NFC West: Rhett Bomar

Healthy perspective on Matt Leinart

August, 24, 2010
Facebook friend E.J. reached out with a question about Matt Leinart's light workload against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.

"When Kurt Warner was the starter," he wrote, "I always thought Leinart should play every snap of the preseason (when Warner wasn't in). But to my surprise, they often played Brian St. Pierre and even Tyler Palko. Now that Leinart's time has come, I'm again surprised to see how little Leinart has played."

E.J. pointed to other starters around the league playing longer.

"Could you shed some light on the Cardinals' approach to limiting Leinart's preseason work?" he asked.

Yes. I asked coach Ken Whisenhunt about this issue early in training camp and he surprisingly said there would be no extra effort made to get reps for Leinart. To the contrary, Whisenhunt was reasonably comfortable with what Leinart could do. Getting work for Anderson, who was new to the system, would be a higher priority than carving out extra time for Leinart.

That told me Whisenhunt felt good enough about Leinart to go into the season with Leinart as his starter, even if the offense played the way it played in past preseasons with Kurt Warner under center -- not very well.

Yes, it's more important for Leinart to look good during these preseason games because he's less established than Warner. It's also fair to wonder to what degree Leinart's performances might be affecting Whisenhunt's view of him. My sense early in camp was that Whisenhunt felt better about Leinart than he was letting on -- the last thing he wanted to see was Leinart getting complacent. Whisenhunt has handled other players similarly, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there.

At your request, E.J., I went through gamebooks from the recently completed second week of exhibition games to see how much starting quarterbacks played in general. Special circumstances limited A.J. Feeley, Josh Freeman and Brett Favre to only one series apiece.

The chart ranks preseason Week 2 starting quarterbacks by total plays. The chart also shows total possessions and pass attempts for each quarterback. Leinart could have gotten more plays by converting a first down or two, but I thought Whisenhunt could have given him another series or possibly gone for it on fourth-and-1.

Posted by's Mike Sando

The 49ers' Web site provides Shaun Hill's answers to fans' questions. Hil on the widely held position that he doesn't have a great arm: "I think there are a lot of experts who have wrongly evaluated me, even going back to high school. That's kind of the way it's been for me, which is fine. The so-called experts are wrong a lot."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat checks in with NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock for a look at the 49ers' options. Mayock: "They have to decide whether or not there's a franchise quarterback that they want. If Sanchez is the guy they feel can be the cornerstone for their franchise, they have to do everything they can to get him. If not ... I think they have to look at the best player at No. 10 amongst the edge rusher group and the wide receiver group. I would anticipate if a Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin was there, they'd have to look real hard at them and then you look at the defensive ends and outside linebackers. Brian Orakpo . . . I think it's too early for Aaron Maybin and for Larry English, probably Brian Cushing. I think you're looking at Orakpo. I doubt Aaron Curry is there, and the two wide receivers."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams should be able to find a quality receiver after the first round because the 2009 class has depth. Former Rams coach Scott Linehan wanted to take a receiver earlier last year, but he saw none worthy of the second overall choice in the draft.

Also from Thomas: The Rams could draft an offensive tackle in the second round if they selected Aaron Curry with the second overall choice.

More from Thomas: Quarterback Rhett Bomar is among the players visiting Rams headquarters.

More yet from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring his take on numerous Rams issues. Thomas on the Rams' new power structure featuring general manager Billy Devaney, coach Steve Spagnuolo and salary-cap manager Kevin Demoff: "So far -- and I underline so far -- the chemistry seems to be great between Devaney, Spags, and Demoff. And it looks like unlike past years, Devaney will have the biggest say in the draft -- as opposed to the head coach. More credence will be put in what the scouts say."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says it will be "nearly impossible" for the Cardinals to sign Anquan Boldin to an extension in 2009 because the team has other priorities. Somers: "The Cardinals don't think they've reached a point of no return with Boldin. They aren't worried that the relationship could become further poisoned if they listen to offers then decide to keep him. After all, things couldn't be any worse than they were last year, when Boldin vowed never to re-sign with the club."

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind sizes up the best defensive ends in Cardinals history. The list is admittedly incomplete because sacks are the primary measure for inclusion.

John Morgan of Field Gulls weighs Curry as a candidate to become the Seahawks' choice at No. 4 in the NFL draft. Morgan: "If Seattle selects him they will have effectively escaped the loser's curse, drafting a safe prospect with exceptional talent that should contribute for the life of his contract. Curry might be modestly overpaid, but short of calamity, that's about as bad as I can see things working out for the team that drafts Curry."

Also from Morgan: Would the Seahawks consider Wisconsin linebacker Jonathan Casillas with the 141st overall choice? That DUI arrest won't help Casillas' chances.

Around the NFC West: 49ers and Linehan

January, 23, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Scott Linehan's reputation will take a hit if he interviews with the Raiders after citing family reasons for turning down the 49ers' offer.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation echoes those sentiments.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee explains Linehan's potential interest in the Raiders. Linehan and Tom Cable played together at the University of Idaho. They also coached together at UNLV.

Niners scout Todd Brunner says college quarterbacks John Parker Wilson, Rhett Bomar and Pat White impressed him at the Senior Bowl.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers took a chance on defensive back Jimmy Williams despite the player's off-field troubles.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic quotes Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson as calling Anquan Boldin a "stand-up guy" who probably needed time to cool off following a sideline exchange with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The Arizona Republic's photo gallery following the NFC Championship Game is definitely worth a look. Stunning photography.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Travis LaBoy plans to play in the Super Bowl despite his injury problems.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals would miss J.J. Arrington if the running back's knee injury prevented him from playing.

Darren Urban of tells the stories of two fans who survived game-day heart attacks. The men visited team headquarters and met with players.

Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic says Boldin should apologize for his recent behavior.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune examines how Boldin's sideline exchange with Haley might help Haley while hurting Boldin.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind says Haley conceivably could have been the Steelers' offensive coordinator if he had accepted a job offer from Pittsburgh years ago.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times recalls how Haley could have been with the Bears -- along with Kurt Warner.

Jim Corbett of USA Today looks at the emotional impact of the Cardinals' success.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has confirmed the hiring of his coordinators. Spagnuolo: "Both are very strong leaders, character people. They're exactly what I laid out (Monday) in terms of faith, character, core values, and team first. I'm looking forward to working with both of those guys." 

VanRam of Turf Show Times wonders what the Rams might do if the Lions took an offensive tackle instead of a quarterback with the No. 1 overall draft choice.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says NBC has hired Mike Holmgren to participate in its Super Bowl pregame show.

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up potential free agent Shaun Cody and examines how he might fit in Seattle.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson thinks the Seahawks should draft Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. Cris Carter warns against drafting a receiver that early.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' hiring of Tim Lewis rounds out Jim Mora's coaching staff.