NFC West: Terry Shea
Chris Fiegler (Latham, NY): How do you think that Sam Bradford will do as the quarterback for the St. Louis Rams?
Mike Sando: Bradford seems to have the right overall makeup to weather the storm that awaits. He's going to get beaten up this year and he's going to struggle some. I think he'll hold up mentally. We'll see how well he holds up physically. The key for Bradford is having a strong organization around him. He needs continuity on the staff. He needs the right staff. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch took the unusual step of calling for the team to reassign quarterbacks coach Dick Curl. I tend to agree based on what I've heard from a couple NFL quarterbacks who have played under him. The odd thing is that Curl succeeded Terry Shea in Kansas City (indirectly) and St. Louis (directly), yet Shea was the guy Bradford and other quarterbacks have hired to get ready for the draft.
Willie (South Bend): From what I've been reading from the reports from minicamps and OTAs, it seems to me that we are going to have a two new starters at wide receiver. I think Mike Williams will start at flanker and Golden Tate will be the split end. I say this because Mike Williams has the physical size that both Carroll and Jeremy Bates like at flanker, and Golden has the speed to stretch the field. I know it's early, but Mike Williams has been running with the first unit and Golden won't be a real threat if he's only on the field as a situational player. What's your thoughts on this? PS: No, I don't think much of T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Deion Branch and I don't think the coaches do, either.
Mike Sando: Reading about minicamps and OTAs is essential for anyone following teams closely, but the important thing is to read only so much into what you read. Otherwise you might emerge from this offseason thinking Alex Smith is Johnny Unitas, the 49ers will never field a punt successfully, the Cardinals will never attempt another pass and Steven Jackson will be unable to take more than one or two hits. Let's see what Mike Williams and Golden Tate do in August before anointing anyone just yet. Few rookie receivers step in right away and do what Michael Crabtree was able to do last season, or what Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald were able to do in Arizona. I do think Seattle will covet size at receiver, and I do think the new leadership will want to go young. I also think Williams and Tate will contribute this season. But I also need to see more.
Brian Staley (Frederick MD): Thanks Mike for the Chats and Blogs. In your opinion what team in the NFC West do you feel has the strongest coaching staff? Some teams made some small changes, while others have cleaned house. Thanks mike.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals get the edge in this category because Ken Whisenhunt has proven it. The Rams' staff has the most to prove: Pat Shurmur, Ken Flajole, even Steve Spagnuolo. For the 49ers, Mike Singletary still has to prove himself over time, and we need to see more from Jimmy Raye too. Pete Carroll has questions to answer. I think Carroll did a nice job putting together a strong staff featuring Alex Gibbs, Ken Norton Jr., Jerry Gray and the potentially up-and-coming Jeremy Bates. I still come back to Arizona with Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm, at least for now.
Tully (Irvine, CA): Mike, great blog. I am a longtime 49ers fan. I have heard that Nate Clements is doing some personal training in Arizona. Can you explain what exactly is going on and why he is doing this. He was signed from the Bills a few years backc as an "elite corner" but things haven't panned out that way for him. Thanks.
Mike Sando: Players routinely train in Arizona or elsewhere during the offseason. Teams have put more emphasis on attendance rates at their offseason conditioning programs. I think teams just like keeping close tabs on their players. That's why we have all these minicamps and OTAs spread out through the offseason. Some vets aren't going to play that game. They'll get ready on their own terms. You worry as an organization if that player hasn't been a self-starter. Deuce Lutui's situation in Arizona comes to mind. But with a Nate Clements, you know he's going to report in shape.
Their potential next quarterback, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, has spent his offseason working under a certain former NFL quarterbacks coach: Terry Shea.
Small world, the NFL.
Shea, who also worked with 2009 top overall choice Matthew Stafford, was predictably impressed by what he saw Monday, calling the workout phenomenal.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are hoping to prove the new president wrong. Barack Obama is taking the Steelers.
Max Jarman of the Arizona Republic looks at Cardinals memorabilia sales.
Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic looks at the Cardinals' penchant for trick plays. Coordinator Todd Haley concedes that the "Philly Special" might not work a second time.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune traces the Cardinals' improvement to Michael Bidwill's arrival as team president in 2002.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune looks at Rod Graves' role in building the Cardinals.
Niners general manager Scot McCloughan says the team hopes Alex Smith can compete with Shaun Hill to become the 49ers' starting quarterback. McCloughan: "I still believe Alex Smith is going to be a good quarterback in the NFL and if we can have him back competing with Shaun, we'd love to do it."
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle isn't sure what to make of the 49ers' interest in Dan Reeves and Hue Jackson as potential offensive coordinators. Crumpacker: "With his sixth and seventh candidates interviewed, Singletary is either exercising due diligence in his search for a coordinator or is struggling to find someone compatible with his vision for the 49ers' offense."
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says hiring Jackson, now with the Ravens and formerly with the Falcons and Bencals, would "open the door to troubled but talented players such as Ocho Cinco, [Michael] Vick and to lesser extent [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat traces Reeves' candidacy to former 49ers coach Mike Nolan. Maiocco: "When Mike Nolan was named 49ers head coach in 2005, there were rumblings he might bring along his mentor, Dan Reeves, to assist him. Nolan is gone, but Reeves accepted a surprise invitation Friday to visit the 49ers team headquarters and discuss the offensive-coordinator position with new coach Mike Singletary."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Singletary couldn't find a more old-school coordinator than Reeves.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer questions whether the Seahawks will keep two kickers for the long term. General manager Tim Ruskell says Olindo Mare will be back. The plan -- "right now," Ruskell said -- is for Brandon Coutu to return as well.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says special-teams coach Al Roberts is one of the assistant coaches not coming back to the Rams. Strength coach Dana LeDuc and quarterbacks coach Terry Shea also will not return. Thomas: "Some holdover assistants who are still being considered for jobs are scheduled to meet with new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and new defensive coordinator Ken Flajole over the next few days."
Also from Thomas: a chat transcript that says the Rams do not have anyone negotiating contracts at the moment.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The potential hiring of Scott Linehan as the 49ers' offensive coordinator raises questions such as the one posed in the headline of this blog entry.
While the 49ers did speak with quarterbacks coaches associated with coordinating candidates Rob Chudzinski and Rick Dennison, they have not interviewed people associated with Linehan. That might suggest the 49ers would be less likely to consider Linehan's former Rams assistants.
Terry Shea was with Linehan in St. Louis most recently. Shea was with the Dolphins in 2007. The Rams hired Shea after forcing Linehan to shake up his offensive staff heading into this season. I would not consider Shea to be a "Linehan guy" for the purposes of this exercise.
Some other former offensive assistants under Linehan have jobs elsewhere. Doug Nussmeier coached the Rams' quarterbacks in 2006 and 2007. He is the new offensive coordinator for Steve Sarkisian at the University of Washington.
Greg Olson was offensive coordinator under Linehan in 2006 and 2007. He spent the 2008 season coaching quarterbacks for the Bucs.
We should note that Linehan has not yet agreed to a deal with the 49ers.