NFC West: Ray Wersching
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Bill Coats of Around the Horns focuses on the Rams' youth movement in looking at the team as part of an NFC West offseason recap. Coats: "In addition to getting younger, the Rams also got bigger with the additions of free-agent pickups Jason Brown, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound center, and James Butler, a 6-3, 215-pound strong safety, plus tackle Jason Smith, a 6-5, 306-first-round draftee."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com checks in with Rams offensive line coach Steve Loney, a holdover from the previous staff. Loney: "I think there's always some anxiety whenever you are a holdover. This is my first experience with it but I know I have gone into new situations with guys that have been held over and I have empathy for them. I would say that coach Spags and I talked coming in that it's important I be treated just like anybody else and he has done that. He's treated me great so any anxiety was not well founded. Everything has gone pretty smooth."Also from Wagoner: a report on assistant line coach Art Valero as part of a continuing series on assistant coaches.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks back on Ray Wersching's career with the 49ers. Price: "If you ask him which field goal meant the most to him during his entire career, Wersching insists it was his game-winning field goal on November 22, 1981, which beat the Los Angeles Rams 33-31."
David Fucillo of Niners Nation asks whether Joe Montana was the best football player in NFL history. Montana was the best quarterback for the 49ers when they fielded some of the best offenses in NFL history. That's good enough.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Cardinals rookie Cody Brown. Cardinals scout Don Corzine was with Brown at UConn, giving Arizona a better feel for the pass-rusher. Brown: "Pound for pound, he was the strongest kid at UConn. He is extremely athletic. You can see his upside."
Also from Urban: Rookies are dispersing for what remains of the offseason.
Revenge of the Birds' Bezekira wonders whether any Cardinals player will reach at least 10 sacks this season. I would think not.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with Jim Mora, Tod Leiweke and Roger Goodell following their successful climb on Mount Rainier. Goodell: "There's some fear involved, I'll tell you. You're out there on the middle of this mountain, it's pitch black, and you're out there with 12 people or so, and you have flashlights on your helmet."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides spectacular photos from the Mount Rainier climb. Guide Ed Viesturs took the photos.
John Morgan of Field Gulls looks back on the Seahawks' trade for Deion Branch. Branch has played well when he's been healthy. He simply hasn't been healthy nearly enough.
Also from Morgan: Will Mike Wahle bounce back from recent injuries to give the Seahawks' a veteran presence at left guard?
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Jamison Hensley of The Baltimore Sun quotes a Ravens team source as saying Baltimore probably will not trade for Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals want first- and third-round choices in return. The Ravens would be willing to part with only a first- or second-round choice, plus a player. Baltimore also hopes to re-sign Terrell Suggs. Acquiring Boldin would mean signing the receiver to a long-term deal. The team could have a hard time working out long-term deals for Suggs and Boldin at virtually the same time. This is all part of the process. Some of these deals do not get done until draft day.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic gives the Cardinals high marks for their 2004 draft class featuring Larry Fitzgerald. He also looks at the Cardinals' classes in 2005 and 2006. It sometimes takes years to properly evaluate a draft class. Somers: "A look back at the Cardinals' drafts from 2004-06, however, proves that the instant analysis isn't always wrong. Those classes received As and Bs from most critics and, in the case of the 2004 draft, produced a solid core of players that helped the team advance to its first Super Bowl."
Also from the Republic: a Cardinals draft database.
VanRam of Turf Show Times thinks the Jaguars need to add more talent at receiver to complement the newly signed Torry Holt. VanRam: "I don't know what Jacksonville plans to do in the draft, but the Jags will need another threat at WR to pair with Holt. Torry will be susceptible to double coverage as the only man down the field, and at 33, he doesn't have the legs to break out of that like he used to."
Taiko of Turf Show Times compares the Rams' current rebuilding attempts to the team's efforts in 1999. Big difference.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com reports from the 49ers' workout featuring local college talent. Price: "With each area scout designated a portion of the country to evaluate players, the 49ers Local Pro Day allowed the entire staff to view the local talent in person."
Sam Whiting of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with former 49ers kicker Ray Wersching, who continues to struggle after a business partner allegedly misappropriated millions.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee quotes analyst Brian Baldinger as saying the 49ers need a playmaker on defense more than they need a quarterback or right tackle.
Florida Danny of Niners Nation compares the 49ers and Patriots in the draft. Remove Tom Brady from the equation and then what?
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times doesn't expect the Seahawks to draft a quarterback in the first round. O'Neil: "My read on the situation is that Seattle would not pick a quarterback at this point. That is based on where Matt Hasselbeck is at in his career -- Tim Ruskell says he still considers him in his prime -- and the fact that choosing [Mark] Sanchez would start the clock ticking on him."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune asks whether the Seahawks could pass up Michael Crabtree if the receiver were available. I doubt it, particularly if Aaron Curry is off the board by the time Seattle picks.
John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up the Seahawks' situation at guard and college prospects who could find their way to Seattle through the draft. Morgan: "If I were to interpret what Seattle is doing, an outsider's perspective mind you, I would guess Seattle is creating a non-traditional zone blocking scheme. Instead of using light/fast technicians, Seattle is using powerful/quick maulers. And instead of using zone principles to mask shortcomings of strength and accentuate agility and decision making, Seattle is using zone principles to mask shortcomings of technique and blitz awareness and accentuate power and physical dominance." We'll have a better feel once the team starts adding new linemen. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp hasn't been with Seattle long enough to change up the personnel.
Also from Morgan: a look at the Seahawks' situation at tackle and college prospects who could make sense for the team in the draft. He thinks Eugene Monroe would fit the Seahawks.