NFC West: Tag Ribary
Tag Ribary goes from pro personnel director to overseeing team security, football video, facility and equipment departments, the team announced. Trent Kirchner replaces Ribary after serving as assistant pro personnel director. Dan Morgan, the former Carolina Panthers linebacker, goes from pro scout into Kirchner’s former job.
Four of the players Seattle drafted since Schneider’s arrival in 2010 have achieved Pro Bowl status. That figure ranks tied with Cincinnati for the NFL lead. Among the Pro Bowlers for Seattle: 2010 first-rounders Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, 2010 fifth-rounder Kam Chancellor and 2012 third-rounder Russell Wilson. Richard Sherman, a fifth-round choice in 2011, has earned All-Pro honors at cornerback.
On the pro side, Seattle acquired top contributors such as Marshawn Lynch and Chris Clemons at bargain prices. The team also recouped value for Aaron Curry, a disappointing first-round choice inherited from the Seahawks’ previous leadership. Most recently, Seattle acquired Percy Harvin by trade before signing Cliff Avril, among others, in free agency.
In other moves announced by the Seahawks, Josh Graff goes from scouting intern to national scout overseeing the Carolinas Region.
Jim Nagy joins the Seahawks as an area scout from the Kansas City Chiefs. Nagy replaces 22-year Seahawks scouting veteran Derrick Jensen. Jensen, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1980s, has been battling ALS. The team announced his departure during the 2013 draft and honored him by having him make the team’s final two selections.
These moves should promote continuity under Schneider, who has worked alongside coach Pete Carroll to overhaul the roster. The Seahawks have won a playoff game in two of their first three seasons together.
Webster and Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt worked together in Seattle for the 2006 season. Lake Dawson, who heads up the Titans' pro personnel department, was also with Seattle at that time. Reinfeldt did not hire a director of player personnel in Tennessee upon taking the GM job there.
"I wanted the right person to fill that role and wanted to see how the organization would function in the various departments before making this hire," Reinfeldt said Friday in a Titans news release. "I have a great deal of respect for Ruston as a football guy and as a person. He will focus on the college draft, but will assist in the other areas of the personnel department as well."
Webster was well-liked in Seattle and his low-keyed, personable style was appreciated when the organization was navigating through a tumultuous few months after Tim Ruskell resigned as president and general manager. The move to Tennessee should suit Webster, who grew up in Mississippi and has worked primarily in the southeast.
With Webster leaving, the Seahawks promoted western region college scouting director Scott Fitterer to college scouting director, with area scout Eric Stokes, a former Seahawks safety, becoming assistant director of college scouting. Both have been with the Seahawks through most or all of the 2000s.
The personnel flow chart in Seattle now begins with coach Pete Carroll and continues with general manager John Schneider, vice president of football operations Will Lewis, Fitterer and pro personnel director Tag Ribary. Trent Kirchner serves as the assistant pro director, with Stokes handling similar duties on the college side.
- Left tackle Walter Jones is contemplating retirement, but nothing is final and the Seahawks can afford to wait for him if the salary cap disappears, as expected, next month. Carroll expects to see Jones at the team's facility next week. He "ran into" Jones' agent at the combine Friday night.
- Receiver Nate Burleson will test free agency. The Seahawks would like to re-sign him.
- The decision to name kicker Olindo Mare a franchise player became easy after the Raiders signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a lucrative deal.
- The Seahawks would like a "physical presence" at running back, Carroll said. The comment wasn't a reflection of the running backs on Seattle's roster, he said. Carroll had strong praise for Justin Forsett.
- Carroll said this draft features "wonderful, extraordinary speed guys" at running back.
- Carroll heaped praise upon USC safety Taylor Mays while also acknowledging that he must work to keep in perspective his personal feelings for former players.
- The Seahawks are setting up their draft board using the method Schneider used in Green Bay, but the team did not change its grading scale for players because it wasn't practical, Schneider said.
- Carroll said he's loving life in the NFL. The combine allows for much more hands-on contact with players than is available through the college recruiting process, leaving Carroll much more confident in the evaluations the team is making.
Vice president of football operations Will Lewis, pro personnel director Tag Ribary and assistant director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner were working at an adjacent table in the hotel lobby where Carroll and Schneider were speaking with reporters. Lewis, Ribary, Kirchner and Schneider worked together for the Seahawks in 2000.
The team announced Lewis' promotion from pro personnel director to vice president of football operations. Tag Ribary was promoted from pro scout to Lewis' old job as pro personnel director. Kirchner, a Seahawks employee in 2000 and a scout under Schneider with the Redskins in 2001, has been with the Panthers for eight seasons.
These moves maintain continuity in the front office. Lewis, a former Seahawks player, has been with Seattle as pro personnel director since 1999, Mike Holmgren's first season as head coach. Ribary worked for the Seahawks under Randy Mueller throughout the 1990s, working under Schneider in Washington (2001) and then with Kirchner in Carolina before rejoining Seattle last season.
The Seahawks are also retaining Ruston Webster, whose strength is college scouting, and salary-cap administrator John Idzik.
Schneider, Ribary, Kirchner and Lewis worked together in Seattle for the 2000 season. Kirchner is the Seahwaks' assistant director of pro personnel.
|Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE and Rich Kane-US PRESSWIRE|
|Will the Giants running game be able to keep Kurt Warner and Arizona's explosive receivers off the field?|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals keep taking steps.
They finished 8-8 last season, their best record since 1998.
They outlasted Dallas in Week 6 this season when the Cowboys were 4-1, an outcome that helped establish Arizona as tough to beat at home.
They gained confidence on the road during a 27-23 defeat at Carolina in Week 8. Arizona has outscored opponents by 37 points over its last 14 quarters away from University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Cardinals have exorcised demons in prime time and at Seattle's Qwest Field over the last two weeks.
The next step -- finding a way to beat the 9-1 New York Giants on Sunday in Glendale -- might qualify as a leap if the Cardinals can make it happen.
"I'm picking them over the Giants this week because they possess the ball and their defense is never on the field for sustained periods," said ESPN's Trent Dilfer, the last quarterback to beat the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. "They don't get to third down. You see defenses change and Kurt Warner and [offensive coordinator] Todd Haley have an answer. You see perfect defensive plays against them and it's a 12-yard gain."
That's all good, but the Cardinals haven't faced an opponent as complete as the Giants.
"I don't think the Giants are going to have much of a problem," said Tag Ribary, who joined Scouts Inc. this year after evaluating talent for the Carolina Panthers in recent seasons. "What they did to Baltimore doesn't get enough credit at all. The No. 1 run defense in the league and they put 200 up on them. It's unthinkable, almost."
Until recently, unthinkable meant the Cardinals having a shot at clinching a playoff spot in Week 12. A victory over the Giants could make it happen. At 7-3, Arizona stands third in the NFC with six games to play.
"If they can beat the Giants and then get the Eagles on Thursday night, they could be in the hunt to play at home through the playoffs," Keith Kidd of Scouts Inc. said. "I don't think that will happen, but they could be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. They can win a playoff game at home." (Read Kidd's take on the matchup between the Cardinals' defense and Giants' offense here.)
The Cardinals arguably haven't had a game as meaningful as their Giants matchup in a decade. Dilfer, Ribary and Kidd joined Hot Topic respondents in helping us break it down 10 ways, and then some.