NFC West: Ron Milus
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Niners area scout Ethan Waugh says the scouting staff has been studying underclassmen in preparation for the draft. Waugh: "There are several underclassmen from my area who declared early. Chris 'Beanie' Wells has been the starting running back at Ohio State the last two years. He is a talented guy who is big, strong and fast. He's been very productive while playing at the highest level of competition. Ohio State also has a receiver, Brian Hartline, who has been a consistent big-play receiver. They are primarily a run-oriented offense, so he does not have the kind of numbers that some receivers do, but is a weapon nonetheless. Donald Washington, also a Buckeye, is a good sized corner that has played both inside and out and shows good speed -- he will be interesting to watch at the Combine."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says former Rams defensive line coach Brian Baker has taken the same job with the Panthers. Former Rams secondary coach Ron Milus is also with the Panthers. Former Panthers linebackers coach Ken Flajole is the Rams' defensive coordinator. Also, 12 of Scott Linehan's 19 former assistants have found work, Thomas notes.
Also from Thomas: The Rams had nice things to say about Corey Chavous upon releasing the veteran safety. General manager Billy Devaney: "When it became clear to us that we were going to move in a different direction, we thought out of respect for Corey, and to give him the best chance to explore all his options, that this was the best time to make this move. Corey Chavous epitomizes everything that's good about the NFL. He's classy, smart, hard-working. He gave it his all. The team always came first."
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Linehan brought Chavous to St. Louis after getting to know him in Minnesota.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind says re-signing Karlos Dansby should be the Cardinals' top priority this offseason. He advocates naming Dansby the team's franchise player again. Hawkwind: "If the Cardinals tag Dansby (deadline to tag is the 19th), they are the only team that can negotiate with him and they have until the middle of July to agree to a contract. If they chose not to franchise him by next Thursday, though, he'll put the pressure squarely on the shoulder of Rod Graves." Dansby would be able to negotiate with other teams as a non-exclusive franchise player, but the tag would probably dissuade other teams from negotiating.
Scott Allen of Raising Zona qoutes KTAR radio in Phoenix as saying the Cardinals are expected to name linebackers coach Bill Davis their defensive coordinator. Coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic he planned to have his staff filled out before the combine next week. The Republic also suggested Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler could be a consideration.
Doug Farrar of Field Gulls summarizes a scout.com interview with Missouri defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood. According to Hood, Seahawks brass and coaches grilled him to test his knowledge of the defense, including his teammates' responsibilities. The Seahawks' new defensive staff has put an emphasis on players knowing their teammates' assignments.
Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts breaks down the team's needs on offense. He gives T.J. Duckett higher marks than Julius Jones.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer cites seven mock drafts to get a feel for what the Seahawks might do with the fourth overall draft choice. Four favor Michael Crabtree. Malcolm Jenkins, B.J. Raji and Jason Smith comprise the other choices.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times provides a transcript of Jim Mora's interview with KJR radio in Seattle. Mora on whether Bobby Engram wants to return: "I believe that he does. I believe that Bobby at some point would like to be part of this organization. Not as a player, but a part of this organization in some capacity. And he's indicated that to me so I think that that gives you some wiggle room."Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune also did some transcribing. Mora: "I think if Matt Hasselbeck is healthy for 16 weeks this team has a chance to do some special things because he's an outstanding player. And we'd love to see that happen. And right now all indications are that he's going to be fine."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up five key contract situations facing the Cardinals this offseason. He suggests the team might again use the franchise tag on Karlos Dansby.
Also from Somers: He confirms Jeff Rutledge's firing as quarterbacks coach.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com explains why the Cardinals might want to revisit Antrel Rolle's contract sooner rather than later.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle casts the 49ers' recent roster moves as Mike Singletary's moves. FitzGerald on Keith Lewis: "Lewis, a Sacramento native who was a sixth-round pick by the 49ers out of Oregon in 2004, couldn't displace Mark Roman in the lineup the last two years even though Roman didn't have a single interception in that time."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers have no comment on Jonas Jennings' likely release. A shoulder injury sidelined Jennings most of last season. Here's what general manager Scot McCloughan said in November: "Everybody's built different and some guys are more injury-prone than others, but there's no reason why he can't come back from this once rehab's over and play again. There's no reason, whatsoever."
David Fucillo of Niners Nation takes a look at how the 49ers' tight ends fared in 2008.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Ron Milus, the Rams' secondary coach in 2008, will take a similar job with the Panthers. The Rams already hired the Panthers' linebackers coach, Ken Flajole, as defensive coordinator. The Panthers' former secondary coach, Tim Lewis, is also in the NFC West, with Seattle.
VanRam of Turf Show Times outlines five "improvements" fans won't see at a renovated Edward Jones Dome, including "Richie Incognito's 'I can't hear you' interactive scoreboard."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic examines the Cardinals' handling of Matt Leinart since Ken Whisenhunt arrived as head coach. He describes Leinart's benching to start the season as a potentially pivotal moment while acknowledging Leinart still might become the starter at some point this season.
Also from Somers: Arizona expects to make few roster moves this week. The team is relatively healthy and deeper than it's been in the past.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the clock is ticking for 49ers coach Mike Nolan. A big-picture story about Nolan wouldn't be complete without a dig at former offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, who -- all together now -- wasn't ready for the job. Nolan: "This is not a 'Bash Jim' thing. But Jim was just not ready. And that was a poor decision on my part. ... Last year with the offense was really tough. It was tough on everybody. And I think I knew exactly what was needed. And I wanted to find that. And I think Mike [Martz] is what we needed." Other head coaches generally do not mention fired underlings by name.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers aren't asking their rookie draft choices to contribute in a big way immediately.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News touches on Ahmad Brooks' troubled past. The 49ers signed Brooks after Cincinnati released the linebacker. Brown: "He was kicked off the Virginia football team before his senior season after frequent trouble with coach Al Groh, and he was accused of punching a woman in the face in northern Kentucky in April."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sees a couple of Bay Area franchises playing for the short term: "I hate to mention that short-term fixes almost never produce sustained NFL success, but it's too late to change anything now. So, let's do a rundown of the protagonists."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett hasn't decided which defensive player will wear the radio headset this season. Middle linebacker Will Witherspoon is the leading candidate. "But Haslett said he might also signal in plays by hand and have secondary coach Ron Milus use the coach-to-defense headset to talk to the secondary."
Also from Thomas: Trent Green has been around a long, long time. He was the Post-Dispatch All-Metro quarterback as a high school player ... in 1987.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer assesses the impact of suspensions to Seattle defensive players Jordan Babineaux and Rocky Bernard. Second-year corner Josh Wilson and veteran defensive tackle Craig Terrill will have to step up. The Seahawks think Wilson can be an outstanding defender against slot receivers.
Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News says the Bills have turned their attention to the Seahawks, who visit in Week 1. The Bills remain without holdout left tackle Jason Peters. Their quarterback, Trent Edwards, remains slowed by injury.