NFC West: Steve Sidwell
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at the differences between pro and college coaching, with an eye toward what it means for Carroll. Lofa Tatupu: "The man can coach, bottom line. That's pretty much what I'm going to leave it at."
Also from O'Neil: Kippy Brown is reportedly leaving the University of Tennessee to coach the Seahawks' receivers.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com passes along Carroll's comments confirming Gus Bradley's retention as defensive coordinator in Seattle. Carroll will be heavily involved in the defense. Like Bradley, Carroll worked previously with Monte Kiffin. With Jerry Gray expected to coach the secondary and Alex Gibbs onboard as offensive line coach, Carroll appears to be putting together a strong staff.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Gibbs' hiring is critical for the Seahawks. Boling: "Yes, Carroll was the high-profile hire, drawing more national attention than just about anybody the Seahawks could have named. And the acquisition of the general manager -- probably this week -- will go a long way to determining how the team goes about elevating its level of talent. But the hiring of Gibbs as offensive line coach (along with the title of assistant head coach), does two things: 1) It makes a statement about ownership’s commitment to upgrading the staff, and 2) It makes this team immeasurably tougher."
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic counts the reasons for Kurt Warner to return in 2010. Warner on his thought process last offseason: "A few days after [the season] was over and I was away from it, I missed the game already, and I was excited about going back and playing. If I'm still thinking about it a few days after the season, then it's not out of my system yet."
Odeen Domingo and Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic say the Cardinals' Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might have suffered ligament damage to his knee Saturday.
Also from Domingo: Karlos Dansby says leaving the Cardinals as a free agent would be difficult. Dansby: "I've been here since we played at Sun Devil (Stadium). We were at Sun Devil in 107-degree games at night. It was tough, man. But we fought through it. If I have to leave, that's the way the game goes. I've seen a lot of people come, a lot of people go. I've been around for a while. That's how this business goes. Wed' like to have everybody back and come back strong, try to make another run at it. But unfortunately, it might not pan out like that."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals view their season as a success, even though they lost before reaching their goals. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "There are a lot of teams that would switch with us. We are one of the top eight teams in the league. I consider it a successful season for us. Based on what I read or what I hear, we can improve in all areas; we did a lot of things wrong this year. So hopefully we can clean those up and get better. I think that is what the next weeks, months [are for], our process of evaluating our team. Nothing is ever perfect. We did a lot of things well; we did a lot of things not so well."
Also from Somers: Notes and thoughts from the Cardinals-Saints game, including how Jerheme Urban's fumble could affect his future with the team. I had the same thought.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at the role injuries played in the Cardinals' ultimate demise.
Also from Urban: Cardinals players aren't sure how much the roster will change next season.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Warner has every reason to retire. Thirty-one NFL teams surely agree. Miklasz: "There's nothing left for Warner to gain, but he has much to lose. Kurt and wife Brenda have seven children at home. As Warner told me in an interview earlier this year, he wants to be healthy and vibrant and immersed in their lives."
Also from Miklasz: Michael Vick would bring pizzazz to the Rams. Miklasz: "The Rams need a starting quarterback. The Rams need a lot of things, as evidenced by their 6-42 record and last-place NFL ranking in points scored over the last three seasons. So yes, there is a fit. And there are some obvious connections in play here. Rams GM Billy Devaney was part of the Atlanta organization during Vick's career there and visited Vick in prison. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur are former assistants to Eagles coach Andy Reid and they trust his judgment. If Reid recommends Vick, Spagnuolo will listen." Vick's price would define the risks associated with acquiring him. The Rams should not invest their future in Vick, but if they can get him at a reasonable price and they feel as though he isn't a significant risk for off-field embarrassment, the move would be easier to justify.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Warner's retirement would certainly help the 49ers' push to win the NFC West title. Barrows: "If Warner retires, you'd have to consider the 49ers the favorites in the NFC West. Seattle, after all, is overhauling its coaching staff and front office. The Rams are where the 49ers were four years ago. Of course, the offseason could bring other, not-as-pleasant surprises that would change the division dynamic, such as Donovan McNabb winding up in Arizona or Seattle." The way Matt Leinart played in relief this season suggests the Cardinals would have a hard time maintaining their success on offense, at least in its current form. Leinart had multiple changes to look good, but he rarely did. The scoring drive Leinart led at Tennessee was probably the high point for him during the 2009 season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Martin from Des Moines, Iowa, writes: Mike, I have been a diehard 49ers fan since I was a very young. I have enjoyed some great times and as of late, I have suffered with my team's ineptitude. It appears with the hiring of Mike Singletary (couldn't be happier) that we are on the right path. With Singletary taking the reins for good, it appears that Martz is on his way out. Which means another year with another offensive coordinator. Do you think this is a good idea? You need consistency, and if we change OC every year, how can we achieve success?
As the past 49er teams achieve success with a short passing game in place of a power running game, which is the opposite of Singletary's philosophy. My question is, do you think a marriage of the two philosophies much like the Washington Redskins offense with the West Coast passing and a power running game work with the Niners? Who do you see as possible candidates for offensive coordinator and will they stay longer than one year?
Mike Sando: All things being equal, the 49ers probably would have hired an offensive head coach who called the plays. That would have provided protection against the coordinator instability that has hurt the franchise in recent seasons.
All things were not equal, however, after Singletary led the 49ers to four victories in their final five games. Singletary's strong leadership, backed by the 49ers' on-field improvement, made him the only choice the 49ers considered for the job.
If Singletary determines Martz isn't a good fit for his offense, he needs to make the change now. Yes, such a move would come at the expense of continuity, but these are the breaks. Singletary might get only one chance to set up his staff the right way. Now is the time to get that done. Singletary needs in place an offensive staff he trusts, one that shares his philosophy. Singletary and Martz made things work over the second half of this season, but their philosophical differences might be harder to reconcile over the long haul.
The fact that the 49ers were willing to risk continued instability at offensive coordinator speaks to a couple of things.
One, 49ers management wasn't onboard when former coach Mike Nolan hired Martz (we know this because general manager Scot McCloughan said as much before Nolan made the hire).
Two, Singletary proved enough over the second half of the season to make his hiring worth [in the 49ers' eyes] whatever staff fallout might ensue.
Singletary's rise is a great story at this point. Things were not looking good for him after his memorable debut game against the Seahawks. My criticisms of Singletary then related to his unstable behavior during and after that game. Singletary later acknowledged that he needed to project himself differently. He did that, and it worked. He deserves credit for that.
Unlike Nolan, who never seemed to admit an error, Singletary worked to get better. Had he continued in the vein he displayed in that first game, I would still be questioning that behavior and the 49ers would probably be looking for that offensive-minded head coach.
As for coordinator candidates, I don't have a firm list. I would think former Rams coach Scott Linehan might be a good fit. If the team goes for an unproven coordinator, that would seem like quite a risk. It's not like the head coach could take over the offense in a pinch.