information and expertise Grimm has collected during three-plus decades as a player and coach.

Few players appear more eager to learn than Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. I watched Dockett and Grimm speak for roughly 15 minutes during a recent practice, one of a few such conversations I observed during three-plus days at Cardinals camp.

Dockett
"It's football and respect," Dockett said. "You sit back and you learn knowledge."

On a humorous note, though, Dockett would like to reserve a little lesson for Grimm one of these times.

"I've been trying to go against him one-on-one," Dockett said. "I told him I just want to get one pass rush against him, just so I can say I went against a Hall of Famer -- and I promise I'm going to kick his ass."

Dockett seemed to revel in the thought. Of course, he was speaking only of the 51-year-old version of Grimm, not the one Grimm's former line coach, Joe Bugel, recalled clearing out Hall of Famer Randy White play after play during one memorable Washington Redskins victory over the Dallas Cowboys years ago.

"Yeah, right now, I know his back hurts, he has bad knees, he always complains about his ankles," Dockett said. "I got him right now, I promise you."

Grimm holds the edge on Dockett for now, though. He routinely changes the snap count for Dockett during pass-rush drills against the Cardinals' defensive players. He drew Dockett offside on back-to-back plays early in camp. Dockett knows that's just Grimm trying to make him better. He appreciates the attention from an all-time NFL great.

"He's a good guy, too," Dockett said. "Rides his Harley, talks to you, a players' coach, never walks past you and don't speak. Much respect from me."

Around the NFC West: Vick-Rams update

February, 8, 2010
2/08/10
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Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams "clearly have interest" in Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Coach Steve Spagnuolo was more outspoken than usual in offering praise for Vick. Miklasz: "I've heard that Rams’ assistant coaches have been calling their counterpart in Philly to get info on Vick. The Rams need a quarterback. The mobile Vick could give them a perimeter game and a deep-pass threat. Vick has said he wants to start but is willing to accept a backup role with the Eagles again in 2010." Picking up Vick was an excellent move by the Eagles. They'll get value for him if they can work out a trade. In the meantime, he helped them win games in 2009. The Rams do need to find a cheaper alternative to Marc Bulger, whose salary jumps to $8.5 million in 2010. An uncapped year would make it easier for the Rams to release Bulger, whose deal would otherwise count $6 million against the salary cap in 2010 if the team cut him.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers greats Jerry Rice and Steve Young would love to help out the team's current players. Young plans to call quarterback Alex Smith. Rice said he would help if 49ers coach Mike Singletary called him. One complication: The 49ers' current offense is vastly different from the one Rice and Young ran years ago.

Also from Maiocco: a transcript of a conference call featuring former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who plans to assist his nephew, 49ers president Jed York, on efforts to build a stadium in Santa Clara. DeBartolo: "All I'd like to see is a stadium built. And wherever it can be built at the right place for the right amount of money. The fans of the 49ers deserve it. I don't want to go back and revisit the Candlestick fiasco. But somewhere, some place, the Bay Area fans deserve a first-rate stadium. Wherever it can be done and where it can be done best, I'm for it."

The Associated Press says recently retired Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner has won the Bart Starr Award. AP: "Warner and his wife, Brenda, established the First Things First Foundation in 2001, working with sick children and single parents, plus sending care packages to military personnel serving overseas. The couple is also involved in other charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Russ Grimm will have his former offensive line coach, Joe Bugel, present him for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bugel also coached for the Cardinals, from 1990-1993. Bugel: "Russ was one of the most complete football players, and people, I ever coached. He was the leader by example. He wasn’t a loudmouth. He just came to work every day. (The Hall of Fame) is a well-deserved honor."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says the Seahawks know nothing about any potential retirement plans involving Walter Jones. Johns: "There is little doubt that Jones is either at or very near the end of his outstanding career and a decision is looming. If this is it for Big Walt, the man will be in the Hall of Fame in five years, as soon as he is eligible."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Jones' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, could not confirm whether Jones was serious about retiring. O'Neil: "Jones sought to return last season in training camp, but his knee was still hurting. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during training camp, sought to return again in September. The knee remained too sore, though, and his recovery was compromised by the fact he can not many anti-inflammatory medications because of a kidney condition diagnosed when he was a rookie with the team."

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